Today was a late start, but not unproductive. When I had booked my hostel online, I made two different reservations because they didn’t have three consecutive nights in the same cheap room. My first night I was paying for a 6 bed room, and the second two I would be in an 8 bed room.
well, when I checked in yesterday, I ended up in a fancy 3 bed room with an en suite bathroom. today, I had to check out and check back in… but they let me stay in the same swanky room! it’s so nice! There’s only one other person in there right now, and he’s quiet. Doesn’t speak much English. I’m getting a real bargain and a pretttttty sweet setup. A 3 bed room is so much nicer and so much more expensive than an 8 bed room.
After I got all that sorted out, I headed off to the museums. The weather here is much warmer than Istanbul, so I went out with just my scarf. The French people seemed to think it was cold out, but it felt pretty nice to me.
Unfortunately, I keep my camera in my coat pocket. Easy access… Except when my coat is in my hostel room and I’m on the metro. Fortunately, museums aren’t much of a place for photos, so it wasn’t the end of the world. It’s not like I was headed to the Eiffel Tower, where you only go to get your picture taken. But I do have my trust iPad, which also means that all of the photos I took are immediately available to my blog! Yay!
The Musee d’Orsay was my first stop. My Mom, ever wise, had recommended it for it’s incredible impressionist collection. They also had a temporary exhibit right now about the the darker side of the romanticism movement. I went there first. Because I am an art student (not just any student) the whole museum was free to me. The exhibit was great. It was art of many different styles and media. It even included film clips, which were especially interesting and relevant. Film in exhibits can be pretty hit or miss, but this was well done.
i lost track of time in this exhibit, e efforts I went to, and freaked out when I realized how late it was after I finished. It broke my heart, but I pretty much ran through the restof the museum. I wanted to spend a lot more time with a lot more paintings, and I did made allowances for a few exceptional pieces, but I need another trip.
Oh, and the building itself was gorgeous. It used to be a train station.
from there, I went to the Lourve.
It was raining, and my shoes were soaked in seconds. I bought an umbrella for €4. It kept me dry on the walk, but I lost it pretty much the second that I walked into the Lourve. This was also free for me, but it was a little more challenging. I had to present my passport, my international student ID, my visa, and try to explain my study abroad program through a language barrier. But they let me in.
After all the fabulousness at the Musee d’Orsay, I wasn’t as enthusiastic about the Lourve. There was only one piece I was specifically excited to see. I set out to find it first thing, and once I saw it I felt much better.
Also called the Nike of Samothrace. It was just was wonderful as I’d been imagining since Western Art I with Reed Anderson.
I moved into the paintings. There were a lot of artists I was interested in, but not necessarily the specific pieces I wanted to see. It made me laugh to see the crowd around the Mona Lisa, but I got my obligatory photo with it. I guess it’s nice, strategically, to have such an overrated painting to distract the crowds. I had the good stuff almost entirely too myself.
They say that it would take days to see everything in the Lourve,and it probably would. The thing is, you don’t want to see everything in the Lourve. A lot of it isn’t really that interesting. The place is just big. And not only is it big, but it is shockingly difficult to find a bathroom.
Art is exhausting. Museum fatigue is very real! I was trying to stay hydrated and make time for snacks, but by the time I was ready to leave the Lourve I was so tired. I headed back to Montmartre to find a place for dinner and become better acquainted with cafe culture.
I had escargot and pomme frites. The waitress didn’t speak English and was very, very concerned that I didn’t realize exactly what I had ordered. She went to great lengths to make sure I knew I was getting snails. What’s French for “my favorite food”? Escargot is most definitely one of my very favorite foods. I’ve been craving it since I lea Erica. Paris is a long way from Brighton, but the food alone is almost worth it.
I went back to the hostel to grab a sketchbook. I thought I’d head out to find a nice view on Montmartre. What actually happened is that I met a nice British guy, Madge, and stayed in the hostel to chat. It was actually already pretty late, and this hostel hasn’t been quite as friendly as some of the others I’ve been in. It was nice to be able to have a chat, and it was probably better for me to stay in. I can get an early start tomorrow. Apparently, there are free Paris Walks (like the famous London Walks) and hopefully I’ll catch one of those in the morning. I’d also love to see Versailles, but I think I might wait and see it with my sister. Or I might see it twice. Who knows.
I unfortunately have found it pretty embarrassing to encounter (most) other Americans. At least young Americans. I overheard some pretty disturbing conversations tonight where these girls from Portland were talking about how they spend 10 minutes at Versailles, didn’t really look around the Lourve just went to take a picture… They just want to chill and “these are like totally the stories that like someday like we can tell our great great great grandchildren like you know”. And if they weren’t making us look bad enough as it is… you should hear them try to explain prom night.