May 30, 2011

Zoo de Lille

One of the perks of living in the big city, near the old part of town, in my awesome studio, is that I live near Lille’s big park, l’Esplanade. And while it’s always nice to live near a park for obvious park-y reasons (picnics, long strolls, etc), l’Esplanade is so much more than a normal park.

This is because Le Zoo de Lille is found within l’Esplanade.

The zoo's map.

A zoo in and of itself is pretty cool, but Le Zoo de Lille is even cooler because it is gratuit. That means free.

As soon as the weather started showing even smallest amount of sunshine, I started walking to the zoo and staring at the animals. I’ve been at least 5 times since the beginning of April.

Although it is small, the zoo totally surpassed my expectations. Since it was free I thought it would be teeny tiny with simply birds and reptiles.

But the Zoo de Lille houses not only birds and reptiles, but also zebras, monkeys, giant tortoises, meerkats, lemurs… and the list doesn’t end there!

It’s also a great way to spend one of France’s lazy Sundays, as despite everything else shutting down, the zoo remains open.

Lamas make me think of the Emperor's New Groove.

Jack Rabbits EDIT: This is not a Jack Rabbit. This is a Mara (thank you wikipedia!).
Jack Rabbits Maras are pretty much the strangest animals to me. Not only do they have deer legs and bunny bodies, but they constantly look like they are going to fall down while walking. Plus, this one is giving me the evil eye.

Upon discovering the Meerkats I giddily exclaimed, "it's like Meerkat Manor!" to FBF. Apparently this great television show has yet to be broadcasted to French audiences. After explaining to him breifly what it was, I started doing the narration for our very own Meerkats, imagining all sorts of drama.

Check it out:
Le Zoo de Lille
Parc Zoologique de Lille
Avenue Mathias Delobel
59000 Lille

Free entry, open to the public.
Summer hours (end of March until the end of October):
Weekday: 9h-18h
Weekend and Holidays: 9h-19h
Winter hours (end of October until the end of March):

May 25, 2011


When discussing Valentine’s Day presents, FBF admitted he wasn’t sure what to get me.

J’ai pensé des boucles d’oreilles, mais tu as déjà trente-six paires.” (I thought about getting you earrings, but you already have 36 pairs.)

My first thought was, “you counted my earrings?”

Followed swiftly by, “wait… I do not have that many pairs of earrings with me in France.”

He had already moved on from the number of earrings I owned when I interrupted him.

Quoi trente-six?” (what do you mean 36?) I asked him. “Je n’ai pas trente-six paires des boucles d’oreilles” (I don’t have 36 pairs of earrings).

It turns out he did not mean the number literally. In France, when one wants to say a really, ridiculously large number, one simply says thirty-six.


FBF further explained that the amount of zeros following the 36 is proportional to the likelihood of a truth. He said trente-six pairs of earrings because in reality I have about 10.

But if we’re talking about something that is already in the thousands, one should say 36,000. Trente-six mille.

Which is what explains the DARTY adds.

May 22, 2011

Le Twitter

If this blog isn’t filling your Everyday Life of a Young American Girl in France cravings, have I got good news for you!

I have officially joined twitter as LauraLaLilloise.

Get ready for a whole bunch of cui cui-ing (tweet tweet-ing) from yours truly.

Suivez-moi mes chèrs oiseaux!
(Follow me my dear birds)

May 19, 2011

Ma Meilleure Journée

Ever wonder how I found my fabulous studio apartment in Lille?

Wait no longer!

Lindsey over at Greetings From The American Girl asked me to describe my meilleure journée (best day), or, as she sees it, an Ah-ha moment, while living in France.

I told the tale of finding my new digs.

Where I Live (Please don't stalk me).

Discover the entire adventure on my guest post over at Greetings From The American Girl.

May 18, 2011

Lille Olympique Sporting Club

Saturday night was the big game. Le LOSC (Lille Olympique Sporting Club – Lille’s football team) played PSG (Paris Saint Germain) for the Coup de France.

FBF and I met up with a group of friends at a bar that had a projector and giant screen in order to watch le match.

The game remained zero - zero until the last minute, when, finally, Lille scored! Suddenly everybody was jumping up and down, shouting, and spilling beer.

Lille won the game, one to zero, and as soon as the game was over, everybody took to the streets to celebrate.

Just after le match, right outside our bar, people were singing, cars were honking, and everybody was celebrating.

After celebrating in front of our bar, we decided to head over to La Grande Place. Everywhere we walked, we encountered our fellow Lillois waving le LOSC flags, singing victory songs, and cheering.

At La Grande Place.

We walked in a giant circle, ending up where we had started. Cars were trying to pass, but finding it a rather difficult task with all the pedestrians in the street.

Suddenly, there was a police car in front of us. They weren't as patient as their fellow drivers, and within a minute of being blocked in the street, rolled down their window and stuck a weird black object out of it.

Suddenly FBF grabbed my hand and started pulling me away. Seconds later, wet mousse shot out of the police car.

Immediately my nose started to burn and I started coughing. We had been sprayed with anti-riot chemicals.

After that, we all parted ways back to our respective houses. But even being attacked by the police couldn't dampen the spirit of the city after our victory. I continued to hear cars honking and people cheering into the wee hours of the morning.

Allez Lille O.S.C.
Allez Lillois, allez!

May 9, 2011

Top Dix (partie deux)

Check out partie une to read all Top Ten Moments with the 'rents!

Top Ten:
My Parents in Europe

5. My dad really wanted to explore Paris while riding a boat along the Seine. We forked over the big bucks to take the Batobus (14euros/person), which allows you to hop-on and hop-off at several different stops along the Seine, taking about 15 minutes between stops.

Based on the rest of the things we wanted to do that day, my mom announced we should get off the boat at the first stop! We had paid 14 euros to ride a boat for 15 minutes. A boat ride that had gone a distance that we could have easily managed on foot.

View from the batobus.

We ended up deciding to ride the boat all the way around instead.

4. After spending the day seeing the sights in Brussels, my parents and I went back to La Grande Place to enjoy the traditional Brussel's apperitif: beer, cheese, and cornichons (sort of like pickles, but completely different taste-wise).

After discussing what we did during the day, my mother admitted to liking Bruges more than Brussels, but was glad we went and explored other areas of the city because, her thoughts upon seeing La Grande Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was, and I quote, “This is it?”

A couple of buildings from La Grande Place... clearly nothing to write home about.

3. I took my parents to Le Ch’ti Bello for lunch, and since they had heard me talk about it countless times, they wanted to commemorate the moment in photos. My dad stood up to get a picture of my mom and I. Afterwards, I told my dad to go back and I’d take a picture of him and my mom.

Somehow, he interpreted this to mean, “Please go to in the other room, stand in between tables full of people, and pose in front of the fireplace.”

2. One night while out to dinner in Paris, my father ordered a hamburger. As it was a restaurant, the burger was too big to stand up on its own, and came with a gigantic toothpick in the middle.

After everyone had finished eating, and we were working on finishing our bottle of wine, my father thought it would be a good idea to put his toothpick to use. He started banging it upon the various different types of glassware that were on our table.

Said toothpick and glassware.

1. Trying to do as the Parisians do, around 17h30 we went out for an apperitif. My mother and I shared a 50cl of the house white wine, and my dad got a beer. After we were finished, it was still to early to eat dinner, so we walked a while, found a second bar, and got drinks. My mother and I shared another 50cl, and my father got a second beer.

Then, without telling us, my dad ordered everyone a second round. After that, we went in search of dinner, where we decided to share a bottle of red wine. But that wasn’t enough alcohol, so we ordered a 50cl of the same red wine to finish off our meal.

I won’t be evil and make you do math. I drank 116.7cl of wine in one night with my parents. A bottle of wine is only 75cl.

Needless to say, I got very drunk with my parents and was pretty hung over the next day when we visited Notre Dame Cathedral.


Despite many embarrassing moments, laughing and traveling with my parents was a much needed dose of family and America in this land of frogs.

May 7, 2011

Top Dix (partie une)

Over my mother’s Spring Break (or should I say the Spring Break of everyone in the United States?) my parents came to visit me. Our favorite guidebooks are the Eye Witness Top Ten Travel Guides. This is probably because they are full of pretty pictures.

In honor of these great guides (we’ve used Top Ten Paris, Top Ten Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, & Gent, Top Ten Los Angeles, and Top Ten Andalucía & Costa Del Sol), I present to you:

Top Ten:
My Parents In Europe

10. FBF’s family were kind enough to invite us over for dinner one of the nights we were in Lille. This was stressful for everyone, as it was the first time the families were meeting one another. After quick introductions, FBF’s sister asked my mom if she had ever been to Lille before. My mother responded with a lightening fast and self-assured, “No.”

The problem? This was actually her second trip to Lille! They had come to visit me over Christmas last year.

9. My parents were nice enough to take me shopping. We went to Etam, where I decided to try on a dress. I exited the changing room to get my parents opinion, and my dad started applauding.

8. On their first day in France, tired and jet lagged, I took them to the restaurant that sells the best moules frites (mussels and French fries, a specialty of le Nord) in all of Lille (or so they say). We were seated at a booth, and after finishing her lunch, my mom asked my dad if he could let her out.

By this time, my dad had started futzing with the Blackberry the office had given him, and wasn’t paying very much attention. He stood up, took a step backwards, and then immediately fell down four stairs to the level below.

He wasn’t hurt, but he did manage to topple over a table and several chairs making a horrifying racket.

7. After drinking an aperitif (or three or four) at a couple of bistros, we were sitting down to a pizza dinner at a café with sidewalk tables. Everything was going all right, until a none-the-wiser Parisian appeared, taking her adorable pug for a walk.

This resulted in my father yelling across the street, saying, in English, “we have a pug too!!!”

My dog Buester, aka the reason for my Dad's outburst.

6. Upon their arrival to Lille, I had told my parents to follow the signs for the Metro, and to meet me by the information booth across from the Metro and Platform B. I was standing directly in the pathway from their train and the metro, but after fifteen minutes of still no sign of them, I finally called them to see what the problem was.

I asked my mom where she and my father were. “We’re next to the _______ building. Do you know where that is?” she asked me.

“The what building? No I have no idea…… WAIT ARE YOU OUTSIDE?”

Although the metro signs never once indicated to leave the train station, my parents had somehow wound up outside and on a very busy street. Luckily, once I realized that they had exited the building, I found them in no time.

--please check out partie deux!--
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