Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Paris: The city of metros, museums and misgivings.

It was a nice and very busy trip. We got on the train Saturday morning, arrived in Paris around 2pm. We took the metro to the Minerve Hotel, then went exploring. Our hotel was right in town, very near St. Germain and Notre Dame. We were surrounded by little cafes and markets, and a pretty strange amount of comic book/video game/anime stores.
Later that night we went to see “La Cantatrice Chauve,” a play by Ionesco, at a theater that was basically a stage inside a closet. What was special about it was that this play has played here EVERY DAY since it opened in 1950, without interruption. And it is always full. It was pretty absurd, emotional, and ultimately successful. Afterwards we went out to eat Indian food, went back to the hotel and decided it would be a good idea to walk over to the louvre (about 40 minutes) where there was supposed to be some kind of dance club. First mistake: There was a dance club 10 minutes from our hotel. Second mistake: Girls wearing high heels. Third mistake: Bringing about 8 people to the club, half dressed in jeans and polo shirts. Outcome: We did not get in. But it was a nice night and we got to see some of the sites and monuments illuminated.

Next day was museum day. It was the day of “Patrimoine” so all of the museums were either free or reduced price, which was nice for getting in, but very crowded for looking at things. The Musée D’Orsay was really good, better than I remembered, but maybe that’s because the last time I was there I was 12 and we only looked at Impressionist paintings. There was an incredible exhibition by a Danish artist named Willumsen, who worked really in every medium (painting, sculpture, graphic art, photography) and had an amazing period where he was really inspired by El Greco (<3). Then there is always Olympia and her arresting gaze. The Louvre was nice but really crowded. Jason and I hit the big stuff, and I sort of played tour guide which was fun.

That night we had dinner at a little restaurant and decided that tonight would be the night of the Eiffel Tower. It was beautiful. We took the metro over to the massive, light-radiating monument and sat on the lawn for a couple hours. It was great, besides the never ending vendors who tried to sell us wine and champagne every five minutes. We just sat and talked and relaxed. It was the best night of the trip. And there were hundreds of other people there too. It was a French bonding experience.

Monday was the Opera House day. We went to the Palais Garnier for a guided tour, but we were not able to actually see a show which was disappointing. The place is huge and gaudy and wonderful. My favorite thing is the ceiling of the theater which was painted by Chagall. It’s gorgeous. Much better than whatever academic, boob baring, soft focus painting was up there at the time of Napoleon.

Then we went down to the Place de la Concorde, over to the Champs Elysée and down to the Arc de Triomphe. The only thing I bought was a delicious crepe with lemon sugar that kept me going until the most delicious meal I’ve had yet in France. We went to a tiny restaurant far away from the touristy areas that specialized in Italian type French food. Eggplant, chèvre ravioli, cheese and cherry jam, crème brulé. Incredible. After the meal I went over to Sophie’s house (took the metro by myself) and we talked for a while and went to sleep.

The next morning I woke up and Emmanuelle and I got to catch up a little before I had to get back to the hotel to pack up. The first half of the train ride home was agonizing thanks to a mother with 4 sons, all under the age of 9 and a baby. Basically there was a lot of slapping, crying and loud noises in general. Luckily they got off at Nancy while we took the train the rest of the way to Strasbourg.
Paris is beautiful and exciting, but I’m really learning to appreciate Strasbourg because I feel like I could actually live here. It’s not too busy, not too crowded, not too scary. You can be familiar with it. It can be cozy and quiet. It’s good to be here.


Anonymous JTWilcox said...

You're an incredible photographer. I love that shot of the Eiffel Tower.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

merci, bebe.
would you be so kind as to change my profile picture to that of my facebook? I do not know how to go about configuring such a thing. Merci, encore, mon cher.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous JTWilcox said...

Done and done. I also allowed you to use titles for your posts in the future.

3:37 AM  
Blogger annie said...

hey, brett does my profile picture too!
im seeing you! in the not to distant future!!

5:15 PM  

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