It's been a while since the last post, but at long last, I've visited Montmartre. Ever since learning about impressionism in class this year, I've been in love with the Parisian neighborhood and the history behind it. During the 19th century nearly every prominent artist, writer, and revolutionary were living, working, and hanging out together in Montmartre. Getting to be in the same place that all this amazingness was once happening was such a fantastic experience.
The best part of the day was getting to watch a street performer juggle a soccer ball on top of a tiny pillar on the stairs leading up to Sacre Coeur. We watched his entire performance and I ended up with what I think are some of the best pictures I've taken in Paris.
Last week started off with a day at the Louvre, aka an equally wonderful and claustrophobic day. We fought our way through to the Grande Galerie, passing Mona Lisa on the way (because who actually wants to struggle through a crowd of tourists when you can just safely look from 20 feet away?).
Tuesday, we met at Jeu du Paume at the end of the Tuileries. I was a little bummed we didn't actually go inside Jeu du Paume because it was the location of the famous "Oath of the Tennis Court" drawn by Jean-Jacques David, but just getting to be around it was still pretty cool. We popped into the Madeline while we were nearby and then took a break for lunch.
Later we met up at Buttes Chaumont, a massive park in the 19th arrondissement. Unlike a lot of the other parks and gardens in Paris, this one felt way more natural, even though it was mostly manmade. Imagine Central Park but a little smaller and much more hilly. We climbed up a cliff in the center of the park and got an awesome view of the whole city.
Wednesday, we spent the whole day at the Musee d'Orsay. Needless to say, that made it a pretty awesome couple of hours. I could move in to the Orsay and never leave and never want to leave. Again, no pictures allowed... but it's still an awesome place. I gave my presentation on the influence of photography on Impressionism on the crowded 5th floor during the second half of class. Periodically tourists would start to join our group and listen to me talk about Degas or Monet. I had the urge to stop and shoo them away but felt that might sidetrack the presentation.
After class I RAN home because my best friend Olivia arrived that afternoon from Austria. Eager to get our week together started, I planned a bread and cheese dinner on the Seine for that night... but the rainy Paris weather impeded that exciting trip. Instead we accidentally ate all my bread and cheese as an early dinner the second Olivia got in. That night we just explored and I showed her around my temporary home.
Thursday, Olivia joined us for class at the Opera where we got to see some insane architecture and beautiful ballet costumes. I'm hoping to actually go see the ballet, albeit from the ballet equivalent of the nosebleeds, when my mom arrives here this weekend! After we ended at the Opera, we moved towards the Musee de la Vie Romantique where they had an adorable cafe with tables in the garden. Like the Musee d'Orsay, you can't take pictures at the Musee de la Vie Romantique, but the best pictures were definitely of the garden cafe anyway.
Friday, we started off at the Catacombs which I was pumped about but ever so slightly less pumped about once we saw the line to get in. Luckily, our awesome professor speaks french more than fluently, especially when it comes to arguing with guards or getting us the best appointments. We jumped the line and walked in right away. On the way in Olivia pointed out a warning to people with "cardiac or respiratory inefficiencies", which is funny because why would you phrase it like that and because both my heart and lungs are relatively inefficient (but not in a dangerous way, the catacombs didn't kill me).
That afternoon we took a very long boat ride down the St. Martin Canal, which might have felt less long and more enjoyable had the sun not been so staggeringly hot. We saw some cool architecture and a really interesting park along the ride, and I'm now the proud owner of an awkward one shoulder sunburn.
Saturday, Olivia and I started the day at the outdoor market down the street in order to buy some food for dinner and splurge for a bouquet of peonies (some dark fuchsia for Olivia and some light pink for me). Later we went to Jardin du Luxembourg which was beautiful under the perfectly blue sky. We explored, found some bees, watched toy sailboats race, and took in the sunshine before we headed off to shop around the area. By 5 we were exhausted and we headed home for a rest and some homemade dinner.
Sunday, we woke up early to try to make it to the Musee d'Orsay by 9:30 since it was the free first Sunday of the month. We were sincerely worried about the length of the line when we arrived at the museum, but the line moved quickly and we were inside in no time. Despite the free admission, the museum was relatively empty as I lead Olivia around, talking to her about all my favorite paintings (which was most of them). To end her last day here, Olivia and I ate crepes under the Eiffel Tower, the perfect end to a quick visit from my bestie in Paris.