I returned from my amazing trip to the UK & Ireland on March 1st, and when I got back to Paris, although it was still cloudy and a little chilly, it was a huge step up from the freezing cold wind chill I had been experiencing the last 10 days, so I was ecstatic! I could feel that it was much warmer in Paris, and I was happy with that, even if there was still no sun. When I got back to the apartment, it was empty. Danielle left just a few days before my return to go spend some time at her home in the country. She and her daughter, Gabrielle, purchased a home in Pompadour, France a few years back, and I later came to find out that it’s a very special place to their family and in particular, her late husband.
She had told me that there was a lot of work to be done there, i.e. painting the walls, working in the garden, decorating, etc., so she went to spend about three weeks down there working. She left me a long, very sweet note, letting me know that she cleaned my room and the whole apartment, left me clean towels, sheets and cleaning materials, and hoped that I had an amazing trip. Although I had a huge paper due in two days, I went straight to sleep for a few hours, since I just spent the entire night awake in the Dublin airport.
In classic Michelle fashion, even when I woke up, I couldn’t concentrate on my paper that night, and just focused on uploading the pictures from my camera, and skyping with my family, who I hardly got to speak to during my trip.
Monday the 2nd, was spent working on my mid-term paper for my Cross Cultural Barriers class. My paper was comparing cultures and their roles on business in the U.S. and France. I had a pretty hard time with it, and even missed my Tuesday French cinema class to keep working on it. Luckily, my class didn’t start until 5:15 so I had most of the day to work on it. I had to run to a shop down the street to use a printer to get it printed out, and then rushed to the metro to get to class in time, but I made it! I was entirely displeased with how the paper turned out, but my motto for this semester is: “pass/fail baby!”
The rest of that week was busy, so I didn’t get to enjoy my first real glimpse of warm weather in Paris, but not having class on Fridays, I took advantage of the sunny day on March 6th and took a picnic to the Tuileries garden before visiting the Louvre. I was feeling pretty “up” that day and feeling my make up, but let’s take a second to look at how thick I drew on my eyebrows that day. (I ran out of my eyebrow pencil and had to improvise for a couple weeks so I had some off days..but still had a guy try to pick me up in the metro that day, ha!)
Anyway, I took the metro to Tuileries, and parked myself in one of the many slightly reclined chairs surrounding one of the ponds. The sun was out, and I was in JUST a sweater.. A sweater! It only took about two full months for me to finally get some warm sun in my life.
I ate my little picnic of a sandwich, chips, clementines, and my favorite drink of all time in Paris; Lipton peach tea. I listened to music while I ate, and felt very tranquil and happy people-watching.
When I started to feel chilly again, I made my way through the gardens and to the museum. I think it really takes at least 3 visits to the Louvre to really get a grasp of how immensely huge it is, and to ultimately accept that you might never see everything, so I tried to go and explore as much of the museum as I could as many times as possible. If you ever have nothing to do in Paris, you can always visit the Louvre and find something you haven’t seen before. (Except on Tuesdays.) I walked to the fairly long line to get inside, and took some pictures of the outside since I didn’t really get to do so when I went with Danielle’s friend.
Once I got inside I looked at my favorite statue, The Winged Victory of Samothrace
The rest of my time was spent going through the enormous Egyptian section; it really is an unbelievable collection of ancient artifacts, sarcophagi, and even a mummy. I’m not normally one to take photos of my whole visits to museums, so I didn’t take many pictures, but I did take pictures out the windows at the pretty sunset.
Seeing as there hadn’t been much sun until this point, there also hadn’t been many sunsets for me to see in Paris so far, so this was a big deal for me! The Louvre stays open late on Fridays, but I was pretty tired after two or three hours, so I left and went home and cooked dinner.
The next evening, I got see an even more beautiful sunset from my kitchen window. As always, the photos don’t do the sunset justice, and this one really could have rivaled with an Albuquerque sunset, so I took a bunch of pictures anyway. I apologize that most of them are crooked, I had to hang outside of my eighth-story window to get a good view so I had to also try not to fall out or drop my camera. It really was beautiful!
That Sunday, the 8th of March, was another beautiful, sunny day, and Gisele and I decided to go out and do something. Our original idea was to take a guided tour of the Paris Opera House (where the Phantom of the Opera takes place.) When we got there, we were in awe. It is such a beautiful building! We took some pictures in front of it, but the guy who took our picture together didn’t do the best job. In my opinion, when someone asks you to take their picture in front of something, you should try to get the entirety of the background thing in the picture, because the person obviously wants it in the picture. Oh well, he tried!
We went to the ticket office, and there was a sign on the door saying that the guided tours weren’t happening that day for who knows what unlucky reason. We were disappointed but decided to just sit on the front steps with a large crowed gather to watch a street performing giving a little concert while enjoying some sun. We talked, listened to music, and relaxed, before deciding to walk around a little. We walked on the “Grands Boulevards” which is in a pretty neighborhood full of the typical “Haussmannian” architecture we all picture when we think of Paris. We started craving Amorino gelato and decided to take a trip to the center of Paris to get some. When we arrived at the Saint Michel (Michael) fountain, I realized we were really close to a beautiful old church near Notre Dame called “Sainte Chapelle.” Gisele hadn’t visited this church yet, so I knew she had no idea what was coming when she went inside, (I visited it on my first trip to Paris.)
Thanks to our student discounts, we got in for free, and when you first walk in it is pretty, but nothing spectacular. I could see she was impressed and thought this was the main event, but I led her up the spiral staircase to the upper chapel, and I saw her jaw drop.
I mean come on.. This is beautiful!
Of course, it’s much more spectacular in person than in pictures, but just to give you a small taste of this amazing amount of stained glass. This church dates back to the 1200’s and is in great condition, but at the same time, there are many things that really show how old the place is. This sunny day was also a perfect day to get the effect of the windows.
After that, we strolled along the Seine, and chose a nice spot to stop and sit with our feet dangling over the river.
It was warm, and just a perfect day to sit and chat. Gisele and I always find things to talk about and get to know more and more about each other and where we come from, and of course, there is always time for selfies.
As the sun began to get closer to setting, my sweater finally became a little too light, but we weren’t cold enough to forget about our gelato. Amorino is a popular gelato place that I’ve only ever seen in Paris, but I’m sure is probably all over Europe. When you get a cone, they scoop it into a flower shape, which never gets old. It is absolutely delicious!
I got Amorino chocolate, vanilla bean and raspberry flavors, and being a fat-ass, I got the large size, but I’m not ashamed, it was amazing, and the perfect end to a really lovely sunny weekend.