Blooming Marvellous

It’s been a while since I last sat down and actually penned a bucket list – these days, mine tends to be more of a mental note – though had I done so prior to moving to Lyon, visiting Monet’s garden would have sat pretty high up on it. Naturally, when the opportunity arose to do so, I grabbed it by the horns. (I work on the basis that I don’t know when I’ll next be in the area, so if it’s feasible – in terms of both time and money – at that point in time, then I may as well go for it.) A quick scout around the Voyages SNCF website was all it took for me to confirm it was doable as a day trip sans tour guide, and armed with the logistical details and a Google Maps printout, we were off.

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Pépites Parisiennes (III)

Paris is one of those cities that’s an assault on the senses. There’s so much to take in, to see and (most importantly) to eat, that there’s never enough time to do it all. (Not that that stops me from trying.) On my last trip to Paris, I zigzagged across the capital, scouting out the city’s gems – both large and small. Today’s instalment focuses on a few jewels in the fourteenth arrondissement’s crown (and that of its neighbour, the thirteenth arrondissement) – though this won’t sate the appetite of any budding cataphiles, as there’s more to this neighbourhood than the famous warren filled with human remains. (Though if that’s what you want and I can’t convince you otherwise, feel free to check out this post.) If you missed the previous instalments in this series, you know the drill: click here for the first post, and here for the second. Let’s crack on! / Paris, c’est une de ces villes qui est une agression sensorielle. Il y a tant à aller voir, à saisir et (de manière plus importante) à manger, qu’on n’a jamais suffisamment du temps pour tout faire. (Mais ça ne m’empêche pas d’essayer quand-même.) Pendant mon dernier voyage à Paris, j’ai traversé la ville, à la recherche des grandes et petites pépites parisiennes. L’épisode d’aujourd’hui va mettre l’accent sur les plus beaux fleurons du quatorzième arrondissement (et ceux de son voisin, le treizième arrondissement) – mais les cataphiles ne se seront pas rassasies, car cet arrondissement n’est que le fameux labyrinthe souterrain remplie de cadavres. (Cependant, si cela est votre truc et je ne peux pas vous convaincre autrement, allez regarder cet article.) Si vous avez raté les épisodes précédents, vous savez ce qu’il faut faire : cliquez ici pour le premier épisode, et ici pour le deuxième. On y va !

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Jeu, Set et Match: A Day at Roland-Garros

There are currently 5,384 people ahead of you in the queue. Welcome to the online booking system for Roland-Garros. Fortunately, the virtual queue moved speedily and less than thirty minutes later I was presented with various ticket options for my chosen day. Whoopee! The French are hardly renowned for having efficient online booking systems, and yet there I was, in awe of their seamless booking process before I’d even set foot in the grounds. As soon as I knew I’d be spending another year in the Land of Baguettes, I set my heart on a trip to the French Open. I wasn’t bothered about seeing the final or even a semi-final; I just wanted to experience the French Open any which way I could. Luckily for me, Laurence is always game for watching some live tennis, so it wasn’t difficult to talk him into spending the last weekend of May in Paris!

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Playlist | Serge Gainsbourg

Throughout his musical career, Serge Gainsbourg was a man who lived and breathed scandals. Despite – or perhaps in spite of – his tendency to add fuel to the fire (both literally – he once burnt a 500 franc note on live TV – and figuratively), he has attained legendary status in France since his death.

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Pépites Parisiennes (II)

Just over two months ago, I was soaking up the sunshine (and glowing lobster-red as a result) in Paris. Now, it’s a different story – back in the UK, I’m mostly soaked by incessant downpours instead. Inevitably, I’ve found myself reminiscing over that trip: the heat, the monuments, the food and everything in between. Today, I’m continuing this series on all gems great and small in the French capital, with an emphasis on the larger gems in this city’s tourist treasure trove. (If you missed the first instalment, click here to be brought up to speed.) / Il y a deux mois, à peu près, j’étais à Paris, absorbant la lumière (et devenant rouge comme un homard). Actuellement, c’est une autre histoire – au Royaume-Uni, je suis comme une éponge absorbant la pluie. Inévitablement, je passe du temps en réfléchissant sur ce voyage : la chaleur, les monuments, la nourriture et tout le reste. Aujourd’hui je continue cette petite série sur toutes les grandes et petites pépites parisiennes, en mettant l’accent sur les plus grandes pépites dans ce trésor pour touristes de cette ville magnifique. (Si vous avez raté le premier épisode, vous pouvez vous mettre au courant en cliquant ici.)

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Quel Beau Château

The Château de Versailles, as any visitor can tell you, is opulence incarnate: not a cent was spared on the polished, parquet floors, brocade furnishings and lavish, frescoed ceilings. Once home to the kings and queens of France – until the ancien régime was toppled by the peasants of the day and the guillotine did away with their heads – Versailles is a palace of wealth, a nod to the halcyon days of France’s nobility.

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Pépites Parisiennes (I)

If you tuned in to the tenth instalment of ‘La Vie Lyonnaise’, you’ll know that I spent a few days in Gay Paree at the end of May – and if you didn’t, you do now! While the trips I took out of the capital will all have their own features in due course, I’ve decided to mix things up a little and break the rest of the trip up into its own mini-series: ‘Pépites Parisiennes’. I first encountered the word pépite, which in this context translates as a gem, in a translation text I taught last year, and couldn’t resist working it into a blog post title somewhere! Paris is bateaux-mouches along the Seine, Haussmann architecture and the twinkling, golden glow of the Eiffel Tower. Paris is freshly-baked baguettes, garlic snails and steak-frites. Paris is also quaint neighbourhoods, quirky green spaces and winding side streets. Gems come in all shapes and sizes, and this saga will be a mélange of firm favourites that are on every visitor’s radar and lesser-known spots across the capital. / Si vous étiez à l’écoute du dixième épisode de ‘La Vie Lyonnaise’, vous sauriez que j’ai passé quelques jours à Paris fin mai – et si vous ne le saviez pas, vous le savez maintenant ! Tandis que les excursions d’une journée que j’ai fais pendant mon voyage auront leurs propres articles en temps utile, j’ai décidé de faire quelque chose de différent pour le reste, en créant une mini-série : ‘Pépites Parisiennes’. Je suis tombée sur le mot pépite dans une traduction que j’ai fait avec mes étudiants l’année dernière, et je ne pouvais pas rater l’occasion de l’utiliser dans un article quelque part ! Paris, c’est les bateaux-mouches sur la Seine, l’architecture de Haussmann et la lueur scintillante et dorée de la Tour Eiffel. Paris, c’est les baguettes qui viennent d’être cuites au four, les escargots à l’ail et les steaks-frites. Paris, c’est aussi les quartiers pittoresques, les espaces vertes originales et les ruelles sinueuses. Les pépites ne se ressemblent pas toutes, et cette série sera donc un mélange de lieux populaires et bien connus et de ceux qui sont moins fréquentés. 

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