Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Meeting Ella

I last left you on tenterhooks (sorry about that) at the Gare du Nord, saying goodbye to my family before dashing across town to meet up with the fabulous Ella of Tales from the Chambre de Bonne. But if you will, I'll take you a bit further back in time to the night before.

After many attempts to arrange a meeting - I'm not in Paris that often (although it seems like I've been a million times this year) and Ella has been living a jet-set international lifestyle lately - the big day was almost upon us! We had emailed back a number of times, but everything was still pretty vague, since I hadn't really nailed things down with what time the family were setting off. After dashing off a quick email, my phone started ringing. Who could that be, after 10 pm at night? For some reason, it didn't occur to me that it was Ella, and after the eternal inward debate when an unknown French number lights up my screen, I opted to answer with a creaky "Allo?", sounding as though I'd just woken up (my friend Liz asks me that every time she calls, I think my voice just goes into rusty gate mode if I haven't used it within the last half an hour). It was Ella! And I'd answered the phone sounding like the French version of the Squeaky-Voiced Teen.

"Omg, Gwan," I thought to myself, "Way to mess it up with the cool chick. She's not going to wanna be your friend now." I was as nervous as though we were going on an actual date instead of a blogdate. Luckily my testicles are not actually in the process of descending (got that out of the way years ago), so I managed to make it through the rest of the conversation without any awkward voice-breaks, and our plans were made for the following day.

I managed, for once, to navigate my way to our meeting place without getting lost (I actually can do the metro system okay) and came up the steps into a light rain 15 minutes early. Peering out of my underpowered eyes, I spotted someone who looked a lot like Ella, but I headed towards her at an oblique angle, just in case at the last minute I had to veer off course upon discovering that once again my eyes had deceived me and instead of a petite Italian-American woman, it actually turned out to be a large black man (I'm seriously blind and bad at recognising people, I wouldn't put it past me). No such avoiding action was necessarily, because it was indeed Ella herself, and I'm happy to say that that was the last awkward moment of the evening!

We set out for a mini inside tour of Ella's Paris. I was excited to pass close to her apartment, to see the famous Franprix O' Embarrassment and Yard, the cute site of Ella and Seb's upcoming PACS dinner, before starting our evening off tête-à-tête in a quiet bar with 4.50€ happy hour cocktails.

Doing an Ella, i.e. covering our faces. This was made possible by Ella ripping my map in two, cheers love! ;) The famous Franprix can be glimpsed behind us!

There was much behind-the-scenes blogssip to discuss, such as Ella's unconventional Paris life Before The Blog, the Worst Date Ever, Bad Flatmates, and Famous Jerks Ella Worked For. I think the most famous people I've met are Shortland Street actors (yes, who?), so I was all agog at Ella's glamorous tales of life in New York, LA, and the Paris fashion scene. Ella's just lucky I didn't try to compete with my fabulous stories about recycling bins!

After a little bit of Dutch courage (which I just found out Americans call "liquid courage"), Ella led me into the lion's den of Au Bon Accueil, a "dive bar" filled with a motley (but, it turns out, friendly) crew of genuine, un-chic, salt-of-the-earth Parisians, "interesting" decor and, most importantly, 2.50€ glasses of wine. Ella describes, and photographs, the ambience much better than I could, so if you haven't read it already, I refer you to her account of the evening.

I'll just add that I had a great evening, the conversation flowed as easily as the wine, oh and Ella has a secret thing for little ratty men! (I've seen photos of Seb, fear not ladies, he's hot, but it seems her taste falls off quite a sharp cliff thereafter.)

Foxy ladies and foxy toilet decorations. I loved this cute little fox cuddling a chicken. I hope he has honest intentions

A drunkard? And why not? I've known a hundred times worse... Come drink with me. We'll bore ourselves later. I just had to get a photo with this neat summation of my life's philosophy.

A nice drunk man kindly took a photo of me, Ella, and our lobster pal
I was sorry to leave, but managed to make it all the way across town to the Gare d'Austerlitz and on to the last train back to Tours safe and sound & with 10 minutes to spare. Thanks for a great night out and being even more fabulous, funny, and full of witty anecdotes in person than you are on your blog, Ella! You're welcome any time to party with me in Tours, otherwise I'll definitely be beating a path to the next quirky bar of your choice the next time I'm in gay Paree!

21 comments:

  1. I LOVE IT!!!!! What a detailed recount of our girl's night out!

    I'm so glad that we finally met! I love your humor, YOUR tales of all of your travels and life experiences, and really appreciated that you wanted to meet me during your few hours in Paris apres la famille. I know you have a lot of friends here, so thank you.

    And thank you for such a lovely post.

    ps: Sorry for ripping your map!

    pp: Major boobage in the first photo. Girl, you can't help it so just work it. ; )

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    1. My pleasure! I could probably help the boobage a little bit, but between you and me, I don't want to!

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  2. Ooh! Sounds like you two ladies had such a lovely girl's night out! I can't help but admit that I'm a little (ok, a lot) jealous!

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    1. I know how you feel being out of the loop, I'm always jealous of fabulous Paris happenings. Hopefully we can meet up one of these days.

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  3. I bet you two had a blast! I'm dying to get up to Paris so Ella can show you around. If I ever make it, you'll have to join us! (I'm curious about these 'ratty' men) :)

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  4. Tenterhooks is right! But all is forgiven now that I've read the exciting account of Ella and your night out! I can so imagine Ella ripping your map in half and the two of you regaling each other with tales of famous people and recycling. :) Three cheers for two of my favorite bloggers finally meeting in person!!!

    And Gwan, between you and me, I know exactly what you mean about Ella's obsession with ratty little men. ;) Thank goodness that she broke the pattern with Seb!

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    1. To be fair, the map was only holding together by a thread & it was an accident, I'm not really upset!

      Ha ha, I'm glad someone is with me on rattymengate!

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  5. What is a tenterhook? (No Googling allowed).

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    1. I did actually google when I wrote it, but I forgot again!

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  6. Comment in yesterday's Guardian.
    Why do suicide bombers never target Ryanair?
    Because they want to go straight to Paradise and not end up 100km away!

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  7. Sounds like a fun night, but there's one important detail you haven't revealed: where did you find those 4.50 euro cocktails?!

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    1. I don't know what it was called, you'll have to ask ella!

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  8. That's so great you two finally met! I love the photos and your humour!!!!!! I wish I had such humour!

    I'm so nervous to meet people that I know from the internet-- it really is like a blind date, except even MORE pressure b/c you've been in contact for so long online! It's fab when it works out! The wine comes in handy in this case, at least pour moi!

    Nice to see the famous Franprix! Ha. I see them here in Grenoble and I always think of Ella, but I gotta' say, I'm representin' Monoprix all the way! And my Monoprix is often surrounded by bums, their dogs and hippies a la East Village. You can't ask for a better entrance to a grocery store!

    Dutch courage-- I didn't know that expression, cool!

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    1. Aw, shucks, thanks! Wine always comes in handy, but I think we would have gotten on just fine without it too.

      I don't think we have any Franprixs here. A friend of mine makes fun of me for how often I apparently talk about going to Monoprix, but now that I don't work opposite one I normally go to Simply Market, which is crappy but close by and cheap. I don't think I've seen Simplys anywhere else either - I find it a bit weird how different regions seem to have different main supermarkets - in Chamonix it was all Casinos and SuperUs. Anyway, that's probably enough Supermarket Chat!

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    2. We have a Simply near us too. The prices are really good. I do our "big" trips there...for like bulk items. I wish the name was better though. It's just awful.

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  9. Q Bar in the 11th! It's a tasty Thai resto. Happy Hour 5 - 9 4euros cocktails, 4,50 coupe de champ, et 2,50 wine. I had an afterwork mango marg last night. Delish!

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    1. Oh 4, not 4.50 - even better!

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  10. Thank you girls! I feel a happy hour coming on ....

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