Three nights, three dinner parties

July 17, 2008 at 3:04 PM | Posted in Paris 2008 | Leave a comment

I’ve had a great last couple days (more specifically, a great couple evenings). On Tuesday night my advisor Lisa had me and a few people from work over for dinner. One of her closest friends is my former statistics professor Judy, who has been visiting Lisa for the past week, so she was there too. Altogether there were ten people–about half French, half American–and it was so much fun. The last time I saw Judy, I was all stressed out about a final project for class, and then two months later here we were, drinking champagne and eating caviar in Paris. Lisa is staying in a gorgeous apartment right near the Luxembourg gardens, and we had a really great dinner and conversation.

Then last night (Wednesday), I met up with Dana. She’s staying in a refurbished former servant’s apartment above the apartment of a couple that is friends with her family, and Patrick, the husband, is a photographer. He had an exhibit opening, so we went to celebrate the opening with them (with champagne of course) and see the photos, and then Catherine and Patrick invited us back to their apartment for dinner. They live in a very cool area of Montmartre, they are avid travelers, and he is an artist, and the confluence of those three factors means that their apartment is spectacular–not in an ostentatious way, just in a really effortless and eclectic-yet-classic way. But the best part is the view of Montmartre–Sacre-Coeur is basically framed by their living room window. They had several of their friends over–a very intellectual, artistic group–and we had a Lebanese feast (along with half a case of Burgundy). Their friends were so interesting, and we had a great time. But it’s not a lie that Parisians eat late–they put out dessert at midnight–and the Metro closes at 12:30ish. People here are so relaxed about time, though. I was planning on walking to the Metro with a couple I met at the party, and at 12:10 the woman (I forget her name) was pouring herself another glass of wine and laughing and talking. I was really nervous that I would miss the train and have to take a cab back, but decided that it was their city and they knew better than I did how the Metro worked. We left the apartment at 12:20 and I had to switch trains–but of course I made it back fine, I wasn’t even on the last train, and it was a great lesson in just relaxing and trusting that things will work out. Everyone at the party, this one couple in particular, just seemed to love and relish life, and I could have talked with them all night.

Then, since I haven’t been home before midnight since Sunday (today is Thursday), I decided that tonight I would come home and have a quiet night. I didn’t really have any plans beyond that, and I had completely forgotten that my housemate’s mother was visiting from Bordeaux and her niece–who is my age–from Toulouse (grandmother and granddaughter are about to take a trip through Sardinia together). Muriel invited me to join them for dinner, so I had another fabulous meal and great conversation. Her mother brought a bottle of 1996 Bordeaux along with her, which even I could tell was excellent, and it must have been something about the combination of her Bordeaux accent and speaking slowly, but I could understand about 40% of what her mother was saying (this is a vast improvement over my usual 10-15%)–it was enough so that I could get the gist of the conversation without Muriel needing to translate. For dessert Muriel made homemade yogurt, which was really excellent and which I’m going to try and make when I get home.

And I’m officially exhausted from all this merriment (and from a busy week at work)! I’m planning on going to Bruges, Belgium for the weekend with Dana and her cousin who’s visiting from New York–chocolate, beer, and waffles, here I come!

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