Finally Taylor made it to Paris and my days of being just a tourist have resumed. Fortunately, I'm a tourist who has gotten to know the city (somewhat), which makes everything a whole lot easier. Taylor arrived last night and she was able to find her way to Moose bar, a Canadian bar right behind Rue de St.Germain that many people still in town for the weekend had decided to go to. The girls on my Paris trip had met a group of Maryland boys (shout out to Ceebs- "Go Terps!") while in Nice, and they were passing through Paris. We all met at the bar with a Texas-born bartender, and were well into a game of thumper when Taylor found her way there. She has actually been to Paris before, and new a great deal about the city, which helped her manage her way around. The night turned into one that made our sides sore from laughing, and ended with me walking the streets of Paris back home. I had a great deal planned for Friday, and was anxious to start some heavy touring my last week in Paris.
Today, we started a little later in the day, but it was perfect weather outside! The sky was bright blue and the white puffy clouds were moving quickly behind the beautiful Parisian buildings. It finally felt wonderful outside, a big change from the recent rain and dark skies of the past week. We first met at the Obelisk, near the Jardin des Tuileries. There was a lot of machines and set up for an event that was apparently happening soon. We didn't really figure out what was going on, but Taylor had seen (and soon so would I) a huge ferris wheel and other "carnival-like" structures being set up in the garden. After a failed attempt at some pictures in front of the Obelisk, we strolled through the gardens. It was typical Paris, with the cream colored gravel, large sculptures, hedges, and a large fountain in the center. To the right, we saw the Musee de la Orangerie, and immediately headed to the home of Monet's Water Lilies. At first, we walked through a modern, white washed hallway with side rooms displaying the works of Matisse, Rousseau, Renoir, and Picasso in elegant gold frames that sharply contrasted the museum's modern-feeling walls. Then we headed to the area of Les Nymphéas, or water lilies. Two large oval rooms displayed the beautiful works. It was breathtaking to see the colors, figures, and oil strokes so well known and recognized.
After leaving the musee, we walked through the Jardin des Tuileries towards the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, passing a group of monks and the ferris wheel in the garden. Taylor informed me that Asian's were the best tourist photographers to ask for pictures, since they usually make sure to get the best shots possible (this is a compliment to all Asians!), and we quickly asked a bubbly group of Taiwanese girls to take a photo of us in front of the Louvre and the arc. We did the same for them, and tried to copy their "excited" photo, but I somewhat failed trying to have my "joy" come across in a photo. We decided to save going to the Louvre for Sunday, since it is free that day, but not until 6 on Fridays and we had other things on the "to do" list.
The next stop was la Conciergerie, the one palace turned prison that Marie Antoinette, former Queen of France, was held. Those who entered the building had two ways out- to be found innocent of the crime, or to be sent to the guillotine. I think we all know which of the two ways Marie got out of there. It was interesting to see that the prison also had a hierarchial setup. Those that were very poor slept on hay, while those that were famous or could "purchase" better living were given items such as beds, desks, and even writing materials.
Across the street, we walked into Shakespeare and Company again, thinking that I would be able to find the next two books in the "Hunger Games" series. They had sold out! Taylor was actually the one who recommended the books to me, and now my goal at every English book store has been to find the other two in the trilogy. I am beginning to lose hope, but luckily purchased two more books from Village Voice that may hold me over for a while. We had been walking for a while, and I finally found Amorino, where they scoop their gelato to look like flower petals. After heading back to St. John's and deciding that we were going to see "Midnight in Paris" in a few hours, we headed to Luxembourg Gardens for some wine and dinner. We found a bottle that was 2 euro. Perfect. Then we found a great patisserie where we both ordered a yummy croquet monsieur. It was much better than the one I had in Loire Valley, and I think I am ready to try the croque madame, which is the same but with an egg! After eating our sandwiches in the gardens, me failing at opening the wine and having to push the cork in, and enjoying my first chocolate religieuses, we headed to the movie theater. Luckily, the movie was in English with French sub-titles. The acting was not the best, but it was a great movie to see in Paris since it highlighted famous artists, eras, and places to see. The best past though was that Taylor and I had seen most of the places in the movie that day, and even our theater had a small part in the reel. The first day turned out really well, and I can't wait to tour Montmartre for the first time tomorrow!