Paris

Brief aside: The more Parisians I meet the more I understand the mentality that is so often mistaken for rudeness. One thing in particular comes up each time I have a conversation on this topic: the French often find themselves frustrated with Americans who will smile and nod politely with a cheery disposition when they are in fact not satisfied at all. Where the French would normally simply say ‘no’ when they find something disagreeable, an American might hesitate or try to tip-toe around a direct answer in an attempt to be polite. While it seems both sides have the same good intentions, I think this is something often overlooked that causes more tension that it should. If I ask someone from France for an opinion, I expect to get a direct and honest answer, I appreciate that.

Anyway, back on topic: adventures in Paris.

Our second day in Paris began as it would each day thereafter: a cup of coffee in front the cafe, four of us sitting around a small table, and some fresh croissants. From there we hop on our bikes and ride along the canal on our way through the city to a park in the 19e Arr. We arrive lunch in tow, meander a while, and find a nice spot in the sun. Parc des Buttes Chaumont is full of steep hills littered with Parisians enjoying one of the first really sunny days of the summer. Laying in the grass with the warmth of the sun and a full picnic spread wasn’t what I imagined Paris to be from previous experiences. My last time here, a few years before, was marked by being overcharged for a room of a friend we expected to be free, missing the New Year’s countdown while being stuck in the metro, and being told not to butcher the French language by the locals. A few hours pass as we chat, nap, and snack while sharing bottles of wine.

We spent the afternoon lounging in the park as friends came and went and the sun slowly sank lower in the sky. Our plans for the night include a party in the 16e Arr. which is known for being the most expensive area in the city. We’ve been prepared for the party since Friday, when Eugénie sent me a link with video from the previous year. It’s called Die Nacht and is held in an abandoned swimming pool covered in graffiti in the center of the city. The space has been used as a venue since the 60’s and this is one of the last parties before it’s torn down for some fancy hotels or something of the sort two weeks from now. We rode to the venue and waiting outside we could hear the thumping of the electronic music that awaited us on the other side of the tall concrete walls. Upon entering and walking through a series of large loading-dock style doors we find ourselves confronted with a four-story high concrete space with an olympic-sized swimming pool for a floor. The entrance is just behind the DJ booth which overlooks the massive crowd revealed periodically by the white flashes of the strobe lights.

An hour or so passes and the crowd gets a bit overwhelming. We decide we’ve had our fun and would like to see something else of the Parisian nightlife. Our next stop: Social Club. It’s a night club in the 2eme Arr. and is much better suited for our tastes. Eugénie comes through again and upon arrival we skip the long line waiting out front and walk right down the stairs leading into the multiple rooms that lead to the dancefloor. I later learn the cover is pretty pricey, and the wait is fairly long, but at the time I didn’t think much of it. After a few hours of dancing we finally get to meet the man who made the night possible, a friend of Eugénie’s who works sound at the club who goes by Chicken. Or, Poulet to be more accurate. We meet him when he greets us with a large bottle of expensive vodka on ice and two carafes or cranberry juice. I know I won’t be able to recreate this night, so I should take full advantage of it, and I did. We drank and danced and made our way out of the club sometime around 6am. Upon leaving we realize no one knows where Morgan is. We search the empty club thinking he must be asleep in some corner but to no avail. After ten or so minutes of worry and frustration Maggy spots him in the distance happily bouncing towards us completely unaware. He had wandered outside for a smoke and couldn’t get back in so walked around and found some food. We all gather around and consume what was a gigantic crepe that tasted exactly like lasagna in a matter of seconds. Bellies full we stumble off into the metro and make our way back to the apartment. We get in bed, put on some music, and slowly fall asleep as the rest of the city starts their day.