‘At Ninette’s, you always eat well’.
If you’ve followed me on Twitter, even for about one millionth of a second, you’ll know that I’m currently doing a year abroad in Paris, living with my adorable grandparents. I say adorable; again, if you’ve followed me, you’ll know I complain about them approximately 47 times a day, but it’s all in good spirits.
In honour of this I thought I’d dedicate my first – and introductory – post to them, Paris and the Law.
First off I won’t be including their names, or any pictures, because my nan thinks we’re all “being watched” (she once nearly had a heart attack when I told her I let a Chinese girl at Uni put her memory stick in my computer. “But Charlotte?! She will steal your data?!!!” … There just isn’t enough room for appropriate comments). But my grandparents have always been my backbone. I was born in Birmingham, and up until now lived there all my life with my mum and sister. Unfortunately my parents had a rather nasty split before I was born, and my paternal side would have been all but a fiction if my grandparents hadn’t made every effort to ensure that they stayed in my life from day one. Long story short (this isn’t X Factor), I’ve spent more or less every school holiday, time off of uni and long weekend at their residences in France. When it came to my year abroad, they were generous enough to let me live with them in Versailles, where my granddad became my paralegal and my grandmother became my maid, cook, and probably the bane of my life. My granddad is, according to one of my best friends, the ‘best thing to come out of Limoges since porcelain’. He’s incomprehensibly clever, a sort of walking encyclopaedia. He’s also completely dysfunctional without my nan. Whilst she may not have a degree, she’d give you the best advice on anything you want to know. Her nickname is Ninette, and that phrase about eating well is one we coined a while ago to illustrate the fictional 5* restaurant in our house – her kitchen. As all good grandmothers are, she’s the best cook around (I dare anyone to tell me otherwise).
As for Paris – it’s not all glamourous. In fact, very little of it is. It stinks of piss, there are SDFs (sans domicile fixe – without a fixed abode) on every street corner, outside every shop and huddled in every alcove, ready to pry on unzipped bags and naive tourists. It’s not a pretty site. I’ve seen whole Romanian families arrested on the underground, the children bewildered, obviously unaware that they should be in school. I’m sorry to report that you get used to seeing the sheer depravity after a while.
Don’t get me wrong, the city is famous for a reason; there are clearly some lovely sites to see, especially if you’re as much of a history weirdo as me. But just be aware that (although this probably goes for most major cities) there’s a side that is hidden from the tour books. If you’re coming to Paris and would like some pointers on what’s worth visiting, hit me up and I’ll be happy to help insofar as possible.
On to the law… Or more specifically, my time here at Panthéon-Assas. It’s the top law school in Paris, and I think in Europe. Now let me just say one thing. It. Fucking. Isn’t. The teaching staff all have their own 500-page works of art, wikipedia pages, and sovereign rings (unlike the outskirts of Birmingham, a sovereign ring in Paris is a sign of considerable wealth, and is usually passed down through generations). But aside from that – and this is something I’ve learnt is a common factor through French public organisms – the administration is enough to make a grown man cry. I certainly know what I pay Tuition fees for at home, and after going through the awful organisation here, I’ll be happy to return to a pricy admin in September.
I’m here because I’d LIKE to be a solicitor, preferably corporate, preferably magic circle, preferably M & A, but then I’d also like about six pairs out of the Jimmy Choo S/S14 collection. What’s that thing they say in France… Que sera, sera? Hm.
There’s my brief intro – I’m sorry if it was excruciatingly boring, but I thought it was best to put one in. From here on out I intend to be blogging and blawging about current affairs, Things That Piss Me Off, Things That Didn’t Piss Me Off Quite As Much, probably my nan, very definitely shoes, love, friendship, homesickness and maybe about some coffee.