It was Saturday night. Caro and I took to the streets, having been cozied up in a café for the afternoon. We’d been cozied up because it was raining, but we decided to brave the rain in the evening because who wants to hide in a hostel room when they’re in Paris.
We wandered from the Louvre, in the first arrondissement, to the Panthéon, in the 5th. Our destination was Rue Mouffetard, well known for having a looooong stretch of bars and restaurants — aka awesome nightlife. We spent many a night on Rue Mouffetard as students, and going back seemed necessary.
Unfortunately, the rain was about as fun to walk around in as we’d anticipated…when it didn’t stop, we sought shelter on a little ledge at bum-level on the side of a building. Caro had a bottle of red wine stashed in her purse (obviously — Côtes du Rhône is our favorite blend of cheap and delicious, if you’re looking), so we whipped that out, along with our little pots of yogurt that we’d eaten from and cleaned up to use as drank glasses (picnic kit 101).
We’d been sitting on the ledge for ~20 mins, catching up on life and stuff, when we noticed a guy above us in the window on the opposite side of the street. He was drinking a beer and staring at us. Eventually, a girl showed up at the window too, and we watched them come and go for a while. Finally, they called down to us in barely-intelligible French; we deciphered their invitation upstairs for drinks in their apartment.
After a moment’s consideration, we headed up to join them, enticed by the promise of interaction with French strangers — meaning lots of language practice for us and new friends! Our guts said they were friendly, not creepy; our guts were right. Go guts. We spent an enjoyable hour or two answering questions about America, after the (I guess it was called for) question: what were you doing sitting on the street drinking wine? Apparently (unaware of our navigational badassery, I guess we forgive them) they thought we were lost. They introduced us to their group (Sébastien, Aurore, Paul, Sophie, and…Aurore’s boyfriend, who I didn’t catch the name of), including of course Charlot the cat and a black guinea pig (le pig). Before they knew that we spoke French pretty well, Sophie would ask Paul in French to ask us in English if they could get us anything, or for vocabulary words, and we often answered before he got the chance…eventually I think they caught on.
It reminded me of almost all of my friend-making in Paris. “Wow, this was great, when can we hang out again?” “Oh…I’m leaving.” I’m glad this year I get to stay in one place. We’ll see if my friendships get deeper.
But it also goes to show that when in Paris, things happen that you’d never expect. That is part of its magic.
And the obvious lesson here is: always carry a bottle of wine and some glasses, you never know where street drinking will get you.
And we did eventually make it to Rue Mouffetard, where things were still going on:
And continued onward to Notre Dame.
This weekend was a great reminder of the place Paris has in my heart, but Caro and I agreed that we are excited to live somewhere new! It will probably be less expensive, and more predictable. I’m ready for that.