Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Quoi de neuf?

Looking back over my blog from the past few months, it struck me that while I have posted many a (hopefully) witty comment on the more incomprehensible aspects of French living, it’s been a while since I wrote about my actual French life.

One of the great things about my life is that I have a job that I really love. The trouble with having a job that you love is that sometimes you care a little bit too much about doing it well and it eats into the rest of your life and takes up a lot of your thinking time. When you also love many other things in life, that can lead to a lot of stress. I realised things had gone a bit too far when I had a long break in Scotland over Easter and, by the time I had finally started to relax, it was time to go back to work again. Since then, work has still been manic, but I have been making an effort to be calmer, more relaxed and a little less obsessed with filling every waking minute (and some when I should be sleeping) with exciting things to do.

So here is what I have been doing while trying not to do anything. Sunny weather always helps!

Visit the Base de Loisirs in Cergy. Cergy has a reputation for being a bit grim but this is a beautiful park with several lakes and lots of forest. We just had a barbecue, but you can also go sailing, take a cruise or even go swimming!

Picnic in the Parc du Château in St-Germain-en-Laye. Officially this isn’t allowed, but a park official looked at our spread of apéro snacks, couscous, fruit, salad and large quantities of wine and said, “As long as it’s a light picnic, it’s fine.”

Discover the Parc de Montsouris. This is probably the Parisian park that looks most like a British park. Not too much dust, and you are allowed to play on the grass!

Take a trip to Burgundy. Only 2 hours’ drive from Paris and also accessible by train, this area is proper countryside, with enough tree pollen to make me sneeze non-stop for two days. Luckily, the French healthcare system has since provided me with three types of medication and since then I’ve been fine. This was my first outdoor swim of the year, in a reservoir, and there is also lots of amazing food to taste! We adopted a friendly dog that insisted that we take it for a walk.

">Drink on a terrasse, preferably surrounded by all your friends and beautiful flowers.

Plan your next trip. Holiday weekends are coming up, so it’s time to go further afield again!

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