Paris - Dan Carter says he feels settled
now in Paris following two months of being an anonymous tourist in the City of
The 34-year-old World Rugby Player of the
Year joined French Top 14 hopefuls Racing 92 after helping New Zealand defend
their World Cup crown in October.
And after an initial "crazy"
period punctuated by numerous sponsor and PR commitments, Carter says he is now
starting to feel at home.
"Paris is a very big international
city, I can walk the streets and nobody knows who I am, which is pretty
refreshing," said the former Crusaders star, who also spent a short stint
in France at Perpignan in 2009.
"There's just so much to do, it's
crazy -- we get one day off a week and I really enjoy exploring the city, you
never do the same thing twice.
"There's so many different things to
do, whether it's seeing the amazing cultural things here in Paris. There are
some amazing 'chateaux', castles, some amazing restaurants, a lot of variety
for me and my family to enjoy.
"I'm a lot more settled now but
definitely the first two months was all about seeing what I could do on my day
off, maximising it as much as possible, being a tourist in this city that I'm
living in -- I really enjoyed it.
"It was amazing but I'm a lot more
settled now, feeling like we have our little local restaurants and our
favourite markets to go to, we're a lot more settled now."
Having several other Kiwis, including
former international teammates Joe Rokocoko and Casey Laulala, who also played
for the Crusaders, has helped Carter adapt to his new surroundings.
"To be honest, when I arrived here I
didn't know what to expect: a brand new team, new country, new competition; I
wasn't sure how well or not I'd fit in," admitted the father of two young
"It's always easier when you've got
familiar faces and good friends at the club to help that transition. There are
six New Zealanders here, that's made that transition a lot easier but it wasn't
just them that's made it easier - the coaches, the management and all the
other players as well were very welcoming to me here, so it's good to be a part
of the team and back playing with a couple of good friends of mine.
"We do a few things together, a lot of
the Kiwi guys here are in a similar position to me with young families and
often the kids will be together and play together.
"Little things like that, when you're
so far away from home, it's nice to have your good friends and people that are
going through the same thing as you are and able to share those experiences,
and we've been able to spend a lot of time with them."
Big-spending Racing have definitely kicked
on this season with Carter directing play from half-back, and until a recent
blip that saw them lose back-to-back games against title rivals Montpellier and
Toulon, they were top of the league.
Carter has not just had an impact on
results, though, he has also noticed younger players trying to emulate him in
"It encourages me to see sometimes
when I do skills or drills after (training) and I look across and some of the
younger players might be doing something similar," he said.
"To have that effect can only be
beneficial to the team. That's not why I'm doing it, I'm doing it to make sure
I continue to be the best player I possibly can, but if it rubs off on other
players, that's great."