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After spending a lovely, relaxing two weeks at home, I’m back in Paris. In all honesty, I’m finding settling back in a little harder this time round. You could probably say that I got a bit cocky when I wrote my post on homesickness, because I think it’s started to kick in now, although I’d say three and a half months of feeling pretty okay about everything is fairly good going! I arrived back on Sunday evening and was thrown straight into work on Monday morning, and am feeling a little bit exhausted. I haven’t been going to the gym, have been taking plenty of naps and eating a fair amount of chocolate because I think a little TLC is in order until I’m back to my usual self! One or two lie in’s, a couple of sessions in the gym and a little soirée for a friend’s 21st on Friday night should perk me up nicely.

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Literally me when I think about my YAPE. 5,000 word essay in French? NAP TIME.

So, in an effort to cheer myself up and to update those of you who read my blog, I thought I’d summarise my last month or so in Paris before I went home for Christmas! I was lucky enough to have three visitors – mum, Will and dad. Knowing that I would see each of these VIP’s at least once before I came home made the time fly by.

Mum and I did the usual girlie stuff – shopping, eating cake, going to the cinema (to watch Suffragette – it was a great film and gave us both great satisfaction when the credits pointed out that the UK gave women the vote about 20 years before France) and generally just wandering around Paris enjoying each other’s company. It was nice to see mum when she wasn’t moaning about having to do the washing or go to the supermarket! We went to Les Galeries Lafayette, which has to be the most stunning building I’ve ever been in. Although, I think we both agreed that our favourite corner of Paris is Le Marais which also incorporates the ‘Jewish Quarter’, and is about five minutes from my doorstep. It has a great atmosphere, sells the best falafel and has some cute little boutiques to stare into longingly.

Mother dearest at Les Galeries Lafayette

Will visited the weekend after, and as it was heading into December we were able to enjoy the Christmas festivities Paris put on on the Champs Elysées. I’ll be totally honest, and I couldn’t believe it myself, but Manchester Christmas markets are much better than the ones here! Apart from the fact that mulled wine is ridiculously cheap… we had to take a nap afterwards (adulting fail). We also went up the Arc de Triomphe, which is another of my favourite spots in Paris. Forget climbing the Eiffel Tower – the climb up the Arc is much more rewarding as it has the best vantage point for amazing views of the city. When mum and I came a few years ago, we climbed up just as the sun was setting, which blessed us with the picture perfect silhouette of Paris. In an attempt to widen our cultural horizons, we took a little trip to the Louvre to see some of the more famous pieces in there. Do not underestimate this place – it’s huge. Did you know it would take you about 2 years if you spent 60 seconds in front of every single piece to see everything? Now I’ve been inside, I’ll probably just stick to enjoying it from afar whilst sat with an ice cream or crêpe in the Tuileries.

The Louvre, Mona Lisa and the Champs Elysée from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

Last but not least, two weeks after that, Dad came to visit. We spent a day wondering around the Ile-de-la-Cité and we stumbled across the Shakespeare & co. bookshop, which had been recommended to me and I had kept forgetting to visit. He was meant to take a photo of me outside, but you know what old people are like with technology, and all I have is this photo I took of some interesting words.

The Shakespeare Company & co.

We also took a daytrip to Provins where there was a medieval Christmas market which was rather interesting but insanely busy. I loved it here, and want to visit again in spring when it’s warm enough to amble through the crooked, medieval houses, and take it in properly.

I do have some photos, but they’re on the memory card I’ve left at home whilst my camera gets fixed!

And, of course, I can’t forget the times I’ve had with new friends whilst I’ve been here. Dinah, Aimée and I took an impromptu trip to the Cirque du Soleil which was absolutely incredible. We all left with our jaws hanging open and, for me, an overwhelming feeling that being unable to fly and twirl through the air in pretty costumes for a living means I’ve failed at life. Amel and I also took a trip to Amiens as it showed up on a list of best Christmas markets in France. For both of us, it was just a huge relief to step out of Paris for a day and take a deep breath of non-Parisian air! That, and we drank some good hot chocolate, mulled wine and ate some mouth-watering nems!

A pretty road and the cathedral in Amiens.

I love having visitors, but each time somebody leaves it makes me really sad. The experience I’m having in Paris is amazing, and will give me many unforgettable anecdotes to tell my grandchildren, but it has also made me realised that home, for me, is with my family, friends, boyfriend and cats (yes, I had to). So, here’s to making some more memories on the next half of my year abroad. Next stop – Lydia’s visit at the end of the month, and then who knows what else!