Bonjour mes Amis!
Je regrette que it has been a while. As you see, my French is not so great, but I’m trying! I guess you could say I am ticking off #16 on my list to parler plus francais! I certainly am doing well enough to survive but I definitely use a lot of supplementary gestures and nonsensical French to get my points across!
Paris est très, très magnificent!
I have now been here for a week (as of today!) and I can’t believe how much we have done. I sincerely apologise for the delay in getting this post up and I promise to try my absolute best that the next won’t take so long. I certainly walked at least double what I do in Toronto on each of my first two days, and probably a few other days as well. Hopefully all the additional walking will help prevent me from gaining weight from all of the amazing food I’ve been devouring!! (I expect I’ll be able to write at least two or three posts on the food alone!!)
Apart from all of the FANTASTIC institutions I’ve been to (stay tuned for a separate update as that was also on my list…among many other cool things, I got to see originals from some of my most recently studied photographers such as Eugene Atget and Eadweard Muybridge – yes, photography friends, I all but peed my pants/feinted/a combination of the two), I’m happy to say that I have already completed several things on my Paris to-do list, so here is the update, of course avec les photos!
In one day, I got to stroll along the Champs-Elysees; cross one of the love lock bridges; see the Notre Dame Cathedral, Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and the infamous Louvre pyramid; stroll along the riverside; and visit the Shakespeare and Co. store avec trois belles filles fantastiques. Unfortunately, the weather was very weird that day with pouring rain one minute and sunshine ten minutes later, but we were armed with our umbrellas and did not let it stop us. I’ve also been to the Pantheon, eaten lots of patisseries delicieuse et beaucoup du fromage, I am drinking more vin than usual and I also have done a few bonuses not on my list such as seen the Bastille and visited the ?? Museum. (Stay tuned for upcoming posts..)
For sake of trying to keep this post somewhat short (is that even possible?), I shall only talk about two of my achievements here – besides, it will motivate me to write more sooner! So here goes…
3. Stroll down the Camps-Élysées
As previously stated, the weather was very iffy but for the most part we got lucky along this beautiful street. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people walking along one street except for kadooment festivities, parades or protests! It was also pretty hilarious to see a McDonald’s nestled between all the designer stores along the Champs-Élysées! Unfortunately I didn’t snap a shot of this irony, but hopefully I will another day! We popped into H and M and it was also interesting to see that the bags have the Champs-Élysées address on the bag – clearly a tourist marketing scheme!
Here a few shots of your truly on the Champs-Élysées. I also loved the absurd number of French flags that lined the street!
7. Go to L’Opera National de Paris
That’s just fancy talk for go to the Opera! The old one, of course. Recently they built the “New Opera” near the Bastille, where you go to actually see/hear opera. The old Opera (where I went) is now predominantly for ballet – though our show still incorporated opera (which was fantastic). The main point, of course, is not really to see a show – but merely just to see the building itself.
Our wonderful course coordinator not only plans a spectacular course, but also tries to expose us to as much French culture as he possibly can – including seeing the Opera. As photography/art-interested students, this is definitely a treat. Granted, they are not the best seats and I chose to stand the entire night to see the show rather than crane my neck. The show (Orphee et Eurydice) was pretty good, though a touch too modern for my taste (I personally am a true lover of classical ballet – you know, tutus, pointe shoes, etc.) however I still have an appreciation for the work that goes into such shows. All of that being said, I’d have been happy just seeing the building itself. The Chagall ceiling was as beautiful as I’d been told, however I think the sheer scale, the elaborate decor and the abundant sculpture was truly my favourite, as well as the beautiful lighting fixtures. The photographs don’t nearly do it justice (especially since I just took my point-and-shoot…) however the architecture and interiors are nothing short of breathtaking. If you are ever in Paris, the National Opera is an absolute must! Just buy the cheapest tickets, regardless of the show, and I guarantee it will be worth it the moment you step inside.
Added bonus: You might see some celebs – we saw Tilda Swinden! (sorry, no photos :()
C’est très grande!
Just two of the amazing sculptures outside the grand facade.
Obligatory tourist photo of yours truly! 🙂
Detail of one of the paintings on the ceiling in the main entrance area.
Photos really don’t do it justice…but it gives you an idea.
The one and only Chagall ceiling.