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Paris in the April-time

It’s been a bit quiet on the blogging front because I spent most of last week in Paris.

We headed there for a conference (Dynamo Labex), which was absolutely amazing in terms of the calibre and range of speakers, but which was so exhausting in terms of content (46 talks in just 3.5 days, plus nearly 100 posters), that we barely had any time to check out the city.
So what follows is mostly a whole bunch of photos of flowers and plants, which I took as we moved from the conference hall to eating places, and back again….

I was fairly lucky to make the trip with two fine fellows from the lab- Gal, featured below looking manly and serious, and Alix- a genuine native Parisienne.

Alix is in fact so very French that she only travels by train (I imagine that this is what they all do), so she rolled in on the Tuesday night and Gal and I rocked up the next morning courtesy of EasyJet.


The conference started at 2pm, so we just had time to help ourselves to a three course lunch before making it to the venue.


The venue itself was the Oceans Institute, which is rather magnificent.


Gal in particular became rather enamored with the other manly men with moustaches and hats working the ship-mural.

The institute is also in a very beautiful part of the city-in/near the Latin quarter (I’m not so sure where these areas end and begin) and we stayed just around the corner.

Some Wisteria. I think Alix described this plant to Gal as ‘The street that the Desperate Housewives lived on’. To me it reminds me of home: we had great masses of the stuff- both this variety and some others- and the perfume bouncing around the air lead to some serious reminiscing.



Alix acting as guide. Gal filled with Wonder once again:


Some Flowers! There was some resistance towards my continual ‘ooh look a flower’-ing from the other two.. but I managed to sneak some time in despite their objections.

Along the way we met up with some Old Friends:
Kamel, Han-Yi…

… my ex-boss!

Plus another Etienne who used to work at my lab, and possibly my favourite Israeli (depending on how mean Gal is being to me)- Oren.

And then it was time for more flowers…













How ‘French’ does this woman look?

On the first night we followed Ralph, Oren, Han-Yi and a group of miscellaneous important people out to find some sushi. While the VIPs ordered normal sized sushi platter, Gal and I went for the piggy-sized share plate. And it came… ON A BOAT

There’s a story here about how I’ve always wanted a Sushi-boat and how Andy has always denied me this delight in my life.
There’s also a story about how Current Boss has some trouble understanding the gleeful-overexcitement that a sushi boat can induce in a 25 year old woman.
But I like to assume that that’s his weirdness, not mine.

I also got gyoza, but then realised that eating them all and half a sushi boat would make me look like an Extreme Pig in front of the boss man.
The unofficial and much more realistic story is that they just weren’t that great as gyoza. So I pawned them off onto someone else. Let them waste valuable stomach space on dumplings- my belly was reserved  for sashimi grade tuna

In the end, despite brave efforts from both Gal and myself, the Sushi Boat defeated us. We had to pass around the remaining. Here is boss-man looking on with lustful eyes at our boat.

Rather embarrassingly, next up is even more photos of foodstuffs, although I should comment that this is from at least 48 hours after The Boat Incident (and in fact there was a meal in between in which Gal and I ate not-great Mexican food and got mild food poisoning).

On our final night in Paris, Alix took us to a ‘Fancy French Restaurant’, and we tucked into three courses. Alix began with the pumpkin soup…

… while Gal and I had some sort of sea urchin and foam plus a vegetable base dish, that was actually much more delicious than it sounds.

Then the other two paired up and both went for a main of crispy duck with curry sauce, which seemed ok but not great…

Alix tried her ‘Amelie + Creme Brulee’ look.

Gal’s look is a bit more ‘that Mexican food is not quite out of my system’

And I, like all Aussies forced to live on a diet of pork and finally escaping from Deutschland- chose the Lamb. Which was clearly the winning ordering.

And for dessert?
Alix went for someting called ‘cocoa stick’ which came with mango..

…. Gal went for some sort of custardy thing, which came with a rather interesting ‘Field Salad’ icecream.


I once again WON at ordering with my ridiculously rich chocolate fudgy thing.


Although the choice of fudgy chocolate didn’t really complement the post-desert ‘supper’- a bowl of what I’m pretty sure was just melted chocolate (with butter?)

We walked home that night, but I don’t think that the distance even nearly made up for the caloric intake.


The conference ended on Saturday night, which gave us half a day to explore before our flight out on Sunday afternoon.

Luckily for me, the exploring included a bypass through a botanical garden.












Our walk took us too a market, and more importantly- to pastries!




This is the facial expression of someone who has just eaten many many pastries, and is feeling pretty happy about that fact:

‘We’ll always have Pari’



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