Le Métro et moi: la Tour et le selfie

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Published 29th September 2014

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Friday night and my daughter ‘s’ennuie à mort’ (is bored to death) after daily overdoses of ‘devoirs’ (homework). We’ve been here a month and we still haven’t done the 20 minute métro journey in to Paris! ‘C’est inadmissible!’ (It’s simply unacceptable!). ‘Sur un coup de tête’ (on a whim) we put on our ‘rouge à lèvres‘ (lipstick), buy a ‘carnet‘ (book of 10) tickets and head off in to the night.

We take ‘les petites rues’ (backstreets) from the Arc de Triomphe towards La Tour Eiffel. It is Paris fashion week and people in ‘tenues bizarres’ (strange outfits) huddle trendily on street corners. We find a table on a ‘terrasse’ and eavesdrop on a fashion buyer and a journalist and suddenly feel terribly cosmopolitan. The waiter asks if we’re here for ‘La Semaine de la Mode’. I ask him incredulously if he’s seen what I’m wearing. We eat quickly and hurry to the tower just in time to see it ‘scintiller’ (twinkle) – just for us.

Antonio, ‘caricaturiste’, harasses us amiably as we take ‘un selfie’ (ok it wasn’t just one…). “Vous êtes soeurs?’ (Are you sisters?) – meant to flatter ‘maman’ (mummy) with the ‘porte-monnaie’ (wallet). ‘Tu es tellement belle – je vais mourir si je ne peux pas te dessiner’ (romantic flattery) he hypnotises my daughter, leading her away ‘par la main’ (by her hand). Despite my huffs and puffs of protest, we are soon offered a rather lovely ‘croquis’ (sketch) at a very unattractive price. “Je n’ai que’ (I only have) 5 euros”! I protest. He hands me the sketch with a smile. ‘Garde tes sous’ (keep your money) he winks – which is just as well as ‘une noisette’ (expresso with a hint of milk) goes up from 3 euros to 4:50 after 8:30pm (is that legal?!?!?!?).

This morning I jump out of bed, eager to go on my first ‘me’ activity since arriving – a forest walk with a local ‘association’. Only the event is ‘annullé à cause de la pluie’ (rained off). If we took that attitude in the UK it would end up being an annual event! I mutter as I slip on some ‘bottes en caoutchouc’ (wellies), grab ‘mon imperméable’ (waterproof jacket) and set off for ‘la forêt’ (the forest) alone.