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Published: January 7th 2010
After staying up till 2am last night, skyping with mom and preparing for the next day, it was rough waking up this morning at 8. So I didn't, I woke up at 9! When I woke up, there was about two inches on snow! It was all white and powdery, and felt like sand to walk on. Since the Paris Museum Pass I activated yesterday was only good for two days, I was determined to make the most of it. So here we go:
NOTRE DAME: I met a girl named Monica at the hostel this morning and we discovered that we were both headed to the cathedrale, so we took the bus together. Near the bus stop, we think we saw some guy almost get pickpocketed, but it was difficult to tell what was going on. in any case, after that, we were like "ok time to put the padlocks on our backpacks"...literally, i'm not joking. that's to keep from getting pickpocketed). The interier of N.D. is HUGE! It was quite crowded, and there was a ton of great art and stained glass. It was nice to be there with Monica; she was gracious enough to let me attempt
to explain som gothic architecture! Iwanted to climb the tower, but it was closed. As I would discover, this would be a trend for the day. Foiled tourist atempt #1.
DEPORTATION MEMORIAL: a memorial to the 200,000 French victims of the Holocaust. It was closed. Foil #2!
LEFT BANK: I walked along the Seine, where there are many great little cafes and shops. I stopped at Cafe Notre Dame at had a cafe noisette and crepes with nutella. By this time, the sun was out and the sky blue. It was cold (20s) but lovely!
SACRE COEUR: I was SO excited about this one, a really old, really cool church. But it was also closed. (Foil #3) So, I went next door to the...
CONCIERGIE: the prison where lots people were placed before being tried. Basically, if you were here, it was syonara. Lots of famous people passed through here. This is where Marie Antoinette spent the last months of her life. The great hall here is the oldest surviving medieval hall is Europe; isn't that neat? It dates back to Clovis and the founding of Paris.
TUILLERIES: I passed through this lovely park between
First French dinner!
A ham omlette with a mustard seed dressing salad, bread, and read regional wine
the Louvre and the Place de Concord on my way to the Orangerie. Though it was snowy and cold, there were many people out strolling around. I was also impressed by the many statues that was placed around the park. Coooool.
ORANGERIE: why the name? I dunno, I saw zero oranges. I did, however, see Monet's Waterlillies as well as lots of other incredible art. This little known museum is really a jewel! There was lots of Monet, Pissaro, ando ther Impressionist work to behold.
MUSEE D'ORSAY: WOW. All i can say. So much art. Pretty much all of the notable pieces I studied in my 19th Century Art course were right there. I was surprised at how big Courbet's pieces actually are. And Monet's paintings of women in garden settings, were truly a different experience in person. And I found that I really like Odilon Redon. This place, though compact, had a lot to see. And by this point, I was really exhausted. So I decided to take tea at the restaurant there! It was a really lovely place on the top floor. Rococoo architecture, gilding, mirrors, 19th century ceiling frescos, and crystal chandeliers made me
feel like I was suddenly in a palace, but the prices were just like an ordinary cafe. I had split pea soup with chervil foam on top (interesting, and very tasty) for 7 euro, and a nice herbal tea for 3,5 euro. This gave me time to recoup for my final adventure of the day....
THE EIFFEL TOWER: I took the bus, which said it was taking me to the Champs du Mars. But when I got off, I was in a neighborhood, and I was like 'so, where's the eiffel tower?' I kept walking, and turned a corner and BAM! there it was. It was like I got punched in the face by the Eiffel Tower. Surprisintly pleasant! Anyways, it's enormous and kind of looks like it was made by aliens (in my humble opinion). It didnt' take long to reach the base...and realize that three of the towers were closed, that my Museum Pass didn't work for this one (so no skipping the lines), and that there was a huge line to go up. (Foil #4!) And also that only the first floor was open because the top two thirds was frozen. 😞 So I wainted in
line, getting a tiny biy anxious because it was getting dark and I wasn't eexactly sure where the metro station was. I finally got my ticket and took the lift up to the first floor. But hoestly, I was dissapointed. The view wasn't really that great. Granted I could only walk around one of the sides, since the other three were cordoned off. But I didn't see the magnificent skyline I expected. I didn't see any of the familiar monuments. Maybe we were just on the boring side? Who knows! Anywho, when I come back closer to summer, I will certainly try again. I'm sure it's a much more pleasant experience when things are warm enough that the tower doesn't freeze.
So then, I found the metro, which was a bit of a walk through a not so pretty neighborhood and got on. Once I was a few stops away from my transfer, the train started stopping for long periods of time at each station. Then the conductor said they were having problems with the signals. We were almost to my station, and it seemed like we had been stalled forever, and i thought "please just get me to
a painting i love
the next stop. I've been out in the cold walking my toosh off for 8 hours." Finally: victory! We moved, I took my transfer, and I made it too the cafe I've been frequeenting, l'Interlude.
The waiter there had served me ever since I got here, and it's cool to see how we've become familiar. Each day, he speaks to me a little less formally, and a little more like a local. Today he popped around the corner with my wine and said "Et voila! Cou cou!" (which means something liek 'ta-duh! hi there!'). He also started addressing me with the informal "you", which is cool. He's really understanding of my newness here, too. After he took my creme brulee dish away, I said "C'etait incroyable!"; I meant to say 'it's was unbeleivable!', but I forgot that it actually is meant more as a complaint in French. He laughed and said "C'etait bon?" (it was good?) and I said yes.
(Note: Donna, if you are reading this, the following may not be for Ben). While eating dinner, I came to appeciate French newspapers (which are no longer on strike). I finished a story on Andre Agassi and flipped
people light the prayer candles and stick them in raised sand boxes around the chapel
to the next page, which had a tastfully done picture of a topless woman arching back with pleasure. The article was titled "G Spot Proven to Exist". Ha! In a professional, well regarded newspaper! It reminded me of what I read in the paper the other day. It was an article about how Parisians are keeping warm in the unusually cold weather. Several people were interviewed. while other's talked about using wood burning stoves and only heating certains rooms, one man simply said "Je fait l'amour" (I make love). Man, all I have to say is that's so French.
Ok, that's all! I know these are long, but I'm sort of using this as my own journal, and I don't want to forget anything!
The journey continues tomorrow when I meet my Parisienne friend Aurelie for more adventures!
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