As if one festival wasn’t enough, just a week after BBK Live I found myself in Paris for Lollapalooza: a two day knees-up with a strikingly similar lineup to the one that I’d seen less than seven days earlier.
In fairness this festival was booked a good few months before BBK and promised to be a different proposition altogether. For a start, there would be no camping here which was a pleasant change from the previous week as we’d have all the luxury of an Ibis Budget hotel in the Porte D’Orleans area of the city. Basic but it did the job; have you seen the prices of hotels in Paris on a weekend, by the way?
I met my mate James (who you may remember from Thailand, Vietnam and China!) in Charles de Galle airport on time rather remarkably, as he was coming from Manchester and I was flying from Bilbao which is notorious for delayed departures.
An hour-long train journey to the hotel was seemed to fly by as we must have spent a good 20 minutes of it giggling like children at a man’s sunglasses on the train. For context, they weren’t too dissimilar to the ones James Brown is sporting in the video below.
The order of the day was very much just to catch up over a few beers and save ourselves for the festival the next day. We followed this plan to a tee and headed to the Montparnasse district just down the road. Despite plans for a quiet night we still ended up spending a fair wedge on beers, as a pint was setting us back a cool €8 on average. When in Paris, and all that.
Speaking of which, dinnertime was soon upon us and as per usual I decided to sample a local delicacy. James, having been present for (and is probably still recovering from) the infamous Beijing incident couldn’t hide his horror as I went for the steak tartare as opposed to, you know, an actual cooked steak.
As is often the case I found myself saying how it really wasn’t as bad as it looked but he couldn’t be swayed. I do maintain that it was good, although I’m not sure you can beat a cooked steak. It was particularly onion-y and garlic-y, which I can’t help thinking is quite a good tactic for masking what you’re actually serving.
Having recently re-watched a number of Mr Bean episodes at work (it’s a tough life) I was immediately reminded of the episode where he orders the steak tartare in a fancy restaurant without actually knowing what it is. I couldn’t resist the temptation to re-enact one of his attempts to get rid of it in weird places!
A few more beers followed, firstly near Pernety station where we spent a good few hours people-watching and giggling incessantly at the most tenuous of things. We rounded the night off with a nightcap at a bar near our hotel; now we’d already established by this point there was no such thing as a cheap beer in Paris, but I’m sure you’ll agree looking at the bill that we were well and truly had with this one!
We decided to call it a night around midnight – probably a good idea with a big couple of days on the horizon. You may be shocked that we had what was essentially a free day in Paris and didn’t choose to see any of the sights, although if you know James and I personally this may not come as much of a surprise!
Besides, we did take in some rather fetching street art on the walk home.
Next up: a post where I’ll actually talk about the festival!