Saturday, February 5, 2011

le bois de boulogne

"Phah, personne ne court à Paris". 

I get that a lot as I continue my search for somewhere that is acceptable to train in this city where athletic gear seems as foreign as McDonalds. This morning, however, my efforts were not in vain.

It isn't true that nobody runs in Paris. As it turns out, everyone runs in Paris, but secretly, and in the Bois de Boulogne on breezy Saturday mornings.

The Bois de Boulogne is an enormous wooded area, much larger than Central Park. It used to be a royal hunting reserve and later was the site of the first hot air balloon flight. Now it is a notorious red-light district for transvestite prostitutes by night and a glorious get-away from urban life by day. Runners weave in and out of trees along dirt paths and pelotons of bicycles rush by in every direction. I explored the trails with a new friend named Arnaud. He works for a french version of Greenpeace and spoke endlessly in fast french about the inferiority of skyscrapers to nature. He was preaching to the choir, but I was a bit out of breath and perfectly content to listen to his environmental rants.

Last evening I got my first taste of Parisian nightlife. I went with an Italian aquientence to meet a group of Italian and French students at a pub in the 17ième. It was lively and crowded and it would have been hard to have a conversation in English, let alone the odd combination of French and Italian at our table. As the night progressed, it quieted down a bit and ended up being a lovely time with lovely people. According to several independent critics, I speak with a Belgian accent. However, I have been assured that this is better than an American one so I'll take it.

Tonight, I am curling up with an essay on "La situation en Egypte", a steaming cup of coffee, and a french film.

Bonne soirée mes amis! 



A crêpe frenzy just occured. My family returned around 9:00 PM from a long day of helping  friends move from one apartment to another and crêpes were the only solution to their exhaustion. 

Within moments, the batter was made, the pans were heated, and there were crêpes wizzing through the air as my french brothers tried (and failed) to teach me how to gracefully flip them in the air like pizza dough. 

And then people began arriving. The family friends, the neighbors, the neighbor's cat. And we gathered around the table to spread nutella and pear jam and warm cheese on the thin, sweet pancakes and feast on the staggering array of food. 

Four hours later, we finally are drifting back to our rooms to digest. After some reflection, I have decided that the best one was the most simple:

Paper-thin crepe, light dusting of granulated sugar, freshly squeezed lemon juice