Somewhere in the midst of all that and more, I seem to have failed to write anything about my five day jaunt to Paris. Where, incidentally, the weather was also very beautiful.
After a substantial panic on Friday night owing to having too many tickets and needing to cancel some very fast, Antonia and I set off on our TGV from Perrache on Saturday morning, arriving early afternoon in Paris where the very fast metro number 14 took us straight to chez elle (very convenient, I must say). There, I met her elder sister Agathe, and we did some shopping but nothing very exciting as it was raining a lot (okay, the weather was *mostly* beautiful). On saturday evening we had a "soirée" for Antonia's paris friends, some of whom I'd already met in Lyon and others not: very nice. On Sunday morning her parents arrived back from a week in the Maldives (lucky them!) so we had a family breakfast together and in the afternoon went for a wander into the centre of Paris with Antonia and her best friend Constance. Delicious ice cream was also consumed. Mmm. This became the pattern of my few days: Antonia had various meetings to do with her conference and the fact that she is now going to China next year to learn Chinese (another of those wacky last-minute schemes that seem to spring up in this flat) and so I discovered Paris variously with and without her company, and managed to meet up with almost everyone who is currently spending their year there: lots of them (Emily and Jérome in particular) I hadn't seen for years, and it was really lovely to see them all and discover their various Parisian lives. I also ate in a Crêperie with Sacha and another lawyer friend of his, and we calculated that if one ate a different crêpe every day, it would take two years (which is what he's got) to try all the crêpes on offer on that street. Wow. And on tuesday evening, we went to a soirée with Laura, a spanish friend of Anto's who is now working in Paris. Finally, on Wednesday afternoon I thought I really couldn't leave Paris without seeing one of the big museums, and as I'd already once upon a time been to the Louvre, it was the Centre Pompidou that won this time, where there was an interesting exhibition about Samuel Beckett (particularly relevant for Anto, who is fascinated by exhibitions about authors) although it would have been more interesting with a little explanation here and there! All round fun, and my feet took me toddling round many different 'quartiers'-the quaint, chic, impressive, etc, and even the Peripherie (we got there by accident when going for a walk on a "sentier planté" with Jérome and Anto). I felt like I knew Paris much better by the end, and I was very grateful for the comfy and very central hospitality chez the Dubrulle family!