CARROUSEL FRANÇAIS

Who doesn’t love a good wine bar? Personally, my tawdry love affair with wine has been well documented throughout the years and, despite numerous interventions, I continue to enjoy sipping this refreshing beverage in stylish environs.

So, you can imagine my delight, when one of my dear friends decided to open such a place. Not your traditional bar, the centrally located Carrousel Français employs a most marvellous concept, where a wide selection of cheese, charcuterie and desserts just coasts by your table waiting for you to snatch up whatever takes your fancy. A most civilised means of service, indeed.

The ambiance is charming, the wine is very, very drinkable and the food is absolutely delicious…especially the rosette à la truffe! The only danger is that you’ll be tempted to overindulge in pretty much everything really, leaving you to waddle home in shame. Trust me, I’ve learned from experience, although self-control has admittedly never been one of my virtues.

Poolside Tyranny!

Fuck the French are annoying!

What should’ve been a fun adventure – our five-month-old’s first time in a pool – was spoiled through what can only be described as a ridiculous adherence to regulation. Just as we were about to enter the paddling pool for infants, an over-zealous employee of the Palais des Sport accosted us and forbade me from entering the pool, due to my inappropriate swimming attire.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, dear reader. ‘Oh, Jimi. What scandalously skimpy swimwear were you about to traumatise the children with?’ Well, that was far from the case let me tell you.

The problem was that my swimmers were not revealing enough. I kid you not. Instead of Speedos, I was wearing rather short swimming trunks, which weren’t skin-tight but could in no way could be considered baggy board shorts – the French have real issue with them for some reason.  Then she demanded I change before entering the water. I know the French are fashion conscious but this was really a tad overboard. What made matters all the more confusing, was that I’ve found that the French tend to err on the side of prudishness in regards to the public exposure of one’s body.

WHO’S YOUR DADDY?

Hey Kids,

It’s official – I’m a Daddy…and not just to young, impressionable twinks.

I’m coming up on two weeks of fatherhood and very happy to admit that I’m still bumbling about in a state of awe and shock. Not to mention the fear that creeps in whenever our pint-size man stops moving in his sleep and second guessing myself about absolutely everything, which I’m assured by more experienced parents will probably pass in thirty years or so.

It would be fair to say that Nathaniel Yves Peter Dhalluin-Goninan – the excessively long name is a French tradition – has me well and truly wrapped around his adorable petite fingers. Indeed, my whole world has quickly come to completely revolve around the needs and wants of this wonderful little bundle of joy. Thankfully, we have a handy app that tells us at a glance how long it’s been since we cleaned and fed him without having to calculate with our sleep deprived brains. Actually, on that point it hasn’t been too bad at all, with my beloved and I taking turns with both baby care and having naps throughout the day so that we aren’t complete zombies. This will, however, be tested when Antoine goes back to work in a few weeks and full daytime care falls to me.

Vive La Manif…

I’ve often talked about the strong influence of French culture over my delicate Australian sensibilities – usually in regards to my newfound love of wine and coffee – but today I’d like to address my Parisian politicisation.

Not that I wasn’t interested in social causes in my previous beachside life in Sydney, but I had never felt the need to attend demonstrations or vaguely protest against anything – excluding that one rally in high school, but that was more to get out of class then anything else…in fact I have no memory of what it was even for. I didn’t even really discuss politics with my peers, outside of the week or so before an election, preferring to stick to the topics that really mattered – the merits of the latest Kylie album, for instance.

Then I moved here and my slow indoctrination began. It started subtly enough with rather intense, passionate discussions over the dinner table with friends…on some occasions I feared that there may be bloodshed before desert. Of course, it was all in French and at the time I understood practically nothing but the fervour and spirited sense of debate soon became ingrained within me.

Open Wide…

I’ve been living in gay Paris for nigh on seven years now and while I have somewhat assimilated into the French culture – my rampant wine and coffee consumption being the prime examples – there are still some things that continue to baffle me. The list is long but I thought I’d start off today with one of the most odd – well in my opinion at any rate – and that would be the French obsession with suppositories.

Don’t get me wrong; I think the French health care system is one of the best in the world and it’s hardly as if I’m opposed to such a treatment. Personally, I’m rather open to the prospect of a handsome doctor administering such a course of treatment…repeatedly and preferably for as long as possible. It just seems a little peculiar that it is the more preferred option for the natives. Indeed, I’ve encountered quite a few Frenchmen that excel in, and are rather enthusiastic about, both the giving and receiving of this technique.

In all seriousness, I do understand the science behind it and realise that medication tends to be absorbed far quicker via this method. It makes even more sense in cases of illness where one might not be able to keep medications down due to nausea.

La culture c’est comme la Vegemite, moins on en a plus on l’étale…

L’œuvre de toute ma vie étant d’améliorer les relations franco-australienne, à mon corps défendant, je me dois d’éduquer et d’informer mes concitoyens d’adoption – namely you my loyal readers – sur leurs lointains cousins vivant la tête en bas sur une terre baignée de rayons.

Certes, on a pu dire que l’Australie ressemblait à un « cultural wasteland » – enfin mon mari le rappelle à chaque occasion. Et je suis le premier à admettre que l’Europe domine définitivement l’expression traditionnelle de la culture, avec entre autres une enfilade apparemment sans fin de galeries et de musées au travers l’Hexagone. Mais je me dois de contrer cette assertion selon laquelle l’Australie n’a aucune culture. Celle-ci est plutôt riche et dynamique, plus proche des gens… en fait plus proche des Américains.