Well I still had class on July 4th, but considering we get two days for Bastille day (France’s independence day) I’ll take it.
Yesterday for Art History, we met at Musée Jacquemart-André located in 8th arr to learn about 18th century art and the Roccoco style. Edouard André was a wealthy art collector in the 19th century and eventually met and fell in love with the artist Nélie Jacquemart. They spent their lives traveling and collecting art from around the world. They commissioned this mansion to be built in the 18th century style and throughout the house there are pieces by Rembrandt, Botticelli, Mantegna, Boucher, and Fragonard…to name a few. After Nélie’s death, she bequethed it to the National Museums of France (or some association like thta). The house is incredible; very lavish, luxiourious, and theatrical. And HUGE! There was a Caillebotte brothers exposition (the line to get in the museum to see it was super long) but I was starving and after a little time, there’s only so much Musée I can do. There was a café inside, which is supposed to be really nice, but it was quite expensive. so Lindsey, Naiomi, and I searched for something a little less pricey.
After lunch, I trekked over to the bubble tea place but it’s closed on Mondays!! Typical.
I went back to my apartment to work on my paper and nap and prepare for the evening’s festivites!!
I had wanted to go to an Ex-Pat bar for the 4th since I figured if there was going to be any celebration, it would be at an Ex-Pat bar but Becca and I ended up going out with the FIAP girls i.e. Naiomi, Lindsey, and Galit and thier Louisiana FIAP friends. We met them at the FIAP…it was such a cool place!! It’s basically like a hostel but a little nicer. There’s a bar downstairs and people just hanging out outside. Campuséa is so quiet and it feels like no one is here so I think I might’ve preferred living in the FIAP. We headed to the VD bar (Violon D….I dont remember the name) which had American Flags on it (promising) but it’s closed on Mondays! Typical. We walked to rue Mouffetard which I’d heard from people in my classes that it’s a really chill, casual bar street. Right when we got there we stumbled upon The 5th Bar, which was fully celebrating America’s Independance. After a bit, we went down a different street and settled on a quieter bar called the Antidote. Interesting vibes there. Becca and I decided to head out since we didn’t want to miss the Metro and be stuck trying to find a cab (which we’ve learned is IMPOSSIBLE at night). I bought a crepe on the way home and spilled it all over me. Got strange looks on the metro the rest of the way. But I was happy to celebrate. Still missing my BBQ and swimming though.
Happy 4th of July!
Today, we started learning about les banlieues, which is basically low-income housing provided by the government, but a very sore subject among the French. Still very interesting and we started watching the movie La Haine which stars Vincent Cassel (the dance director from Black Swan) and tells the story of three kids growing up in les banlieues.
After class, I decided to go to the 1st arr and see le Pont Des Arts which is a passerelle (pedestrian only bridge) connecting the Louvre to the Left Bank. There are also “love padlocks” on this bridge. I did some googling and apparently this is an international custom; to put a padlock on a bridge or other monument and throw away the key in order to symbolize everlasting love etc. Supposedly, the French thought this practice was raising problems with their “architectural heritage” so they had the locks removed in May 2010. Which explains why I couldn’t find any locks older than that! I was searching for a really old, rusty one. It was a good photo opp: the locks, the bridge, the water, AND L’Institut de France, which is where the Académie Française is loacted. The Académie convenes (I think once a year) in order to publish a dictionary and keep the French language pure…I did a paper on this in Dr. Perryman’s Nature and Uses classes, in which we discussed the erosion of the English language because of technology etc. This is France’s counterattack to English words becoming French and texting language becoming official.
Love locked down.
While strolling along the passerelle, I enjoyed my usual mangue et citron vert glaces…again, I was a little disappointed. I have not had good mangue et citron vert glaces since I’ve been here, where as when I came with Heather, I had it pretty much everyday and it was excellent.
After the Pont Des Arts, I walked along the Seine towards the Grand Palais. I ended up crossing the Seine and going into the Carrousel du Louvre in order to get back on the metro. But I’ve been realizing over the past couple weeks that I don’t do enough walking here. Trust me, I walk a lot, but I’ve been taking the metro too much. Paris is a pretty small city (I heard you can walk across the entire city in 4 hours…) and I feel like I’m so concerned with getting to my destination that I automatically take the metro. But there is so much to see above ground! Especially walking; around every corner/nook is a gorgeous building or historic statue, and you can’t see it all if you’re in the metro! So my goal for the rest of the time I’m here is to walk places instead of using the metro.
On the metro, I headed over to the Champs-Elysées to get to the Monoprix. Finding a Monoprix has proven difficult the last couple days but I knew for sure there was one in this area so went there. I just needed shampoo and conditioner (they don’t sell conditioner in the grocery store, but they do have shampoo…). Well the Champs-Elysées is crazy. I’m not going back until my parents are here. There’s just so many people; people walking slowly, creepy guys, little kids, strollers, people on the phone/listening to their ipod/reading…needless to say, I do not like navigating the tourists (bhaha as if I’m not one). But while I was on my way to the monoprix, there was a buildling on my left with gold gates and what looked like a huge garden (it looked kind of like the Grand Palais- which was just down the road) and so I was curious and made a mental note to look up what it was when I got home. As I got further down the street, I saw a sign on the gate and a huge line outside of it…it was Abercrombie & Fitch!! Like whaaat?? If you imagine an iron-bar gate with bronze trim (think Buckingham Palace), that is exactly what this gate was like, with an iron Abercrombie sign on it. And 3 guys in Abercrombie shirts at the gate. With bouncers in Abercrombie directing the line. And even though we’re outside, you can still smell that intoxicating, luring Abercrombie scent that you smell in the mall. I actually want to take a look around. You can’t even see the store from the street. But the line was huge! I could not believe it. I’m stll shocked at how long this line was. Crazy Frenchies!
For dinner, Indra and I went to stir-fry/pho place near Campuséa.
Tomorrow is my last class at the Louvre 😦 The rest of the time we’re meeting at the D’Orsay, Orangerie, and Pompidou museums.