Hello! As I said earlier, the past 48 hours have truly been a whirlwind of activity! Now I am ready to settle in, compose my thoughts, and most importantly, finish my Nutella Panini!
Two days ago, vendredi mai 27, we started out by going to the Saint-Denis Basilica. There is an interesting story about this church. St. Denis was a Christian who was persecuted for preaching the Gospel. He was decapitated as punishment. However, after the beheading, he supposedly picked up his head, walked 5,000 paces, and fell down. Saint-Denis was built where he fell down and died. This church was very beautiful. It houses the tombs of many of France’s great Kings, such as Clovis and Francois le 1er. Also, Joan of Arc marched into this church and offered up her weapons to God. Unfortunately, the museum workers were on strike, so we couldn’t see them! My first French strike….Good thing I have my CGT shirt!
After our visit to the church was cut short, it was a shopping day! All the girls (and our favorite Italian professor, Maria-Theresa) went to les grands magazines, or the big stores! These are seriously huge. I thought the Macy’s in New York was large, but these span several flights and several buildings! We went to Lafayette. After some serious window shopping, Hailey and I headed to the top where we got some awesome views of the city- the Opera, la Tour Eiffel, L’Arc de Triomphe. We then headed across the street to H & M, where I could actually afford the clothes! I am happy to report that I successfully purchased a shrunken black blazer, as well as a cotton maxi dress. Parfait!
In the evening, we all headed off to the apartment of two of Dr.V and M-T’s dearest friends, Anne and Nicolas. They live in Montmartre with their two boys. Anne is French, Nicolas is Italian. After some sparkly beverages and crudities, we all headed off to a surprise place. (Every year Anne plans a different evening. Last year was a cuban band, two years ago country-western.) To our surprise, it was a KARAOKE BAR! This was just perfect. I had never been before, which is surprising, considering how much I love to sing! It was off the beaten path, but we all had sooooo much fun. They had an autographed picture of Jean Gabin!!!!!
I proudly sang (with Hailey) “Get Back” by the Beatles, to much applause. Everyone was over the top and loving it! Dr. V was even in on the fun, singing “She’s a Lady” about Maria-Theresa. (Have I mentioned how much I love this petite Italian lady?). During the middle of the festivities, an unfortunately placed carafe of red wine ended up spilling all over my skirt and shoes, but not my brand new shirt and blazer! C’est la vie!n(After much trouble trying to wash my shoes, I have decided to give up and call it a fashion statement.) We were all loving life and singing our hearts out. The group returned to the hotel around 1:30 a.m.
This morning we got up and ready (translation=dragged ourselves out of bed and ran down to breakfast before the kitchen was closed) and headed off to another church, Eglise Saint Etienne du Mont. This church is best known for its housing of the body of Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. Genevieve saved the Parisians from Attila the Hun. (I have decided to do my paper for this class about her. Should be interesting!) This church was very neat as well. They are all so beautiful. We then went to the Pantheon, a former church that was dedicated to St. Genevieve. It is now a crypt for important and influential French men and women. Famous scientists, philosophers, and architects rest here, such as Victor Hugo, Voltaire, and Marie Curie. It was neat, but actually rather creepy. I felt as if I was in a wine cellar overrun with tourists than a crypt.
Had my trademark jambon/fromage/buerre sandwich along with an amande pain au chocolat for dejeuner. Yum! We then travelled to the Gardens of Luxembourg. They were beautiful and very hopping on a beautiful Saturday afternoon! In the middle of the park is the Senate equivalent. You can get pretty close to the building. There were little kids sailing boats in the fountain, reminded me a lot of Stuart Little! The group split up, Hailey and I took a brief nap on the grass in the garden. We then returned and went back to our favorite store on Ile-Saint-Louis, Diwali. I purchased a scarf that is a beautiful leaf green color. Dinner was frugal- baguette, goat cheese, and an orange. Yum! Then our group went on a river cruise of the Seine. As we were walking to from the metro station, we passed over the bridge where Princess Diana was killed in 1997. It was very shocking, as I forgot she died in Paris. We got on the boat right as the sun was setting. Some beautiful views of the landmarks! (I also met a DZ from Texas A&M! small world). That took about two hours. We saw the Eiffel tower light up and came back to our arrondissement, where about half of us ventured out and got some snacks. Nutella panini-YUM.
Sorry this is so long, so much to say! I have to go to bed now. Happy Memorial day!
p.s. Tomorrow is Mother’s day in France!