“We’ll always have Paris.” – Howard E. Koch

The main photo of this post may lead some of you to think that I have taken a spontaneous trip to Paris (specifically Versailles) in the last few days without saying anything. Fear not, dear readers, for this is not the case: the photo was actually taken back in March, when I went to visit my lovely friend, Will, who was in the capital for the second half of his year abroad. I spent the past weekend nowhere other than Laval – could there be anything more exciting than that?

HOWEVER. I am currently sat in my room bristling with excitement because this time tomorrow I will be in Paris for the first time since moving to France. It’s for a work trip and, although I am doing stuff with work on Wednesday and Thursday (I would give more details on this is I myself weren’t currently completely in the dark as to what this “stuff” actually is ), Friday is a jour libre for me and, given that Friday so conveniently falls right before the weekend, I’m also spending Saturday in Paris too. One of the best things about the whole thing is that I’m staying with a friend from New College, Christina, who is spending her year abroad studying at Sciences Po, one of Paris’s top universities, meaning not only that I avoid having to fork out huge amounts of money I don’t have for a distinctly average hostel, but also that I get to spend time with a friend who is able to relate to the struggles brought by year abroad and who probably knows Paris a hell of a lot better than I do. The other huge win about this trip is that my work is paying for my transport even though my boss and I are travelling back to Laval at different times. I’m expecting the train journey tomorrow to be remarkably awkward but, given that he will have bought my ticket on the day for a painfully large amount of money and has given Friday to me as an unofficial day off, I’m more than willing to make some light-hearted conversation in questionable French. I’m also resolved to avoid looking/seeming/giving off any air at all of being even slightly unhappy if Wednesday and Thursday turn out to be unusually long working days because I can’t help but feel like I’m probably going to get a lot more out of this trip than I’m going to have to put into it.

So yes. Exciting. I don’t know Paris very well at all, but sightseeing is normally more than enough to keep me happy. I also can’t wait to go to one (or several) of Paris’s many falafel-selling establishments. Laval, although absolutely great in most respects, is sadly very much lacking in that department.

Two more things to say, the first of which is, let’s be honest, probably only of any real interest to me: my hair is definitely growing! I’m using the fact that I’m on my year abroad as a (looking at the prices of some of Laval’s many hairdressers, very valid) reason not to get it cut (sorry Mum) and I’d like it to be properly long by the end. It’s definitely currently the longest it’s been for several years:

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and I also kind of just wanted an excuse to post a selfie.

The other thing is that I’ve found another great cafe in town! And it’s made even better by the fact that it’s joined onto what is possibly the best bookshop I’ve even been in, maybe with the exception of Blackwells on Broad Street in Oxford. Edith, Elisabeth, and I went on Saturday afternoon after the market, and there were more varieties of tea on offer than you could shake a proverbial stick at. Needless to say, all three of us were very content.

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This has been an unusually short post but I wanted to write something before leaving tomorrow as it’ll probably be well into next week before I get the chance again. I’m not actually getting back to Laval until Sunday evening as I’m going straight from Paris to Nantes, France’s sixth largest city, on Saturday evening to meet Matt, Edith, and Adri, who are all spending the weekend there. So what I’ve essentially got planned for the next five days is what my dad would call “a jolly”. And jolly happy I am about it too.

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