french moments


france is bombarding me with moments lately, as if to say, “mais non, écoute, we might be difficult to deal with a lot of the time, but you are going to miss this. voilà!”

– yesterday i walked in to town in the afternoon to meet the girls. along the way, a large stage and bleachers have been erected at the end of the cours mirabeau, next to the statue of roi rené, where various acts are performing all weekend. i happened to stop and watch at the time when there were ballet dancers and a six-piece jazzy band playing with an incredibly typical french male singer, crooning in the half-singing, half-speaking way. the dancers were dressed in black capri leotard, with black and white ballet skirts and either black or white tops, and stark red berets. i’m not entirely sure it could have gotten more french than that?

– after i finished writing one of my exams the other day, i sat outside the school building waiting for my friends to join me. to my right is a café i often frequent (‘the enchanted flute’), behind, the cathédral saint saveur, an impressive old church. when i couldn’t hear the powerful and ominous chords emanating from the giant pipe organ inside, i was listening to the accordion player just down the alley.

– my friends joined me, and we went down to the hotel de ville square where we had iced coffee and pastis on a café terrace in the afternoon sunshine, listening to the 3-piece classical guitar band’s upbeat tunes and the patio chatter.

– i had about three or four crèpes last week from street-side stands.

– the prof examining claire and me for our ethics and politics class left halfway through the exams to get an espresso and have a smoke…

– i stopped at the market on my way to an exam to get some vegetables for dinner. trying to make small talk, i asked the old lady at the stand where i was purchasing basil if the wind that had been blowing the past week was the ‘mistral’ (a famously cold and blustery wind that comes annually down from the alps), to which she replied “oui bien sûr”. i asked if it was finished blowing now, and she gave me the french weather prediction mantra: “if it blows for three days, it will blow for three more, and if it blows for three more it will blow for three more. but if it stops before three days then it is finished”. supposedly, weather comes in threes here (they think the same of rain). and you know, she was right!

– bottle of rosé for 3€95???

mais non, écoute, écoute….

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