|Parisians have been going to the sales|
Well, a belated Happy New Year to you all!
Last time I blogged Paris was shivering in extremely cold December weather. The snow had forced Eurostar to drop the "high-speed" from its high-speed rail, thus the journey from Paris to London was painfully slow. Add to that "frozen doors" at the deserted Ebbsfleet International and I very nearly missed the last train back from London home.
I had spent nearly three months away from Blighty, easily a personal record. It took a day or two for the habit of speaking French to wear off. My sleeping patterns were happily disrupted by the Ashes. Christmas and New Year were lovely and quiet and I also turned twenty-one.
Before I knew it I was back on the Eurostar opposite a screaming toddler and two embarrassed parents on the way to Gare du Nord. I knew I was back when I heard the annoying "dah, dah-dah dah daah" of the SNCF tannoy system.
So what's new, you may ask?
For a start, it's warmer. We've been blessed with sunny and warm-ish weather these last few days, and Parisians have been taking advantage of this to browse the sales.
There have been changes on the political scene. President Ben Ali of Tunisia resigned and fled the country he had ruled repressively for twenty-three years. There have been demonstrations in Paris and around France in support of the uprisings in the North African country.
Jean-Marie Le Pen has also called it a day after decades of being at the heart of far-right politics in France. He hands over control of the Front National to his telegenic daughter Marine. The high point of Jean-Marie's career was shocking France in 2002 by bringing his unpleasant politics into the second round of the French presidential election. Marine has her sights set on disappointed Sarkozy supporters in the 2012 presidential election, and Le Monde reported that one in five French people have a positive opinion of her.
Well, a reflective blog post to start 2011. Apparently 'tis the season for introspection - today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. I hope you cope all right. A plus.