We all know that travelling is a great way to expand one's horizons. I cannot agree more.
The year was 1999, I had yet to be out of University for a full year when I changed job. My new job took me back to Paris, France. There, I returned to meet friends at the now-defunct Club Loisir Dauphine (CLD) where I integrated myself the best way I knew how: BY GAMING! I was lucky enough to be in a field where I could get paid to see the world. And I took that opportunity and rolled with it. In fact, one could say that I still do it to this day.
In those days, I would run a lot of World of Darkness and I ran a game of Vampire set during the days of the French Revolution. What better place to play in history in the city where everything happened? This closeness to the places where the events I read about took place really had me do a lot of on-the-spot research.
If you follow this blog, you already know that it was during that time that I attended my first convention, in the beautiful city of Amiens. (You can read all about it in this post from April 2012).
It was also during that first event that I participated in a convention as an organizer (Helios 2000) with the CLD. So many fond memories there...
It was also during that stay that I took part in my first Games Workshop-sponsored event. The 3rd Edition of 40k had just come out not too long ago (about 8-10 months) and I really was into the game. The Paris-St-Michel (near Fontaine St-Michel in central Paris) was hosting this event. First you had to "qualify" by basically taking on an opponent of their choice. Then if you won, you were invited to play on the Saturday for knock-off stages.
I showed up with my vanilla marines - all painted - with Quebec flags and Fleur-de-Lys symbols all over them. I got the feeling the guys did not not really want this tall Canadian there to show up the locals. But I followed all the rules. So they paired me against their "champion" who was playing Chaos Marines. It was a hard-fought match, but I managed to prevail, Huzzah! They invited me back on Saturday.
Saturday morning I showed up early (I was attending another event to the south of Paris, so I hoped to get it done quickly). The guys there paired me against this kid who was playing dark eldar whom no one could beat. Poor kid... I proceeded to slaughter his army by shooting is lord and blasting through his shadow field with masses of bolter fire (in those days the field was a 2+ invulnerable save until it failed once). I kept his talos busy with my scouts for most of the game. By turn 4 he had his talos on the field. I won.
My next match was against another one of their favorites, a fellow playing Dark Angels. I wasn't given much chance to win that fight because "that guy had been playing DAs for many years." The match didn't start off well for me, but I did not panic. I had a plan to flank him with my bikes. As he focused on my scouts, my bikes flanked him and his army disintegrated as he had to deal with the bikes and his firepower stopped coming. I was on him in a flash and after many tense moments, I managed to eeke out a win by a single marine (or something like that).
The final pitted me against an eldar player. I'll say this: he played his army well and my dice were just horrible. I lost to someone who was on top of his form. I was given a few scouts (that I still have and use) and some random bitz. I was happy. First 40k tourney.
Just a few words to say that it was during that time that spent one full year without TV. I had a computer but no TV. So I listened to the radio and discovered a number of bands. My musical horizons expanded a lot during that time. Neil Young, Noir Desir, Oasis, Blur, The Verve, Muse, and many others entered my musical library. Thanks to OUI-FM.
What is better than to be a tourist on the weekends? I spent a lot of time at the Louvres, visited Versailles and the Invalides a number of times, getting a visitor's pass, you can enter a number of museums for "free" so I really took in a lot of what there was to see. Saw le Tombeau de l'Empereur many times.
But perhaps, the most enduring legacy of the time I spent in Paris in 1999-2000 resides in the many friendships I made. One of them, led to meeting my now-Brother-in-law and a year later, my wife, others I still speak to on a regular basis.
A piece of me now forever roots for "Les Bleus".