Updating from the road! I’m actually in San Sebastián right now but this is the first chance I’ve gotten to pause and take a breath.
My adventure started on Thursday, June 12 at night when a slightly delayed flight got me smack dab in the middle of the Paris suburbs (after already paying for a bus from the airport) as the metro closed for the night. Super. Luckily a 12€ cab ride to Emma’s apartment resolved my problem, and, although more expensive than the metro, it wasn’t as pricey as I feared. I also got to jump start my French practice with the cab driver who was pretty nice, although probably a little misguided in his idea that I could easily find a job in Paris and that would be the best way to learn French. Obviously living in France would improve my French, but I doubt I could just walk into bars and expect a job…
Anyway, on Friday June 13 I started the day with a beautiful walk (it was a gorgeous day) around the Île de Saint Louis and île de la cité and actually stumbled upon the Conciergerie (old prison famous for some of its French Revolution prisoners – Marie Antoinette was held there for 2 months, and Robespierre was lead to the guillotine from there if I remember correctly) and Saint Chapelle church which was beautiful in spite of being in the middle of construction work. I went through both of those and then met up with Emma who got out of work early. We went to lunch, walked along champs elysses a little, walked through the Petit Palais (a beautiful building but pretty boring as a museum) and got a coffee in the Jardin Des Tuileries. We headed back and walked around Bastille a little (Emma’s neighborhood) then made dinner and caught up on orange is the new black.
Saturday morning June 14 I took the RER to Versailles. It was completely over the top and beautiful, and so nice to finally see after all of the history lessons and movies I saw Versailles palace in. The town of Versailles was also pretty and I spent a little time walking around before I headed back to Paris and went to Les Invalides to the war museum. I am almost 0% interested in the kind of stuff that might be in a war museum, although parts of it were okay and I wanted to see napoleons tomb. Also, my bitchy resting face is helping me blend in with the Parisians – people keep assuming I’m one of them or asking for directions until my accent gives me away.
On Sunday Emma and I woke up and went to the quai d’Orsay museum. Full of African art and stuff. Not my favorite but the architecture of the museum is beautiful and they also had a temporary exposition about tattoos so Emma and I made it our mission to visit that. It was really interesting, exploring tattoos as taboo, as an art form, a way of social inclusion/exclusion… Definitely worth the visit especially for tattoo fans. We next went and got lunch to go and picnicked at the champs mars with views of the Eiffel Tower. I had to – it was on my bucket list. And it was great. Emma had planned to see a musical after so we split up and I walked. For hours. Saint germain des près, quartier latin, île de la cité by notre dame, louvre, Tuileries… I may have walked for 4 hours straight stopping only for a crêpe break. I guess it will get me ready for my camino.
Monday: I started my Monday – how else- by walking. I headed in a new direction and stumbled upon the National archives which are in an old building that used to be the residence of some sort of prince. There was also an exhibition about jaurès. The most interesting was the decoration of the rooms. It was even more enjoyable than Versailles because it was basically deserted. I wandered through le marais and went to the Shoah memorial, which was depressing but well done. Then I went to galleries Lafayette for a little bit of window shopping and they have a terrace on top with great views. I walked to another small museum but it was 10€ so I passed and headed towards the orangerie, which has great impressionist period artwork and Monets water lilies.
Tuesday was my last day in Paris, so I decided to take advantage of some more museums since Paris is full of them. I went to one that just opened- mundolingua. I don’t know how hyperlinks work on my phone so please look it up it is great! Especially for a language nerd. Signifiers and signified, second language acquisition, history of languages, endangered languages, nonverbal, codes, slang… Literally a museum about languages. Next I headed to the outskirts of Paris for a Museum all about music. I saw lots of interesting musical instruments. Notable were the kit fiddles, strangely shaped instruments, beautifully painted clavinets, harpsichords and pianos. I could’ve been there much longer – almost every type of instrument had an audio with an explanation and another with an example of what it sounds like. If I had actually played all of them all the way through it could have easily taken me 6 hours to get through it, but it’s obviously too much for one day. On my way back I went to the Parc des buttes chaumont. It was really pretty and really hilly! It always impresses me to have beautiful parks in the middle of a large city. After that I went back to Emma’s apartment and grabbed my stuff to catch the train to Rennes!