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Paris- Les Meilleurs et Les Misérables

Second trip, many lessons learned, many inspirations gained

overcast 2 °C

It is hard to reverse first impressions. My first encounter with Paris four years ago left me with a lasting impression of gray skies and gloomy streets. Two weeks ago, my wanderlust and fascination with the French culture fueled my compulsive purchase of Eurostar tickets to Paris. I wanted to give it a second try and take advantage of the close proximity of London to Paris.

The trip, in Christine's words, " was everything, the good and the bad." I will begin with the good part.

Les Meilleurs
1. La Musee d'Orsay - a pleasant and relaxing art museum with the largest collection of Impressionist Paintings by Monet, Manet, and Degas.
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The open and relaxing ground floor of the museum, scattered artistically with sculptures and students with their sketching pads
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My Favorite Statue in the museum
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The ornate clock hanging above the entrance - a popular theme of many sketches by students around the museum

2. Les Jardins du Rodin - a lovely sculptures garden
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The gardens were sprinkled with sculptures, but the museum (yellow house in the background) shows the magnitude of Rodin's prolificness with its thousands of sculptures in different forms and shapes.
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The famous "Thinker"
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Then Pensive Dancer
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He was talented at capturing human passions and erotic feelings in alabaster stones
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Strength
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Softness
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I wish I could do this

3. Basilique du Sacré Cœur - The Cathedral that crowns the Montmartre hill, claiming the title of the highest point in Paris
I remember the artists, portrait painters, stunt performers who clustered aroun this artsy and free-spirited district on my first trip. Although my school trip did not portray Paris in its most exciting facets, Montmartre left a sparkling imprint on my memory, calling me to visit again.
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On my way to the Sacre Coeur, I discovered this desperate steel man trying hard to master the art of walking through walls.
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The artists' yard
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The immaculate facade, three domes fashioned after the Roman style of architecture
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The Altar and the vaulting dome - I look this picture by putting my life on the line against the French laws (which are so rigorous that I find them unsympathetic. Unfortunately, I will encounter the brunt of their brutality later)
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The intriguing details
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The view of Paris from the top of Montmartre
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The surrounding scenery of Sacré Cœur

3. The Louvre - my first blitz trip through this ginormous museum four years ago was only 2-hours short. This time, we spent a satisfactory three hours to absorb the massive amount of arts in this world-famous museum. One Tip: go after 6pm on Friday, students have free admissions.
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Caesar: I command thee to appreciate art with eyes filled with admiration.
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As delicate as the fabric around the beautiful dame
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Venus de Millo
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Derrick and the statue posing as Jane =)
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The impression Egyptian collection
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The Turkish Bath by Jean Dominique Ingres - A painting that I did a French presentation on a year ago, which now I had the chance to behold before me
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Winged Victory
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Cherub: follow me
Me: lead me to the architectural center

4. La Défense - the modern commercial center on the Northwest border of Paris, which drew me to pay a quick visit on Saturday morning.
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The modern parody of the triumphant arch - looks like trousers to me...
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Interesting architecture
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Cherry trees in the midst of concrete and steel
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Wonder what this building is used for...hmmm!
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The avant-garde twist of an arcade
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Do you spot the arch of triumph in the distance?

5. The church that I stumbled into in the Latin Quarter, perhaps called Saint-Michel - instilled in me deep feeling of peacefulness
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The rose windows
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The Gothic Vaults
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The Recess where contemplation was the natural occupation

6. Les Jardins du Luxemburg - garden that adorns the Parisien cityscape, which would be much prettier to visit in the summer
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Grasses are green, trees are bare
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The Parliament
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Imagine all the branches green with lush foliage
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Beautiful sculptures and statues dot the garden lands

7. Le Pantheon - the sacred burial ground of famous men
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the imposing facade
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The decorated ceilings
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The towering and vaulting hallways
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Victor Hugo finds his final resting place here
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Alexandre Dumas
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Emile Zola
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Louis Braille - the creator of the blind's language

8. Notre Dame Cathedral
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View of the Seine river from one of the many bridges connecting the North and South shores
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Candles of hopes
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Rose Window
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The Flamboyant Gothic style
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While waiting to go up to the towers of Notre Dame, Derrick opened his magical box of divine-tasting macaroons
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The Pensive Gargoyle - I like it so much. I bought a magnet in its shape to be put on my fridge at home.
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Paris!
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We see Sacre Coeur from its religious counterpart

9. Late night dinner with Christine - exhausted after a whole day of travel, we had our midnight meal at a diner in the vicinity of our hostel, traditional American cheese burgers!
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We were starving

Now moving onto the less fortunate aspects, a.k.a., lessons I learned along the trip
1. Always buy subway tickets in Paris and always keep the tickets until you leave the station
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We got 40 Euros fines at the checkpoint station to Eiffel Tower. The French police were ruthless. Even if you bought a ticket and misplaced it, you would still be facing a stern-faced police telling you: "forty euros now or seventy euros later."

2. Missing our bus - we did not get on our overnight bus from London to Paris on Thursday evening, which led to buying a rush Eurostar ticket - overpriced at 4X the regular price...

The biggest lessons we learned on this trip are all transportation-related. Now, the nugget of wisdom we will carry with us for future travels is never missing our scheduled bus/train/flight and comply with all traffic laws.

Overall, the Paris trip was a mixed box of chocolates and licorice - some sweetness and some bitterness.

Posted by Ceci's Cre 14:32 Archived in France Tagged paris

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