Saturday, 19 January 2013

Mon Martre? Ton Martre? Everybody's Martre!

Awkwardly wedged in joke aside, I had a really good day today. My body woke me up at 8, which is kind of cool - although I don't think I'll be ditching my alarm clock any time soon. Far too neurotic to rely on my own body.

In any case, getting up nice and early gave me an opportunity for an exceedingly long and luxurious shower and a browse of this week's news. I read a little Sherlock Holmes as part of a lesson plan - my life is awesome - and made crêpes. It's the weekend, and I am firmly of the opinion that calories consumed over the weekend absolutely do not count. You will see further evidence of my faith in this along the way.

In any case, I thought I was doing rather well when I strolled out at 11 to make my way into the city. On the way out, however, I passed a Dutch friend of mine who had been up for two hours already and had been training solidly on his bike for those two hours. It would be grating if he wasn't such a nice guy.

I also got to read Kate's new blog post, after a hiatus of far too long. My friend Mary is also blogging, so for a uniquely American point of view I recommend her new blog too. Final recommendation is a webcomic that I think is absolutely amazing called Looking For Group. There are lots and lots of pages, and they're hilarious and filled with great nerdy pop culture references. If you're confused about where to begin, then I can only offer the advice of the King of Hearts:

"Begin at the beginning," the King said gravely, "and go on until you reach the end: then stop."

Excellent advice, even if it comes from a playing card.

I digress again; you must forgive these flights of fancy. I made my way into Paris, going first by bus to La Défense and from there taking the RER to the Arc de Triomphe. A stroll along the Champs d'Elysée with only a little window shopping and an awful lot of pictures brought me to the great wheel at Concorde and Cleopatra's Needle, tipped with gold, blazed in the cold winter light. After a great slew of pictures (which I shall try to edit and refine tonight) I made my way to Montmartre. It looked glorious, and the Sacré-Coeur cathedral which perches atop it and commands astonishing views across Paris is a perennial beauty. I took the stairs up and the funicular down, which bizarrely seemed to be the contrary view - coming down I had the little carriage to myself but walked past a long queue of people apparently unwilling to march up the steps. There are 300, but in the freezing cold I was glad of the increased blood flow. I was so pleased, in fact, that I stopped for a solid three-hour lunch.

Lunch consisted of a half-litre of average red, an excellent stew of beef and rice and a cheese plate.

Let me share the cheese plate with you. I can only share the image, but I wish I could have shared it with you there and then, because I'm of the opinion there was half a kilo of cheese on that plate.

Since you weren't there, my friends, I had to make the best of it. It is worth pointing out at this point that I have a mild lactose intolerance. It is not as bad as some people get it, but as I left I could feel my bloated belly straining at my belt and, fearful of buttons pinging off and removing the eye of some innocent tourist, I hastily made my excuses and left, a little merrier for the wine and the small bill. As a result I recommend L'été en Pente Douce, 8 rue Paul Albert, if you fancy an excellent meal at the top of Montmartre. Just make sure, if you order cheese, that you've a friend to share it with. Or a lactose intolerant enemy.

A quick trip home and I found that an internship whose deadline I'd missed had been re-opened, so I've spent the evening recording and re-recording myself, because I like perfection. And finally, finally! I sat down and started writing this. I began at the beginning, as the King recommended, and I have gone on until I reached the end.

So I'll stop.