Merci and Au Revoir

The Louvre – because you can’t use the Eiffel Tower every time…

So my time in France has now come to an end and this shall be the last column I write about life in Amiens. Alas, do not cry too much, as I shall be back in a fortnight beginning my tales of life in Germany.

I spent last weekend in my absolute favourite city, Paris. I adore everything about Paris; the beauty, the architecture, the fabulous cuisine, the list is endless. I find it impossible to imagine how you could not fall in love with the “city of lights”. So here is my attempt to give you a little avant-goût of what I experienced in the fabulous city during my weekend there.

Saturday was magical. My friend and I spent the morning wandering down the Champs Elysées, such a fabulous street filled with glorious clothes shops (hello a new cheeky pair of shoes) and heavenly cafés selling the kind of coffee that can only be found within the depths of France. Shopping along the Champs Elysées has to be one of my favourite things to do; the incomparable street offers a mix of rather expensive shops with some cheaper English favourites and I enjoyed admiring the window displays of shops such as Cartier and Louis Vuitton thinking, “I wish”. We then headed to an incredible café called Angelina that I cannot recommend enough. The interior was simply stunning and its famous hot chocolate did not disappoint. A little taste of devilishly delicious heaven in the form of melted white chocolate. It was then time to venture towards the Eiffel Tower, which I find breathtaking every time I see it. Then as 7 o’clock approached it lit up and began to sparkle. I adore sparkly lights and this was for me a magical moment; I felt very lucky to be stood gazing at this fabulous landmark, all glittery and beautiful. Definitely my favourite moment of the weekend. After dinner in a very typical French restaurant it was time for our “night out”. We all met on the Champs Elysées and the mélange of a little too much excitement and rather too much vodka ensured that the night didn’t particularly go to plan unfortunately. But I shall leave the details of that to your imagination.

Sunday was a much lazier day, which I revelled in. Firstly we went in search of a greasy lunch and our grease craving was definitely fulfilled in a café by the Louvre. Desperate for a Diet Coke, I asked for a large one, expecting it to be around a pint size. Oh no. Apparently in France a large Diet Coke means the hugest glass I have ever seen in my life filled with 2 litres of coke. Yes, you heard me right, 2 litres. For 15 euros! I was outraged! Especially as the sheer size of it completely conquered my determination to finish it so I only managed half. Heartbreaking. We then decided to go to Louvre, without question an incredibly impressive art gallery. Having never been before I was obviously desperate to see the Mona Lisa – but I have to say I was a little disappointed. Yes, I understand that her facial expression is indeed enigmatic and that the illusionism is rather atmospheric, yet I just couldn’t believe how small it is compared to the other paintings. However, without wanting to come across as ignorant of great art, I shall admit that it is very beautifully painted and quite enchanting. After this excursion it was then time to hop on the train back to Amiens after a truly magical weekend. Paris, je t’aime and cannot wait for my next visit already.

So as I prepare to leave France before heading off to Germany I can’t help feeling rather emotional as I look back on my time here. Last night I had a farewell meal which I can say was the best night of my time here in Amiens. As I looked around the table at faces that I have known for just six months, I felt truly lucky to have met these fantastic people and very sad to be leaving them. It’s funny how as the time comes to leave somewhere it dawns on you how much you love both it and the life you led there. Indeed there were tears at the end of the night and tears as I left my dance school here on Wednesday. As I move onto Germany and face all the fears and challenges I experienced here six months ago, I know I’ll be petrified to start afresh somewhere new – I can only hope that Freiburg brings as much happiness and as many fabulous people as Amiens has. I guess all that’s left for me to say is merci and au revoir France… Bisous.

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