Monday, February 13, 2012

I Didn't Expect to See YOU Here

Bonjour mes amis!

Yesterday was Sunday our first full day in France and our first full day without our students.  They were the responsibility of their host families yesterday, so j-ster and I went to Paris and this is what we saw:

The Velib bikes which are great in the city.  You subscribe for a reasonable amount of money and then you just wave your card at the stand and take a bike and then when you're done, you return it to any stand in the city.  THey have this in Boston now too.  It was too cold for biking but in the summer, I would want to do this as a tourist!

The buildings that make you think of Paris.  I like the beige stone that they are made of and the style of the architecture itself.

This is the monument at Place Bastille which is where the Bastille prison was located.  Today, the prison is gone and the French celebrate Bastille day as their independence day on July 14th.  This is a tribute.  There's a gold statue at the top.

This a new opera house that is right near the Bastille.  They still have the old Paris opera house, which is where the Phantom of the Opera was set, but this is a more modern building.

I look at this kind of building and know I am in Paris or Washington DC.  I'm sure some of you know the style of design, but I just like to look at it!

 There were two guys doing some chalk drawings on the ground near the Centre Pompidou, a cultural center named after President Georges Pompidou.  I didn't love th picture but it was quite detailed and they were working hard and it's supposed to rain, so it will be a lot work for little reward!

Right outside the Centre Pompidou is a fountain called Firebird which is a tribute to Stravinsky's composition called Firebird.  I love this fountain and I've never seen it empty.  Since it was empty, people were walking through it, so I got up close and personal with some of my favorite pieces in the fountain.

These lips actually spit out water when the fountain is on and I think it's hysterical.   I also thought it was pretty hysterical to be running around inside the fountain.

This is the actual Centre Pompidou.  It was considered a monstrosity when it was built, as anything new in Paris first is.  Today, it's considered a piece of art itself and they've gotten over it.  The pipes are all exposed as you see and they are colored for the purpose they serve.  Inside is a library, theater, exhibit hall and maybe a cafeteria, I forget.  We didn't go inside yesterday.

We went to this boulangerie twice.  First, to get j-ster a quiche for lunch and I got a sandwich.  The sandwiches here make me laugh because they are made from a baguette (the long French bread) and are usually ham or cheese or both.  YEsterday's selections mostly involved mayonnaise to which I have a very strong aversion in France because I believe I ate some bad mayonnaise here once, so I had to search high and low for non-mayo.  And had to get ham and cheese and butter.  Which sounds British.  But I was starving from all of the walking, so it was quite tasty.

We went back a while later so j-ster could buy a croissant and I took tons of pictures because you know how I feel about croissants.  These pastries are ridiculously pretty.  I just look because I can't imagine buying and digging in to such a pretty thing.  It helped me not gain 45 pounds the first time I was in France because if I'd eaten one each time I'd seen them, well, that would have been ugly.

This is the Hotel De Ville which is Paris town hall.  They put up an ice skating rink just in front and I thought it had already been taken down.  I 've always thought it was just a free for all but it's actually quite organized and you can rent skates.  They have people monitoring the ice and everyone has to behave. And you have a limited amount of time because people are waiting.  We might take the kids there one of the evenings that we are in Paris together.  We have several ice hockey  players with us and though I haven't skated since 5th grade, I might give it a whirl.

I had to take a picture of this stretch Hummer because a) my sister e-ster loves them, b) k-ster loves them and c) it's the last thing I'd expect to see in Paris!  It's so tight driving there, I can't imagine!

Notre Dame.  We will be going back with kids, so we didn't spend too much time there.  You can see the Paris grey skies arrived by the time we got there and it got colder and darker as the day went on.  This is the first time I've seen Notre Dame without scaffolding because they've been sandblasting it each time I've seen it!

See, I really am here in Paris!

We stopped at a cafe before taking the train back to e-ster's and this picture is quintessential Paris cafe.  We just had coffee and tea and it was too unpleasant to sit outside, so we sat by the window.

As we were about to leave the train station for the 30 minute right back to e-ster's, I heard a kid yelling MADAME MADAME and running toward us but I thought it was just a French kid.  Lo and behold, it was 4 of our kids with their host kids taking the train back with us!  THey'd been in Paris for the day, getting a whirlwind tour and they had had a blast and were very excited.  The French kids have been so nice to them so far and seem equally thrilled to have finally met them.

Earlier in the day, I told j-ster it would be funny if we ran into some kids as we were walking around, so it wasn't such a shock that we ended up seeing some in the station.  We figure a lot of kids probably ended up in Paris with their host families or the hosting student because for French kids to run off to Paris for a few hours is no big deal here.

This is the RER train which is the Metro for the suburbs.  There are various versions of trains that service this line and the morning train looked to me like an old TGV which is the high speed train.  This one here is a typical RER train which is a 2 decker subway.  I actually preferred this one to the one we took in the morning.  I found it more comfortable.  We didn't sit with the kids, in fact, we think they were in a different car all together, but as we got off, we checked in with them again before we all went "home" for supper and better sleeping last night. 

I think that's a memory they'll have for a while:  running into us in Paris!

Ok kids, class dismissed.  Let's meet again tomorrow for more!

1 comment:

  1. It's nice that I can keep up with your trip! Other than the cold, it looks like you're having a good time so far.
    L, Mom


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