It had been almost a year since I was last in the UK. When I finally did last month, I found myself experiencing a strange reverse culture shock. I was completely bewildered during the first few days upon arriving at St Pancras station. The traffic was coming from the wrong direction, I was hearing English being spoken everywhere. One particular moment, waiting for the train and hearing the announcement being made in English, completely startled me.
However, after a couple of days, I started to realise that there is a freedom in London that is liberating. I don't feel any of that social pressure to conform. You're able to be who you want to be, express who you are... And it's hugely relaxing.
Paris is rigid, challenging. I get told off by my concierge for leaving the building without a scarf. Nothing is straightforward - even something that you naively think should be fairly simple - but yet it's here that I've chosen to call home for the last three years. I don't feel like I fit in in Paris, and yet the last year or so has made me lose all trace of any affinity with London.
There's a line from George Orwell which has been stuck in my head. Describing a man who splits his time between London and Paris, during his six months in France, he becomes an "Englishman who drinks four litres of wine a day, and six on Saturdays."
As I'm writing this, I'm sitting on the Eurostar coming back over to the UK for Christmas. I'm surrounded by the upper crust of English society, the ones for whom mummy or daddy made a phone call to get them an internship in an office overlooking the Seine. (I know this because I overheard the whole story at length.) By contrast, I feel jaded. Older than my tender years would have you believe. I've been quieter on this blog recently, not because I haven't been going out, but because nothing is exciting me in quite the way it used to.
There are moments when I'm desperate to be back in Paris. Openings like such of the Resturant Dessance is just one of them.
Here I am sitting in a Starbucks near Victoria Station in London and I'm positively salivating!
Imagine - a restaurant specialised, from the first dish to the very last, in desserts. Yes, you read that correctly. Paris' first dessert-only restaurant. The whole meal is based around innovative and imaginative desserts, and they're paired with superlative wines, whiskies and other spirits.
74 rue des Archives, 75003
Open from 3pm until 11pm Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and from midday to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations are strongly encouraged. 01 42 77 23 62.
You come to indulge, but you only come if you have a serious sweet tooth!