Friday, February 10, 2012

Single in Paris...

Being single in Paris isn't so bad...even when you're surrounding by happy couples!

Before anyone jumps to conclusions and thinks that the title of this post is the equivalent of a status change on facebook, rest assured that Stéphane and I are still happily married. But in between his traveling for work and supporting his parents during a difficult time in Geneva, I'm "single in Paris". Since the only people I know are married and I don't feel comfortable asking them to leave their families to go out at night, I frequently attend events on my own. And I've got to admit that it isn't so bad because I always end up meeting the most fascinating people.


Take last night as an example. Even though I was tempted to stay home and watch another episode of "Downton Abbey" (I'm hooked!) or wait until one of my kids appeared on Skype, the pull of an author event at the Irish Cultural Center proved too hard to resist. Plus, there was free wine - and I'm a sucker for anything with free wine, especially if it's Le Grand Cru du Languedoc.

After listening to Dr. Véronique Guibert de la Vaissière engaging talk about her field research in Ireland, her affection for the Irish people, her vineyard, Daumas Gassac, and her new cookbook, Savours and Flavours of Mas Daumas Gassac, I had a great time sipping sparkling rosé and chatting with other people who were on their own. In an off-beat mixture of Franglais, I had a lively conversation with a 20 year old Frenchman who professed his undying love for New York and Miami. Imagine his disappointment when I told him that I'm from the Midwest. To make matters worse, when I tried to evade his question about where I live in Paris by mumbling the response, he practically shouted, "Mais, le 16th - ca c'est la plus pire arrondissement for someone young like me. There's nothing there!"

By this point, our animated conversation had attracted a French actress, who is also known as the macaron queen by her friends. Even though she has lived in Paris for 30 years, she revealed that she had only discovered Ladurée two years ago when she noticed a long line in front of the restaurant on rue Royale. She laughingly told me that up until that point she had only thought that standing in line is what actors do while looking for work. She never realized that people would queue up for something to eat...until she discovered those little bites of heaven and then started making them herself. Her speciality is mint chocolate.

So, if you don't want to sit at home or in your hotel room by yourself, check out the schedule of activities for the fifteen cultural centers in Paris. Here's a partial list to get you started:

Irish Cultural Center
Japanese Cultural Center
Swiss Cultural Center
Danish Cultural Center

Click HERE to see the complete list of cultural centers in Paris. If you're interested in a particular country, sign up for their monthly newsletters for advance notice about upcoming events.

10 comments:

  1. Oh MK these centers would have come in handy this time last year when I was single and sad!

    I was definitely in need of some lively conversation! I wish I knew about your blog back then! And hey, I could've charmed the young French guy with my NYC roots! :)

    But really, what a clever idea! I would have never thought to visit these cultural centers. There's a Mexican culture center by my house that I pass and wonder what happens in there besides Spanish classes...now I know.

    Comme d'hab...merci!

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  2. The 20 year old French guy would have LOVED talking about NYC with you! I disappointed him on so many levels! ;)

    I'm so pleased that you aren't "single and sad" anymore. While I've gotta admit that Paris is best when enjoyed with someone you love, the cultual centers are a good way to enjoy an evening out when you're on your own. Plus, the events are usually free.

    One year ago I was still in Switzerland - I think that you and I started our blogs about the same time. Isn't it funny how much difference a year can make!

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    1. Yes...a year makes a world of difference. :)

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  3. What a fun story! I love the actress who doesn't wait in line. And still think you're so lucky to live in the 16th--you can get a good nights sleep, unlike the Marais or St Germain.

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    1. I'm not sure that sleep ranks very high for a 20 year old! I can just imagine the expression that he would have made if I told him that I sleep like a baby in the 16th! One of the other big advantages of where we live is that we get a lot of light. I wouldn't do well in an apartment that doesn't receive direct sunlight like so many of the apartments on the more narrow streets. The actress was great!

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  4. MK....No worries, we can tear up the town after dark when I arrive. (and still likely be in bed by 10) ;-)
    nancyb

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    1. Sounds like a plan! I'll start catching up on my sleep now in preparation for our wild adventures! ;)

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  5. We found the other Irish cultural centre on Saturday, the Galway Irish Pub close to Notre Dame!

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    1. LOL -- your comment made me laugh out loud! Will there be any photos of the cultural center on your blog?!

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  6. Hello, I m italian living now in Paris... its very charming as you all say but the cultural center idea was not really working with me... from 2 weeks ago was the WHITE NIGHT in paris... i went to the german cultural center but my experience last only for 5 min :) when i saw the sign BE FREE BE GAY :) - i ran out as i will not end up the night with a dude :)
    any other way to meet nice decent GIRLS :)

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