It has been a wonderful trip–and such camaradarie. We’ve been to all sides of the city, and many museums, to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and many other heights. Today was our last part of the program–we finished up the evening with a stroll through the Marais, which literally means “the marshes.” What was once wetlands growing all kinds of vegetables is now trendy shops and paved alleys in between landmarks of great architectural beauty–Hotel de Ville, notably, and then the beautiful Place de Vosges. One place we did not have on our itinerary, but which is a personal favorite, is the jardins du luxembourg–and to my delight, we strolled right along it to look up into the gardens. The park was closed and our journey was coming to an end, but for me it was a wink from an old favorite place that all journey ends have beginnings. It is exciting that our students are all talking about their next trips! But for now we are headed home.
Today we spent the morning viewing abstract art in the Pompadou. Afterwards we had a few hours of free time where the group split into smaller groups so we could spend some time shopping for souveniers for friends and family. My small group found a quaint little jewelry store where we found some unique earrings- a perfect souvenir to bring home. After shopping we stopped by Shakespeare and Company where we spent an hour reading. It was a unique way to rest while we were waiting to meet up with the rest of the group. This evening we went to Le Chat Que Peche, meaning A Fishing Cat, where we ate lamb chops and lava cake. It was a good last day and now everyone is packing and preparing for a trip home tomorrow.
I am amazed at all of the history of Paris and the art in the museums that I was able to take in over this spring break. This trip was an experience I will never forget and is just the begining of the travels I want to do.
We’re here. sitting at breakfast getting ready for our last full day in the city. Yesterday was full of the most memorable art and sculpture, bracketing a few hours of free time during the day to explore the areas around the Louvre. We were also on our own for dinner and the evening, and spent some time visiting and revisiting some favorite spots. Yesterday was Da Vinci, Monet, Caravagio and Botticelli; today is the Museum of Modern Art.
One of the most interesting parts of visiting different parts of the world is getting to know what to worry about- and what not to be concerned about in a non-American big city. Paris feels extremely safe- I don’t know that I’ve felt this at ease in DC or NYC. I got kissed by the most charming con-man yesterday, a gentleman who tried to make me believe I had dropped an expensive ring and that he deserved the price of a cup of coffee for returning it. In NYC or DC, I’d’ve disengaged and walked away as fast as possible. In Paris, the encounter generated lots of laughter, pigeon Franglish, much kissing and bowing, and no sense of danger at all. We knew what was happening from the start, and almost felt like we were participating in street theater.
The first day started in a blur of activities. First, we landed at Charles de Gualle Aiport, then after we settled into our hotel we went down to the Seine River and took a ride on a boat called a Bateau Mouche. Then due to the surprising amount of time left before dinner reservations, we jumped schedule and went up the Eiffel Tower. As we went up the first elevator, my knees weekened as I looked down; surprisingly, the second elevator was not as frightening. We arrived at the top at what I have been told is the best time — sunset. The city by night is amazing because the roads diverge from the the Arc de Triomphe in a pattern called l’etoile (the star) or twelve roads. The city of light was seen in its glory.
Day two: we went to the market and bought lunch (I had a baguette and an apple). The rest of the afternoon I walked around Paris with a couple of our group. That evening we enjoyed a bike ride through the town around the Eiffel Tower and a number of other attractions, capably led by a laid back Coloradan named Seth
A point I have failed to mention, thus far, is that our guide, Iain, is incredible.
Today we met a little earlier than usual in order to visit Musee L’Orangerie, originally a greenhouse, which now houses Monet’s Water Lily Series. The huge canvases stretched around two oval rooms: a total of eight massive works filling the rooms with calming blues and greens. Free time was spent wandering around the fancy stores of Rue du Rivoli, including Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel.
This afternoon we visited the Louvre. Our tour began with a history of the museum. We saw the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, several Leonardo da Vinci’s, including Madonna of the Rocks, the massive Wedding at Cana by Veronese, as well as works by Delacroix and Raphael.
My evening finished with a trip to the market for bread and cheese.