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Nicola Fisher


Why living in Paris was one of my most memorable years

I lived in Paris from 1984-1985 and studied at the Sorbonne. I lived in an apartment in the 5ème arrondissement as an au pair for a family of three children in exchange for my board and lodging.

    1. Quirky street entertainment

    Back then there was a trend for puppets. The puppeteer would play music, usually classical, and his puppet, usually a musician, would appear to play along. I remember one guy who was head and shoulders above the rest.

    2. Shakespeare & Co

    I spent a lot of time in this iconic bookstore.

    3. Notre Dame

    I'd often go and sit in Notre Dame in between classes and just enjoy the peace and quiet.

    4. Bill Murray

    Bill Murray was in town. Ghostbusters had just come out (I saw it first in Paris with French subtitles) and Bill had filmed The Razor's Edge. I bumped into him several times.

    5. Walking

    I used to walk across Paris a lot. I'd always discover something new.

    6. Stationery

    I still love the French notebooks. I used to stock up in Gibert Jeune.

    7. Speaking French

    Being able to speak French all day long was a dream come true. I didn't want to speak any English, just immerse myself in speaking, watching films, listening to the radio, talking to people, reading.

    8. Being a local

    Living in Paris was very different to being a tourist. It felt different and I saw Paris from another perspective. I enjoyed doing every day things like shopping, going to the bakery, sending letters, getting my hair cut, going to the cinema, having a favourite cafe.

    9. Being a tour guide

    When my parents came to visit, and I had classes, I gave them an itinerary around Paris. Later, I made a booklet for friends who wanted to go to Paris. It was great to be able to share my local knowledge and enable people to visit some of the cool places.

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