where I go, who I meet, and what I think in Europe

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Paris makes me sore

I can't believe today was only my second full day in Paris. I feel like I've done it all! Justin doesn't work for the remainder of my stay, so I think we may take a day trip outside of Paris. First, I'll tell you about today...

Since just lives in arronssement 18, I decided to visit the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur first today. I was able to walk to it within 15 minutes. The basilica was beautiful like everything in Paris. It was a real treat to visit because there was a service happening inside. A woman sang some very lovely hymns while I walked around. It made the touring much more magical.

I continued outside and walked the streets of Montmatre. I visited a few souvenir shops to see what they offered...not much. Then I went to the the artists' square where many painters and sketchers sold their work. If I wasn't going to be traveling to several more countries, I may have bought a piece because many of the painters were very talented. However, I am a poor college student, so I kept my money. Down the hill I found the Lapin Agile, a small bar-cabaret that has showed up in Picasso's work. It wasn't open when I walked by. This walking tour of Montmatre also took me to Cimetiere St. Vicent where I saw French painter Maurice Utrillo's grave. This wasn't very significant to me since I don't know his work, but I went nonetheless.

My day took me next to the catacombs. If you every come to Paris, I definately recommend visiting these. It was creepy to walk underground Paris and be among so many bones, but I've never seen anything like it! Originally built to quarry stones, the catacombs are now the gravesight for milions of skeletons.

I came out of the catacombs in a different place from where I entered, and it took me awhile to locate myself on the map. After meandering around, I eventually found out where I was, and continued on another walking tour from my borrow Fodor's guide. I stopped at the Foundation Cartier, a museum for modern art setup by the famous jeweler himself. There were two installations there each very different from each other. It cost 4.5 euros to get in, but it gave me a chance to use the restroom and eat my packed lunch in the museum's garden. I'm glad I stopped.

I finished my tour of Montparnasse by walking through the Jardin du Luxembourg. I saw the Fountaine de l'Observatoire and tree, tree, trees! It was about 5 pm when I finished in Montparnasse. I was very tired because I began around 10 am, but I had one more stop to make before I could call it a day.

Notre Dame!
The cathedral lives up to its reputation. It's beautifully designed, and I really enjoyed the stained glass windows. Again, there was a service happening which made the visit more exciting. I couldn't figure out how to get high up amoung the gargoyles, but I enjoyed looking at them from below. As I thought my visit was over, I became the target of a weird middle aged French man. He began talking to me in French, and I told him "I'm sorry I do not understand," but unfortunaely he also spoke English. He just rambled on about the beautiful cathedral. Then he asked me where I was from and was surprised I was American. blah blah blah very weird guy; he offered to take me to a cafe, but I told him I had to meet my friend because I had his apartment key (this really wasn't a lie). It was hard to get away from him; he gave me his e-mail address, and I made up a fake one for him because it was the only way he was going to let me go. Why he thinks I would contact him is beyond me...

I took the metro back to Justin's place after Notre Dame and had a little dinner. it's now 11 pm, and I'm editing my pictures from the past two days. If I don't stay on top of this stuff, I'll be overwhelmed at the end of my trip. On a side note, I found out this morning that it looks like there will be 4 other volunteers with me at the farm in Ireland. Three spanish guys and a girl from Germany. I hope we get along well!

I have no clue what i'll be doing tomorrow! I hope since I'll have Justin available to me, I can go to a French restaurant because I've been to scared to order anything. All I know is that I am very sore from walking the past two days. I'm sure I've walked many miles and climbled thousands of steps. That's no exaggeration either.

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