(Andrew and Jasmine: Usually, one of us writes up a post before the other edits it in the comfort and convenience of our respective homes. Today, however, is a departure from the norm. We’re currently chilling out at Starbucks on a Sunday afternoon, and have decided to write a blog entry in real time, insults and all.)
Andrew: I wasn’t particularly fascinated by Paris when I went there during my studies and I went there twice. Jasmine, however, really loves Paris and has a fascination with all things French. I’d bought her a map of Paris from Polymath and Crust last year and recently, we adjourned on a two-week Je t’aime Francais date series.
Date 1: French art exhibition followed by dinner at a French restaurant
Andrew: Our French romance began with an exhibition at Alliance Francaise de Singapour titled ‘Red Black and White’ with paintings depicting colonial bungalows in Singapore. The pieces were painted by a French artist, whose name we can’t recall and unfortunately, can’t find on Google as well.
Dearie thought the pieces were rather bland and didn’t really stand out stylistically. What struck me about the art pieces was that the artist especially highlighted the lush greenery that surrounded the houses. Even in paintings of the city, the artist emphasised the greenery, conveying an image of Singapore which was unusually ‘green’.
We also uncovered at this exhibition that there was a French film festival going on, which provided us with much more inspiration to plan subsequent French dates. 🙂
After that, we headed down to La Petite Cuisine at Serene Centre, a highly affordable French restaurant which a colleague of mine had recommended. Along the way, we enjoyed some classical French pieces by Debussy, courtesy of my school’s music library (Thanks Aileen!).
Jasmine: I really enjoyed La Petit Cuisine. Ironically, it was the first time I had tried confit du canard (being an exchange student, the only French food I had in France was baguettes for lunch and the very occasional eclair), and it was rather lovely- perfectly crispy skin and very tender slivers of duck, complemented by a delicious potato gratin. Dining al fresco in the restaurant’s garden by sunset proved strangely romantic too, despite the sounds of highway traffic metres away.
Andrew: My chop porkette avec linguine (simply put: pork chop with spaghetti, and yes, we do know that porkette is not French!) was nothing particularly special, but it was filling – and that’s all a man can ask for from a French meal with its conventionally petite portions. (Jasmine: Why do you think the shop is called La Petite Cuisine?)
Dates 2 & 3: French film and french-film inspired roof-top date
We returned to Alliance Francais the week after to watch the film Paris 36.
Andrew: Hey dear, was it a romantic comedy?
Jasmine: Yes, it was.
Andrew: It was a romantic comedy infused with many energetic musical numbers and dance routines. There was a particularly memorable scene where a guy invites a girl… [Jasmine: *Groan* so simplistic…. Let me take over.]
Jasmine: As we were saying, there was a particularly memorable scene where a male character surprised his love interest by bringing her up to the rooftop of the theatre, which boasted a breathtaking panorama of the Parisian skyline, with a sparkling Eiffel Tower in the distance. As in Moulin Rouge, the rooftop scene in French film is often cinematographic shorthand for the pursuit and romance of the female lead, and the stillness and serenity of the rooftop scene in Paris 36 made it especially poignant in contrast to the blur of flashing lights and swirling costumes in other scenes.
Andrew: Yes, Dearie is always better at descriptive writing than me. Heh. Anyway yes, so after watching that movie, I was thinking of where we could go next in Singapore to continue the French-theme. A brilliant idea hit me – I could recreate that scene by bringing Dearie to Somerset 313, one of the few buildings with an accessible roof-top garden overlooking the city.
We made our way to town after Sheer’s baptism service, drove up a spiralling, disorienting carpark and navigated a complicated series of escalators, lifts and flights of staircase to finally make our way to the Somerset 313 rooftop garden.
It was really quite romantic, though not quite like the Paris Skyline. I kept telling Dearie to imagine that Orchard Road was Champs Elysse, the Singtel Tower was the Eiffel Tower and to visualise the Arc du Triomphe in between Wheelock Place and Isetan. I believe I succeeded in recreating the magic of that scene in Paris 36. 🙂
Jasmine: Operative word: imagine.
(It was very sweet though, and I really appreciate how Andrew has been so thoughtful and meticulous in planning our French dates. It’s not something that most guys would do, let alone on a weekly basis.)
Andrew: Le finito!
Jasmine: Are you sure that’s French?