Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paris Day 3

Today we slept in! It was beautiful. We left pretty late in the day to go to the Louvre. Our train first we stopped to look at the Arc de Triomphe from the Obelisk because that was where our train stopped. It was a pretty neat view, though it would have been nice if there was less fog and we could actually see it. Then we went to the Musée de l'Orangerie to look at the gorgeous Monet paintings. They were huge, taking up the entire wall each, and the colors were amazing! We spent a while there, then went outside to cross the Tuileries Garden. It was very wet, though the flowers were pretty. Eventually it started raining so hard that we took refuge in a cafe. I had hot chocolate and an egg and tomato salad. It was amazing, especially the hot chocolate.

After we paid, it was finally Louvre time! Now, you might not know, but I just finished a course on Roman architecture. That meant I got to blabber at my parents and sisters about how l'Arc de Triomphe is not really a Triumphal Arch in the Roman sense because it doesn't have the proper amount of arches. And point out phalanxes and winged victories and basically be an enormous geek about it all. There's a reason my mother enjoys going to art museums with me. I know stuff. We also got a great view of the Obelisk and l'Arc de Triomphe superimposed on each other like something phallic piercing something yonic. It was wonderful and I snickered a lot.

Speaking of wonderful, the pyramids and the whole entrance to the Louvre are very pretty. There was the coolest elevator, though we didn't take it. It was a round platform that rose and sank into the ground. The stairs spiraled down around it. It is pretty much the coolest elevator I've ever seen.

We had a bit of trouble getting in because although students can get in for free, that only applies to students from Europe. Julia and I needed to buy passes, but now we can go anywhere for free. Elise is under eighteen and gets in free anyway. Finally, we made it.

Our first stop was the ancient Roman art section. Remember what I said about me and Roman art and architecture and knowing stuff? I was in full swing here, answering questions, telling stories, explaining who people were and why they were important... it was awesome. We took some great pictures. One of my favorites was the one of me, Julia, and Elise in the same position of the Three Graces.

We also saw a bunch of statues of Emperors, many of which I recognized from my studies. Augustus was pretty cool, for instance. We saw the Venus de Milo, which I'd missed the last time I went, and she was as beautiful as expected. There was a great Athena statue as well. I appreciated that one a lot. Athena's one of my favorite goddesses. There was also a gorgeous Artemis, but it was hard to photograph her since crowds kept gathering.

I need to pause a moment to mention how amazing the ceilings were. They were beautiful colors, often guilded, always with paintings all around. They were breathtaking, especially in the Greek section.

Then, it was upstairs past the Winged Victory and over to the Renaissance stuff. Yes, we saw the Mona Lisa. It's a nice painting.

Dad and I broke off from the other family members to keep looking at the Renaissance stuff. I wanted more Leonardo da Vinci. No luck. But we did see a nice picture of a topless woman with a snake biting her nipple! We both thought that one was funny.

We wandered back to try and find the siblings and mother, but instead we found more amazing ceilings and some large pictures of a very short emperor. Napoleon, I mean. The paintings were gorgeous, though. After a while, we headed back to the front. Not a moment too soon; I felt like my feet were going to fall off.

We had some chocolate and water, then wandered off to find the Metro station. At this point I really had to go to the bathroom. We found a very posh looking place where they made us pay a euro to pee. I thought we should have splurged and gone for the 1.5€ toilet "with grand comfort." They also sold some of the most colorful toilet paper I've ever seen.

We went to le Merais after that. We had a dinner date with my former exchange student Laura, but we were early. We sat in a cafe drinking warm milk with honey and other tasties for a while, then started wandering towards the restaurant. We passed a gallery with the coolest art. There were these giant, colorful circles filled with sand that spun on the wall. Julia and Elise were mesmerized. I was more taken by the piece with the grid of wires that seemed to move in dizzying ways every time we moved our heads. We chatted with the woman for a long time before we started off again.

We stopped for a while so that Dad could watch the French Open in a shoe store while Mom and the sisters looked at jewelry. I was my usual exciting self and... sat outside and read. But to be fair, it's a really good book.

They finished and we started walking through the neighborhood. We'd somehow ended up in the Jewish corner of town, so we got to admire all the challah and falafel. We went into another jewelry store, and this time I saw a necklace I really liked. It had two lightning bolts coming off a pretty chain. I tried it on, and it turns out I didn't like it 80€ worth. It looked better off me, so not worth the price.

We were early for our meeting, so we went across the street to the Picasso museum. It was closed, but there was a playground out front with all sorts of funky climbing walls and spinny discs on which to play. Elise, Mom, and I played around on it for a while. Then we went to the restaurant.

Everything was in French. I know you're all shocked that there were people speaking French in Paris, but mostly as soon as we show up anywhere everyone immediately switches to English. Luckily, Laura showed up pretty quickly to translate. I had a fish type dish, though I liked Laura's veal better. For desert, I shared an apple tart with Julia. It was amazing.

Afterwards, we walked through the city with Laura to get to the Metro station. It was closed for some reason, so we ended up taking a cab. The Eiffel Tower looked beautiful as we drove by it all lit up for the night.


Frona said...

I'm sure you will be surprised to find out that your grandmother thinks you are a wonderful writer! I am enjoying every minute of Paris with the Hausmans. It's the best bedtime story I've read in ages. Don't stop! Love, Grandma F

Bob said...

Reading this chapter, I can follow with my mind's eye. Thanks.

The fish-type dish reminds me that when Gma and I were there together for the first time, we watched a woman expertly lift the center bone from a fish and, mouth to bone, get every morsel. I've done it myself, since. Travel is educational.

Did your dad tell you that the game is to see how quickly you can see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, and get out?

Send more.



cpopky said...

Shana, I can't wait for your visit here, now more than ever, because I want to go to the National Gallery with you and have you talk about the art. I loved your blog. It's such fun to read. Love, G'ma C

cpopky said...

So, how was your visit with my relatives? I'm dying to hear about it. Love again, g'ma c