94.An introvert in Paris



I’m in the lobby restaurant of the Hotel Jeu de Paume, on a cold and wet Monday in Paris. Nestled between the two arms of the Seine River, Jeu de Paume has been sheltering travellers since the 17th century so it’s coping well with this one.

It’s raining and Im fine with that. So very fine. My holiday will be populated soon enough, but today I have a date with me.

Choosing to do fuck all in Paris doesn’t feel unproductive to me.


screen-shot-2Like many introverts, I crave time alone. Whereas an extrovert might get bored or antsy spending a day in solitude, I’m more inclined to get bored or antsy in company. I’d rather talk in front of 500 people than mingle with them afterwards. Networking makes me feel phony and small talk isn’t a strength.

That said, most of my ‘achievements’ today will involve highly considered small talk – in French. I’ve been learning French, and forgetting what I’ve just learned promptly afterwards, once a week for over a year now. I regularly declare to my three fellow students that I must be suffering from an undiagnosed brain condition, such is my ability to swiftly forget what I have just learnt.

Today though I have asked for hot water for tea, and I have asked about borrowing an umbrella, and I have made friends with two staff and another guest – in French, actual French. I have learned how to request slow talk for the student; I have connected with the power of vulnerability. People want to help.

It thrills me that when I attempt to communicate, I am actually understood. Maybe learning French will strengthen my small talk game. This introvert is up for that.


18. Bed for six madame?

So we found ourselves at a hotspot called Derrriere for dinner. It’s fair to say, we were reasonably oblivious that it was a hot spot til well after the event. I think that’s the antenna that secret royalty are born with (sort of like a gaydar but for a different kind of appetite).

A quirky home away from home interior, the idea for this family apartment-style venue was to be able to entertain friends “at home” every night.  That’s if you’re okay about them eating in every room of the house. The name comes from its location apparently, right at the back of its two siblings 404 and Andy Wahloo.

Customers may end up  in the lounge, dining room, bedroom or boudoir. We were in one of the ‘bedrooms’  where we had our own little bench seat.  There were half a dozen people sitting on the bed though as two sides were used as seating. A lot of sexy  french laughter as folk were ushered to their ‘bed’ for the evening.

Very entertaining evening and, once again for me, so happy not to have the loudest laugh in the room.  Like going home.

I return from the bathroom to this. Is he trying to kill me?