Sometimes I worry that my thighs are getting too fat or my stomach jiggles a bit too much for comfort. Then I remember that food is really fucking awesome. Especially food in Paris.
I’ll be straight with you; this blog post is going to focus entirely on amazing food you don’t have and self-indulgent realisations I’ve had about myself in the last twenty-four hours. I know this kinda deal isn’t for everyone so take this as your exit clause if you’re looking for super cute cats.
Alternatively, if you’re wondering who the hell I am, what I’m doing and why I’m writing this, you should probably head on over to the first of this series, which I started the other day. The crash course version, however, is that I’m a journalism student who is spending two weeks in Paris, and the food here is insane.
Lunch today consisted entirely of things I would never order separately, or indeed together if I was ordering for myself. Yet, even for a person who doesn’t really like cheese, I must confess the goat’s cheese and bacon salad I had today was possibly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
It was followed by two macaroons, again something I would never bother to order at home as they’re quite small and have a low chocolate content. Turns out I’ve just been eating really shit macaroons before.
Aside from fine dining, which is especially fine when you’re not paying for it, I’ve also had to time to reflect on a couple of truths about myself. You know the sort; you knew it anyway deep down, but you never actually admitted them to yourself. Deep man.
Today’s lecture was on the changing nature of elite’s in France during the era of the revolution and while history is far from my specialist subject, I felt much more comfortable than attempting to find meaning in modern art or conceptual architecture.
One of the points which most resonated with me was the question of how to make a new, shiny and better future, without looking also at the past and understanding what went wrong.
Yet while looking at the splendour on show at the following visit to the Legion of Honour Museum, I couldn’t help but feel there is a fine line between an appreciation of the past and simply stagnating in it.
I’ve spent my whole academic career with people who want to devote their lives to their studies and I’ve always felt like I should keep up the pretence of wanting to do the same. Yet, while I do genuinely enjoy reading for pleasure, seminars such as these and learning as much as possible I’m overwhelmingly driven by a desire to go out and do things, as opposed to trying to answer the bigger (or smaller) questions out there.
I’ve always known I’m tied to my work, but I’ve always tried to pretend I’m a secret academic too. And, in those weird, frank conversations you have with near strangers, I’ve today accepted that I’m not, but that that’s also totally okay.
Looking at rows and rows of beautiful robes and ornate medals also makes me feel a little sad inside. There’s so much beauty, and so much time invested in their creation, and all for the sake of elitism or religion. I wish people would just want to make beautiful things for the sake of making beautiful things, or to share beautiful things with world. Surely that’s an incentive in itself?
Finally, continuing my frank conversation with my newfound stranger-friend, the conversation inevitably turned to what I want to do next. “I don’t want to get a job yet”, came my standard, well-rehearsed reply, “I want to do exciting things.” To which my stranger-friend simply said “well don’t then”. And perhaps in order to be happy, it really is that simple.