Metro, work, sleep. Repeat.
Two weeks of my internship and I’ve already fallen into a routine which rarely allows me to lie in, even at the weekend. I work Mondays and Tuesdays 10am-7pm and the rest of the week 9am-6pm. My commute isn’t long at all; exactly 20 minutes from my front door to the office, with five metro stops in between.
Full-time work is exhausting. I think it’s mostly to do with the fact that I still feel like a bit of a newbie, as I’m trying to learn the ins and outs of an unfamiliar office and fathom an entirely new job role while also trying to keep up with what my French colleagues are saying. It might also have something to do with the fact that for the past two years I’ve had a University timetable with a maximum of 14 contact hours per week, so 40 is understandably a bit of a shock to the system…
The work itself involves a lot of proofreading and re-formatting of documents such as birth certificates and business contracts, as well as answering the phone, sending emails and greeting clients at the door. As interns we are also responsible for taking documents to be legalised at places such as the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie, the Palais de Justice and the Consulat de Chine. Getting paid to see some of the sights of Paris while pretending that I’m an M.I. High spy is a great way to escape the office.
Some of my evenings have been spent trying to make a dent in the enormous amount of paperwork involved in a year abroad and a work placement, but – don’t worry – the rest of my evenings have been much more interesting. Last week my flatmates Lucy and Jake both had friends visiting and one evening we all went out for dinner at Bouillon Chartier, a cool restaurant where the waiters write your order on the tablecloth and the steak only costs 11,50€ !
Earlier this week we took tea, cookies and blankets onto the Pont des Arts to watch the sun set over the Seine and then the Eiffel Tower sparkle on the hour. This weekend we went for an expensive but delicious brunch at Paperboy, which involved lots of avocado, salmon and freshly squeezed fruit juice. We also visited the Banque de France, which was open to the public as part of ‘Les Portes Ouvertes’, and explored the Galerie Vivienne on the hunt for cheap French literature.
Five more days of metro, boulot, dodo before I get to break the routine and travel home to celebrate my 21st birthday! I will also need to bring jumpers, coats and scarves back to Paris with me – September is much colder than I had prepared for…