Notes from 10 May 13:
Waking up on the morning of the 10th of May, my body felt like it had been hit by a bus. I was exhausted from all of the walking we had done collectively over the past 2 days. But French pastries and coffee were motivation enough to peel my aching body out of bed. I soon remembered, “Shoot, I’m in Paris! Good morning world!” and was ready to go in about 5 minutes. We grabbed breakfast at a little cafe and we were off.
Crossing over the “love lock” bridge was such a lovely thing. I couldn’t help but wonder about the many couples that said those most sacred of words, “I love you.” I wondered who meant it, who lasted, who didn’t, wondered if maybe I’d be back one day to utter those words to someone and actually mean it. Perhaps, perhaps…
On to the Louvre! We arrived about a half an hour before it opened and still took our place at the back of a (probably) 100 person line. I had to check myself to avoid certain facial expressions when looking at the array of outfits before me. Now I was no Hepburn myself in my tennis shoes, jeans, and emerald green top, but Louvre fashion was people watching at its finest! My favorite was a woman in stilettos (I’m positive she was regretting that by the end of her visit to that colossal museum) and a neon green, leopard print trench coat. I was happy for some pre-show entertainment….”Overture, dim the lights!” It was quite amusing, I hope I was able to put on a show for someone!
I have to confess, there was so much art that my mind and feet were on the brink of going AWOL. We probably walked a good 3 miles just within the museum, but had a good strategy: pick 10-15 pieces and book it to each. Ours included the Mona Lisa, The Sphinx, The Seated Scribe, The Wedding Feast of Cana, and Napoleon’s apartments. It was an incredible sight, navigating through the crowds, seeing people push past each other to get a chance at standing in front of these famous pieces while their photographers awkwardly holds their cameras high, trying to avoid stranger photobombs. I’m not going to lie, I photobombed at least one person’s photo…purposefully…with my creepiest smile. Clarissa and I very much enjoyed imitating the statues in between bouts of artistic admiration.
After the Louvre, we hit the Musee d’Orsay for MORE art, and MORE walking. I am ever grateful we did though! We saw some incredible pieces: Van Gogh, Rodin, Degas, Pissarro, Monet, and Renoir. These pieces spring into life, the Impressionist display that the museum had was stunning. I wish I could go back on a full stomach and fresh legs…my enjoyment would have increased ten fold and I think I would have had more dynamic interpretations of the various works of art.
We had two more stops before we could eat lunch, the first of which was Rodin’s garden. The garden itself was stunning, and the famous statues that inhabited it’s verdure were astonishingly intricate. I suppose there’s a reason for Rodin being one of the most celebrated sculptors in history! My contemplation of the statues, particularly The Thinker, was severely handicapped by the MOST cringe-worthy, off-pitch hum/chant dissipating like some airborne spore seeking helpless passers by to clutch in a poisonous grasp! Ok, maybe not that extreme, but this chanting made me feel like I was back at my rotation on the psych ward, a questionable choice in artistic accompaniment.
Following that almost indescribable sense experience, we gathered ourselves and walked to the Institute of the Invalids. The inside of the Institute was incredible! Everything in Paris is ornate and wonderful! Napoleon’s tomb was gigantic! Clarissa and I gave our best Napoleon “hand in breast pocket” pose to pay our respects and then rejoiced in the idea that lunch was so soon to be had. Ready for another check off the Paris bucket list? I sure was.
Wine and sandwiches under the Eiffel Tower, basking in the glorious sun and glorious view! Check. If your face is in the shadows, let it be darkened by something beautiful. My toast to Paris and la vie en rose was bathed in the darkness of the Tower’s elegant shade. In that moment, my happiness was unalterable.
After lunch (3 p.m.), we climbed the Arc de Triomphe for the most wonderful view of the city. Emerging from the interior of the Arc, 284 steps conquered, seeing the city was spiritual. Every other panoramic view was forgotten. Before dinner we stopped at the ever fantastic Shakespeare and Co. Bookshop. It rivaled Powell’s as far as uniqueness goes! We ate delicious crepes for dinner, and are going out for some Parisian nightlife soon. Tomorrow is Catacomb and Versailles day! Goodbye for now!
To hope and madness, Lauren.