Monday, May 31, 2010

April in Paris (8th and 9th)









thursday, April 8th

Finally! I have been looking forward to seeing The City of Love since I was a kid! So of course the weekend was wayyyyy to short. It was meant to be Jill and I again J but the more the merrier! And so Becky and Jason came along as well. Becky, being the art history chickadee was rather fun to have around! (and not only because in the museums she was totally in the know) but she was a ton of fun, and seemed to enjoy herself..which was contagious when it comes to spreading the life and fun.

The flight was short and sweet! Pit stop at the bathroom at the airport… and there was PINK TOILET PAPER! Seeing Life In Pink already J

La Vie En Rose

Des yeux qui font baiser les miens,

Un rire qui se perd sur sa bouche,
Voila le portrait sans retouche
De l'homme auquel j'appartiens

Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Il me parle tout bas,
Je vois la vie en rose.

Il me dit des mots d'amour,
Des mots de tous les jours,
Et ca me fait quelque chose.

Il est entre dans mon coeur
Une part de bonheur
Dont je connais la cause.

C'est lui pour moi. Moi pour lui
Dans la vie,
Il me l'a dit, l'a jure pour la vie.

Et des que je l'apercois
Alors je sens en moi
Mon coeur qui bat

Des nuits d'amour a ne plus en finir
Un grand bonheur qui prend sa place
Des enuis des chagrins, des phases
Heureux, heureux a en mourir.

Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Il me parle tout bas,
Je vois la vie en rose.

Il me dit des mots d'amour,
Des mots de tous les jours,
Et ca me fait quelque chose.


Il est entre dans mon coeur
Une part de bonheur
Dont je connais la cause.

C'est toi pour moi. Moi pour toi
Dans la vie,
Il me l'a dit, l'a jure pour la vie.

Et des que je l'apercois
Alors je sens en moi
Mon coeur qui bat

Life in Pink

Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me, Heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I'm in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak
Angels sing from above
Every day words
Seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose
I thought that love was just a word
They sang about in songs I heard
It took your kisses to reveal
That I was wrong, and love is real
Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me, Heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I'm in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak
Angels sing from above
Every day words
Seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose

Anyways the bus took us into the city center where we went to the metro station, exerting the self control to not go dashing off to the Eiffel tower. 40 minute metro ride later ..with only a few minutes of Jill and I consulting the board that had lights that blinked up to show the different routes and lines. Way cool and easy once we figured it out. Surprisingly crowded for that “late” (11:30) Followed the line all the way to the second to last stop of St. Denis. The stairs led us up to some empty street..though well lit. We wandered in a few wrong directions before finding the sought out sign. For some reason people thought I could figure it out, so there were a few circles involved… Jill and I were unconcerned, it was barely midnight! And we were nearly there, with relatively detailed directions! (Imagine how much less stressed we were ) minor confusion/heart attack when we arrived at said address and it looked like an empty business building. Happily the sign next door for a restaurant was actually the hotel. And the conseirge spoke English! We paid, got our key and went through the courtyard that had no entry except by the lobby, up a flight of stairs, and unlocked our very own, clean room with neatly made beds, clean sheets, clean bathroom and shower of our very own! Including individual fresh towels! Jill and I were practically jumping up and down with glee and relief. We were worried that for the 50 euros for three nights….we would get stuck with a grimy place with little security and an infrequent use of bleach/detergent. We were all three in the same room (cheaper) we layed down the rules for the boy, and I flopped out on the cot neatly made out and plenty comfortable.

Searched out the internet from the lobby to message back Kristin in Rome and assure her of a safe arrival via facebook. Cranked out some of my paper, and slept better than I had since spring break. Twas fabulous.

FRIDAY, april 9th

Didn’t run that morning (or any of the ones there). No one wakes up before hitting a series of museums and chooses to go for a run. We had formed the game plan the evening before and woke up ready to Love Paris in the Springtime.


I love Paris in the springtime.
I love Paris in the fall.
I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles,
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles.

I love Paris every moment,
every moment of the year.
I love Paris, why, oh why do I love Paris?
Because my love is near.

First stop, Notre Dame!!!!!!!!!! The sun was up, the sky was blue! We went inside the church first. The interior was darker than what I expected, the light that filtered through the stained glass only entered the select uncovered windows on the far side of the church. A choir was singing in the center, but people moved along the shadowed edges. It wasn’t what I was expecting (darn you disneys hunchback of Notre dame cartoon). But still absolutely lovely. I could have stared at the pair of rose windows all day, and the little images that made up the petals of the stained glass flower. We walked around the (annex?) (I don’t know anymore) with wooden carvings surrounding the front area behind the alter. And little alcoves to pray at, with candles and paintings and statues. I didn’t really want to leave…it was full of shadows and had patches of colored light throughout the place, the classic high ceiling with the flying buttresses.

Walked around the outside of the church was unbelievable as well! The flying buttresses continued outside the structure. The gothic peaks tapered into the air, with the many decorations and..well whatever they are called spiking out from the narrow ones. Gargoyles were set around the roofing, to spout the water. Their horns, ears, teeth, and gapping mouths mostly still defined in the stone (though some crumbled away without features. Along the top and in between the two towers various Gargoyles hunkered along the edges, fiercely (or comically) overlooking the courtyard before the church.

Next, in search of the museum passes recommended to save us money. They are also slightly magical, because when we showed them to the staff at the front of the line, we were immediately shown through ahead of the masses anticipating their entrance. Cutting time and opening doors for us!

So we jumped ahead at St. Chappelle Chapel. The lowest level was from medieval times , with the fleur de lys and castles painted on the walls and beams. The colors were still vivid in their contrast. We imagined what it would be like to be a peasant walking into this chapel and its d├ęcor.

Up the tiny stairs, we came to the stain glass of St. Chappell…The alter was covered up, but the arched apex was covered for restoration. The rose window there designed differently then Notre Dame, but elegant and intricate. The windows were series from the Bible, with each window stretching up almost to the ceiling, sometimes the whole window would be dedicated to a book in the Bible (like Esther). It was hard to pick out all the stories, because of the teeny detailing and pieces of colored glass that formed each image. The light made designs on the floor, and my new favorite thing to do was to stand in a little patch of the light and let the colors slide over my skin and dance in the patterns made on the floor.

Next, the Louvre!!!!! It was impressive seeing the glass pyramid in the center of the Louvre’s many wings (okay…there were three total…but hoofing it around those halls FELT a great deal longer, farther and more numerous). Ps: inside the pyramid..(which is the entrance we cruised into thanks to the slightly magical tickets.) it was like a greenhouse, warmed by the sunlight. We gathered at the base with the map to get together a game plan. We attacked the museum excitedly and enthusiastically. With frequent breaks, several oooooohs and aaaaaaahs, and serious pinching of self to realize what we were looking at.

Note: there are some seriously awesome artists there whose names I can’t remember.

Observation: looooooove da vinci’s paintings

Keep in mind: the mona Lisa is not that big. And you can’t get close enough to see details.

Secret to success: CHOCOLATE. (and hydration) seriously, why women carry purses…I just slipped a bar in there and when I started to seriously glaze, broke off a piece and tossed it back. Also, drank water at the inbetween halls where there wernt paintings.

We emerged triumphant and finite with museums for the day! Wandered a little stunned at what we’d seen, out to the fountain that was surrounded by flowers and people in chairs relaxing in the sun. Wandered slowly down the Avenue Des Champs-elysees. Which starts with trees and kind of parks on either sides, and intersects a road that has tons of shops and expensive stores! But trendy and begging for me to wander in. We tried to go farther away from the “main drag” to find dinner, but every place in the area was pretty pricey. So we stopped into one, had to pick and chose what was actually available from the menu. I had canard e potatoes (duck!) which was like really tender roast beef, little greasy too... also got a rose house wine,( a pink wine…that was sweet and goooood). Sparkling water with the meal too! It was legit good, got to try some French food . J ate early…which confused people. But we were hungry!

Headed back to Champes-elysees, and made it to the arch du Triumph! Oh, and that road around it..we couldn’t find the underground metro walkway. After wandering for a while, I got frustrated and just dodged traffic across (much to Jill’s horror and everyone elses dismay). How I (or any of my dear friends) did not get hit…well… it’s an argument for God’s presence in the real world. And a red Ferrari went past, what a better way to go!?

Magic tickets got us in the door and up the stairs. I have begun to lose track of all the narrow stair-wells we have climbed/crawled/panted/ huffed and puffed up. (I can almost keep track of the differences amongst them, because you start to memorize the shape of the stairs and spiral angle). The higher we got, the more narrow the stairs. Once we came out on the top though, whew! It was pretty awesome! First full, uninterrupted look at the Eiffel Tower, (just like the postcards), it dominated the skyline. It’s grey silhouette was the only thing occupying the sky which was tinted pink by the setting sun. Other sides looked upon a developed city of paris, with the narrow, tall rectangular office buildings, and low apartments, business buildings…funny how if you narrow your field of vision, a city looks so similar to the many others across the world. Ahead of the Arch du Triumph, the entire road of champes elysees was lined with the lights, faintly lit by the dimming evening that led toward the Louvre (hidden behind another arch, that one with winged angels atop it.. I think, or was that a different one). Little people filled the sidewalks, and cars were constantly circling around the base of the arch, and streaming down the road. Atop, it wasn’t cold, and the friendly breeze lifted my hair from my face.

Once on the ground again (advantage to enclosed stairs…no need to confront those height phobias!) we SAFELY went UNDER the main road via metro stairs to the other side! We decided to check out the Eiffel Tower at night, since museums were closed. It was also somewhat of a crime that we had been inParis and not managed to make it to the tower yet. We walked in the general direction of the last sighting of its peak. Then were tantalized by the reflection of the tower in the office building windows…but when you turned around, there was no tower! Just a wall of concrete! The closer we got, the more I danced around excitedly ahead of everyone else. We finally rounded a corner of a building, and there it stood across the river! Little flashing lights were making it like a sparkler in the middle of Paris, crossing the river and coming up close to it, I realized…it IS like all the pictures! Only in real-life, you can take in the billions of other things in your field of vision. We got nutella filled crepes and wandered underneath its base. Of course, all kinds of men were selling little cheap Eiffel Tower key chains and such, or little light up things, and blinking replicas. *grumble growl roar*. Beneath the tower, a line snaked around for people to go up into it, and beneath it, tourism seemed to meet festival feel..almost. There was music and someone was dancing michael Jackson style (for money) and a crowd of people were around another group who were break dancing (from what we could tell.. being 5ft 3 there was really no way to find out)

When the lights finished blinking spastically, the night sky softened the edges of the building, turning it into an elegant piece of industrial work. The structure of the beams and bolts crisscrossing each other looked like steel lacework . *sighs* it was rather romantic, actually.

We took the metro back to the hotel…I was incredibly tired and ready to shower and curl up in bed. While walking from the metro to our hotel…we passed a couple cars with people all around, and a guy in handcuffs. (in the middle of a road, quiet only for the time of night). Sketch. We just strolled casually past, though I went all mother duck on people trying to keep everyone together and not leaving a stray, absentminded, oblivious duckling wandering away from the group..where it would be much harder (but possible) to knock some creeper’s lights out if anything was attempted.

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