It's been hard to put into words my feelings about our trip, but I'll try to organize my thoughts as best as possible.
These were my favorite experiences during our time in Paris:
|Top Left: Palais de Tokyo, Top Right: Musee D'Orsay, Bottom: Centre Pompidou|
We somehow fit in a little bit of time at The Louvre, The Musée D'Osay, Musée de L'Orangerie, Palais de Tokyo and Centre Georges Pompidou (buying a museum pass was incredibly helpful). It was amazing to see so many works of art in person that I'd only seen in books. The Palais de Tokyo and Centre Georges Pompidou are both contempory art museums with interesting, fun exhibits in modern spaces. I loved the architecture within the Musée D'Orsay best - it's a converted train station - but found it complicated to walk through the space. It did remind me how much I appreciate the work of Manet, Degas, and Van Gogh. L'Orangerie is a smaller museum tucked beside the Jardin des Tuileries and it provided one of the most awe-inspiring moments of the trip for me (I'll go into that more in the next post). The Louvre was extremely busy, although the space was well designed for so many people, and we only stuck to the Greek & Roman sculpture and Italian Renaissance Art sections, but again, seeing so many master works in person (pieces by DaVinci, Raphael, El Greco, and Titian, as well as famous sculptures like "Winged Victory") was incredibly inspirational.
p.s. - If you've never been to The Louvre and are curious at all of what it's like to try to view the Mona Lisa, this should give you an idea of the chaos:
Lounging in the Jardin des Tuileries
We found ourselves in the Tuileries three or four times during our trip. Whether we were watching children push sailboats in a fountain, eating lunch near sculptures and manicured foliage, or riding the giant ferris wheel beside the park, we constantly found enjoyment and relaxation there. I even relaxed so much in one of their reclining chairs one afternoon that I fell asleep for 10 or 15 minutes - we'd been walking all day up to that point, but still, I hardly ever fall asleep in public, so that says a lot about how relaxing the Tuileries is. I'm about to tell you something very silly. I don't know if I'd call it a hobby, but I sometimes think of myself as maybe not a connoisseur, but at least an appreciator of parks, ranking the ones in my head that I've been to and developing reasons for why I like some better than others and right now, The Tuileries tops my all time list, knocking down my previous favorite, New York's Central Park (yes, Jesse, even though Central Park has a zoo...).
We stuffed ourselves on macarons from Ladurée, ice-cream from Berthillon, buttery pastries every morning, the best omelettes I've ever tasted, delicious cheese assortments and even foie gras! Luckily we walked constantly the whole trip or we both would have come back to the U.S. twenty pounds heavier.
|San Francisco Book Company|
We visited two wonderful bookshops - The San Francisco Book Company, a used book shop catering to American and English books, and Shakespeare and Company, a very famous bookshop that used to be frequented by Beat Generation writers and made cameos in both Before Sunset and Midnight in Paris.
I bought a very special copy of Brideshead Revisited (remember my summer reading list?) from The San Francisco Book Company, which I'll show you soon. Shakespeare and Co. might be one of my new favorite places on earth - there are reading nooks all over, British editions of well-known American books, a typewriter on the second floor for visitors to type and post their thoughts on the wall....it's a book lovers dream and a throwback to a very romantic time period.
Finding Everything I Collect in One City
The city was teaming with photo booths, so we took four different photo strips. There are also numerous carousels and quirky trinket shops - my favorites were Tombées du camion (where the two photos at the top came from) and Le Rocketship. I had so many things to ooh and ahh over and I couldn't believe that everything I liked seemed to be located in this city in just a few block radius!
The Unbelievable Architecture
Everywhere we looked, even in alleyways and side streets, we saw overwhelmingly ornate architecture. On our first morning wandering around, we had to stand still for a several minutes, because every direction we turned featured something more breathtaking and we couldn't decide which direction to pursue first. I left Paris convinced that it was the most beautiful city I'd ever seen.
These are some of my favorite experiences from the trip, but there were a couple of moments, spurred on by very specific things, that actually made me catch my breath or almost choke up. I was surprised that I could have that much of an emotional reaction to nature or architecture or art, but it definitely happened and I'll cover that in my next post.
(all photos taken by either me or Jesse)