Bonjour mes parents! C’est votre plus jeune fille préférée qui vous appelle, finally here to tell you all about her recent grand slam adventure à Paris! If this was a real postcard, it would have a British stamp on it, rather than a French stamp, because as per usual, I’ve been quite delayed in actually getting around to writing this and sending it to you. Terribly sorry. Anyway, I don’t want you getting your grand slams confused so before Wimbledon hits our screens, shall we reminisce about Paris?
My long weekend in Paris was such a delight. London had been hot that general-election Thursday when I departed, but I arrived to even warmer temperatures in Paris. Can you believe I hadn’t been in Europe proper since 2015? Somehow I’d forgotten that last year I was too busy walking 500 miles. The temperatures, combined with this realisation and the view in front of me, made for a very ecstatic Catmac as I walked out of Gare du Nord into the blinding sunshine. Paris architecture is incredible. ‘Shall I move to Paris?’, I wondered to myself as I slowly wandered south to our Air BnB in Le Marais, an excellent choice might I add. Don’t worry parents, as with Australia, I think it’s unlikely that I’m about to change countries any time soon.
Do you remember my old Brussels flatmates Marine and Jo? On my first night in Paris, whilst I was waiting for Viv to arrive, I met up with Marine and as per tradition (well, we’ve done it twice!) we face-timed Jo who is now back in Brussels post-studies. It was so cool to see and laugh with them again! I love that I still have these connections from different stages of my life. My Brussels life is a distant memory to me now, but meeting up with the people I shared the experience with helped me relate to it again. The blog also helps. Rue le Titien pour toujours!
Weirdly, Paris didn’t seem that fussed about Roland-Garros, At least, not to the extent that I saw in Melbourne and have witnessed multiple times in London. There was barely any advertising for it anywhere in the city and even when we arrived at one of the designated Roland-Garros metro stops, we literally had no idea which direction we needed to walk in because there was nothing to instruct us. (Shout-out to the man who took one look at the Scottish flag draped round my neck and concluded that we should follow him.)
Even in central Paris, there seemed to be a lack of activity. We’d been told there was a big screen by the Eiffel Tower so we ventured there for the final. Naturally, this led us to vision our arty Instagram shots-to-be but when we arrived at the screen, we were a bit disappointed.
Sure, the Eiffel Tower is in the vicinity but how am I supposed to see it from within this hidden enclosure?! Alas, our instas were not to be, but to be fair, when we did get inside this rather random and exclusive RG watchpoint, we quickly embraced our new lives.
Asides from the tennis, and the obligatory parkrun (when in Paris), we still had lots of time to enjoy the city. Shout-out to Viv who got up at 7.30am to go to Versailles whilst I went to parkrun so we would then be able to hang out again in the afternoon after our respective activities! This trip was the first time that I felt like I really understood the geography of Paris. Now I understand that the Eiffel Tower is west, Roland-Garros even more west, etc, etc! It was also the first time that I’d walked extensively in the city and fully appreciated its beauty.
Paris, there’s so much I love about you.
It’s a good sign that, even only three weeks on, I keep forgetting that I had possibly the worst cold of my year on this trip to Paris. Let’s just block out those negative memories! I remember thinking I’d have to rein in my cheering for Andy because my voice wasn’t strong enough to shout, and then, of course, I threw that plan out the window as soon as Andy came on court. “ALLEZ ANDY!” To be fair, it felt like there were only 10 other Andy fans in the whole stadium – he needed my voice! Ice cream was then, of course, essential to aid my recovery.
Amusingly, my grand slam tour has turned into a bit of a Nadal slam tour. I watched him in the final in Australia, and then again in the semi-final in Paris. Is he going to feature in my Wimbledon experience? This wasn’t the plan. But I can’t complain. Even though Andy lost in his semi-final at Roland-Garros, that match was a huge treat for me and made the grand-slam risk of 2017 seem all worth it. Now I hope you’ve both fine-tuned your voices because Andy needs us for the next 2 weeks. Watch out for me/him/two scots at Wimbledon!