little surprises.

The week following our wedding, Aurél and I were graciously invited to experience a new trend that is popping up here in Paris: intimate dinner parties in the company of other like-minded enthusiasts who want to meet new people in an authentic Parisian home. Hosted by Voulez-Vous Diner, we had several choices of dinners to choose from, but the one that stood out the most was the Diner Concert A Opera. In a Haussmann style apartment located mere metro stops away from the famous Opéra district, before the creative three-course dinner commenced, we were greeted with a champagne apéro supplemented by a live piano concert. At the risk of sounding totally cheesy, sometimes I have to pinch myself from the amazing experiences I am exposed to here. 

Along with Melissa, author of Prête-Moi Paris who also happened to be a guest, I hit it off with the evening's host, chef and pianist Sasha. After our post-vodka promise to meet up for a drink, we decided to finally honor it yesterday on a semi-warm summer afternoon in Paris.

Meeting at one of my favorite dives in the 10th arrondissement, Les Animals, I broke my 2013 pledge of staying dry during the week and indulged in a glass of white wine on this lovely afternoon. Sitting alone at the bar, something that is not exactly seen as lady-like here in Paris, but brings the price down by almost a euro, (hey, call me cheap) I read the same line in my book over and over as I anxiously waited.

Moments later, Sasha arrived looking effortlessly Parisian in a red leather jacket (again, hurray for summer in Paris) with chic messy bed-head that only French girls seem to be able to pull off. When I try to go for this look, I really do look like a rolled out of bed where a cat slept tangled in my hair. Following my lead, Sasha ordered herself a glass of white. Would I sound like an alcoholic if I admit to fearing that she was just going to order a teeny-tiny coffee while I gulped down booze? Hm, maybe.

Like actual dates, girl dates are no different and can be hit-or-miss. Being at a dinner party or reading someone's blog is completely different than actually sitting down with someone one-on-one, and you're never really sure how it will go. With great pleasure, our date was just as natural as our first meeting. At one point during our chat, I had voiced that since living in Paris the only dancing I've really done is aerobics in my living room, or when that extra bottle of wine is opened at a dinner party inciting an impromptu dance party. I don't know of many night clubs, or rather, good night clubs here in town. It's not that they don't exist, I just don't know of them. 

For some reason, my rant interested the two gentlemen sitting next to us drinking; one sipping on a coffee and the other having the popular afternoon mocktail that looks like Christmas in a glass. The man drinking the dark green mint water asked me what kind of music I liked, but before I could answer he hopped off his stool and asked if I liked merengue, which he then followed up with merengue style dancing. Merengue was then followed by the cha cha, the lambada, salsa, and finally zumba, all accompanied by a sample of the dance style. 

I actually have gone salsa dancing once here in Paris with my former roommate Charles-Henri, and made a total ass out of myself, like a total J.Lo wannabe. It wasn't one of my favorite nights in Paris, so no, I was not looking to replicate this embarrassment. I said I was just looking for a place to dance, thinking more pop/dance music, nothing too specialized. He then asked if I liked rap. Well sure I do, I like rap quite a bit. He seemed almost surprised by this and then made a reference to what I assume was a rap artist or song. By then Sasha had jumped in to tell him that I wouldn't catch the obscure mention because I am American. More surprised than my appreciation for hip hop was now my origins as he thought I was Spanish, like fresh out of Spain. Now the sampler platter of Latin dancing made sense.

Wanting to soak up as much time with Sasha, as having to head to work was slowly creeping up on me, we politely disengaged from our conversation with our dancing king and moved on to way more vital and pressing issues like shopping. Before our new friends left, they gave us a final goodbye, and we wished them a lovely afternoon. It's rare here in Paris that conversation would flow so freely between strangers at a coffee shop bar. I actually have only seen this kind of openness out in Los Angeles where it would seem almost everyone has a few minutes to chat.

Before we wrapped up our girl date and me heading to the lair of screaming French children, we had asked for our bill. The servers had told us that the gentleman, the man with the mint had taken care of our bill. 

Okay, so when does that ever happen? Wow, was all I could muster up in regard to this random act of kindness. It was so unexpected and appreciated, and I made a mental note to pay it forward in the near future. The server interrupted our state of awe, and made herself more clear and informed us that the man who we were talking with and who had treated us to afternoon wine was Joey Starr. Joey Starr as in the famous French rapper from the group NTM turned movie star, who is top billing in a film being promoted this month with Gérard Depardieu. Wait, what? Now when does that ever happen?

Just when I think I've seen it all here in Paris, there's always a new adventure to be had. This town never ceases to surpise me. Summer may be chilly but so far it has been the best one I have had here yet. Now I just need my vacation to start...five more days...

Bon week-end à tous!

If you're in, or planning to visit Paris, it really is something to check out. While I can't guarantee a Joey Starr or French celebrity citing, but an authentically Parisian evening with excellent company? Sasha has got you covered! 

Read more about Sasha's fabulous Parisian dinner parties she hosts with Voulez Vous Diner here at Prête-Moi Paris or here on Love in the City of Lights. Bon app!


  1. Joey Starr bought you a drink?! Are you kidding me?!!

    1. It was SO random and super cool! When does that ever happen? I have seen his face in ads on the metro many times but never thought to assume that he was the guy dancing and chatting with us! Sometimes you just never know!

  2. I thought you were starting your vacation today like me? Ohhhhhh I can't wait! Another 2500 words to translate and I'm freeeeeeeeeeee! (Yup... free to work on my thesis all summer!;)))) Oh well:) But this little piggy is going to NYC on Tuesday, so no complaints here:) Here's hoping the weather will be nicer than in Ottawa today (raining cats and dogs!).

    Have a great weekend!:)

    Bisous xoxoxo

    1. Thank you! Nope, I have one more week.

      I hope you had a lovely weekend and thank you so much for your awesome emails. You had me laughing..and also thanks for shedding light on the situation. I feel better. : )

  3. I have no idea who that is, but cool!

    1. He's a rapper turned movie star. As SL said below, he's the ODB of France. Hahaha, so funny and random!

      He was in the band NTM in the 80s which was like the NWA of France. Google what NTM stands for. ; )

      Hi Gwan!

    2. I guessed before I got that far in the Wikipedia article. +1 French ghetto slang point for me :)

  4. What?! That's crazy! Here I was reading along thinking to myself, "how come no guys ever come up to me and do the merengue or the cha cha" and then you drop the Joey Starr bombshell. Only you Lisa! Only you!
    And Gregory has just informed me that Joey Starr is like the French Old Dirty Bastard. I'm not too sure what to do with that information, but there you go.

    1. Thank you both for making the reference. I was struggling to find one because he's not the Jay-Z, Eminem or even the Snoop of France. So I think ODB is perfect! Very helpful, guys. Thanks!

      It really was crazy! Aurel was like WHAT? HOW? HUH? Can we go to that bar?

  5. Oh you are just teasing us now with that headline!!!

    Enjoyed the post.

    Love Denise

    1. Oh no, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. I actually had a hard time finding a title because there is so much info in the post and thought the central theme was surprises. Surprised to make new friends, surprised to have a French rapper by me a drink...

      I should change the title to "The Day a French Rapper Bought Me a Drink..." : )!

      I hope you had a nice weekend Denise!

  6. Didn't know who he was so i Googled it. Saw that he has a huge net worth lol.

    You're a cool person magnet :) :).You always bounce into cool people

    See what happens when you entertain randoms, it sometimes pays off and other times it doesn't. Probably end up with a psychopathic, filthy, a-hole but this wasn't the case and for that we say "Thank you- non-psychopathic Joey"

    Will definitely check out Sasha's dinner party when i come to Paris in December, sounds Parisian. ;)

    1. Yeah, he is not at all famous in the States but is pretty famous here. Well he's a movie star now...

      Awww, a cool person magnet! Thanks...I'm also a crazy person magnet if you have read some of the back posts.. ; )

      You'll be in Paris in December? Wow! Good for you! DEFINITELY check out her dinner's a good way to get a taste of local life.

      Thanks for commenting Mademoiselle "Kitty" Petit! ; )

  7. Okay, never heard of him (and obviously the Provencal aren't fans in the wee village I was in) but very cool! You get random people talking to you all the time in Glasgow, but never anyone famous...

  8. I have no idea who Joey Starr is but he is CUTE! and he bought you a drink! Lucky duck

    Also I love girl dates - I don't know how I would have made friends in a new city otherwise