Saturday, February 20, 2010

Should we use the lift?

This morning was so productive, and this afternoon definitely wasn't! I woke up, changed my sheets, practiced my flute, organized all my notebooks for my classes (I had taken lots of notes during the first week of backup classes, and all in the same notebook, so I rewrote the notes for all my final classes in individual notebooks - very nerdy!), practiced my flute, and read a little.

Then, I went to meet up with Alexandra and Therese and her friends (Therese is visiting this weekend from London, where she's been studying abroad since September). Therese and her friends were on a walking tour of Paris, so first, Alexandra and I had to find them and crash the tour! Don't worry - it was a free tour, so I don't think crashing it was really frowned upon. Alexandra found them first, and then I caught up. The tour was horrible. There was this British guy leading it, and all he talked about was The Da Vinci Code. Ever since I found out that Dan Brown lied to me about something so trivial as the line inside Saint Sulpice, I just haven't liked him or his books. I suppose I just took it personally - if he lied to me about that, then who's to say that he didn't lie about the more important stuff? I bet the holy grail isn't buried underneath the inverted pyramid at the Louvre like he said it was either! That, and the fact that it's a formula book where every chapter was two pages long and ended with a cliff hanger, so after the first 30 pages, I was bored because it was too exciting. Anyway, this tour guide blabbed on and on about all the sites from that book, sometimes about how they were wrong, and when he wasn't talking about that, he was talking about other excursions his company offers. Ultimately, it was a waste for Alexandra and me, since we had already seen the Louvre and Les Tuileries, and the Opera Garnier and whatever else he was going to show them. So, Alexandra and I bailed and actually went inside the Louvre.

Most museums in Paris are free if you're under 26 and a member of the European Union or a student, so Alexandra and I can get in for free by showing our student cards, which our programs conveniently wrote "histoire de l'art" on, so it looks like we're studying art history. Apparently, that's all it takes. One of the people in charge of CUPA told us that, when you turn 26 in Paris, it's kind of like your life is over. So, Alexandra and I visited the Egyptian exhibit, but the most interesting part for me was, of course, the building itself. Before the start of the exhibit, first we saw some of the walls of the old castle (the Louvre used to be a palace) that they found when they started digging to build the underground entrance that connects all four wings of the museum. Then, we got to the artifacts, which Alexandra found much more interesting than I did, mostly because she actually studied in Egypt during Intersession freshman year. For me, I kind of think it's a shame that the Louvre is a museum and not just another castle. I know I got bored with the castles in the Loire Valley, but the Louvre has so many different architectural styles all in one building - every king who lived there added another wing in his own style. It's massive! And it's right across the street from where Louis XIV grew up. He didn't like it too much, though - all the rebellions gave him nightmares (I suppose five-year-old kings can still wet the bed). So, he moved out to Versailles - building a bigger, better castle with more garden room and completely bankrupting France. It's okay, because the French Revolution inspired some great literature!

After the Louvre, we swung by Berthillon so I could get a last cone before it closed for two weeks. It was worth it: chocolate and chestnut rum. Mmmmmm! Then, we went to Montmartre for dinner with Therese and her friends, and then went up to Sacre Coeur, just narrowly avoiding the bracelet men (they're very annoying - they try to grab your arm and put a bracelet on it, then won't let you leave until you pay them for the bracelet). That white church looks beautiful at night, and I'm now a very good guide after the afternoon with Sabrina two weeks ago.

Tomorrow morning, I have to get up early. We're going to go to Versailles at 9:00, so I'm going to stop here. Sorry about the lack of pictures. I forgot my camera today.

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