Sunday, January 31, 2010

College, dead people, and a wild animal...

So yesterday was freezing but we did a walk kind of as a group. At least 9 people were together, and 4 more were behind (we bumped into them as we finished each museum). Anyways it was the Lutetia Pulchra Est walk, whatever that means. It was really cool, except for the fact that it was freezing. We started out at the Musée de Cluny, which is a Medieval museum. Right next to it were Roman baths but I couldn't get a good picture because it was surrounded by tall fences. This museum used to be a hotel from the 15th century so just walking around and looking at the walls and ceilings was cool enough. My favorite room was the ones with the stained glass. They had artificial light from each side of the wall! I keep marveling at how they made it. See!

We spent about 45 minutes in there and then continued to see the Sorbonne. I guess we aren't allowed inside because back in the 60's people protested there and they don't want rowdy crowds there to protest. Not that anybody would protest when it's FREEZING! It was cool though, it put most of BYU's buildings to shame.

After that, we went to see the dead people in the Pantheon. Here's me looking sick in all black:

A pic from the outside:

There were quite a few famous peole therethere, and still a lot of empty spots for future famous French people. The ones I knew of were Alexander Dumas, Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Rousseau, etc... I think this one was Rousseau's:

There was also some murals about St. Genevive. I guess it was originally a Church built in her honor, but before it was finished the French Revolution happened and they seized control of it and started putting famous French people there. Here's one mural:
So it wasn't heated very well, at all....and thus I couldn't wait to leave. We then went to St-Etienne-Du-Mont Church and it was cool but they all kind of looked the same to me by now. We then walked by Pascal's house (math whiz, I heard about him before), and then there was this old wall that Rebecca was saying about how important it was. It used to surround Paris. It was alright, just an old wall, so I'm not gonna post a pic up here. The coolest thing I thought was this old Roman Gladiator arena. I guess it could seat 15,000 and they found it about a hundred years ago when they were digging here. There were even cages for the animals to come out and fight the gladiators! Just like in the movie! Take a look below to see people playing soccer there. It's crazy to think that here in France, an old Roman ruin has become a park. SOO much history.

Finally, the wild animal:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sensual Walk & a Fake Walk

So this post will have two walks, one from last week, and one from just yesterday. Let's start with the one from last week. So last Saturday, we did the Madeline Walk: also known as Marcher Le Nez au Vent which translates into something like the Follow your nose to the wind walk. So that's why I call this a sensual walk. First of all, we have our eyes being wowed by the Cathedral of the Madeline. It's a really cool Cathedral, unique in it's Greek-style columns.

Here's a few pictures. The one inside is actually illegal because I saw others taking, but then I found out they weren't supposed to either.

Then we had our taste buds tantalized!! It's called Ladurée and it's really famous in Paris. We had these macarons that were invented here and I had chocolate, orange flower, rose, and strawberry. My favorite were rose and strawberry. Chocolate was alright, I prefer just real chocolate, and orange flower was disgusting. No one else wanted to try it. I tried some of the girls' vanilla and that was good! Caramel was alright too. Here's me trying one:

And look how pretty the inside of the store is!! (That's Brooky's cute hat)

Then we went to this tiy Chapel called Chapelle de L'Assomption, where there was just two elderly ladies worshipping. No tourist at all even though all around were so many tourists shopping. Finally, our noses were awaken by this Perfume "Museum", called Fragonard Musée du Parfum. I didn't take pics at the Church because it was so small and we couldn't take any at the Perfume Store/Museum. But basically this lady took us on a tour but she didn't know english and had pretty much memorized it. She showed us some ways to make perfume, like putting the flowers in water then evaporating the water and letting it condense. The tour itself was only like 10 minutes but the French speaking tour in front of us was way longer. I think I understood more of that than her english. She gave Rosalie a sample ingredient and said it was like Mint or something, but we both smelled it and know for sure that it is NOT what she said.

Then we had a perfume sampling thing which was quite fun actually. I wish there were a cologne sampling. She showed me a few of the cologne being sold but there was hardly any selection. Thanks meimei for the D&G light blue you gave me for Christams btw.

Now time for the fake walk called METRO WALK. You pretty much just sit in the metro most of the time. I decided to do it since it was raining and I just wanted to get it out of the way. Mike was sleeping from 10 am to 4 pm so I just left without him. Started out dumb....then I found a mall, but all the clothes were for girls. There were two H&M's but one was H&M Femme and the other one was H&M Lingerie. That made the walk suck more. Anyways the Paris Metro was built a long time ago, starting in 1900. This is why most of the lines suck compared to the ones I been to. Taiwan's by far is the best but it's only built in 2000. Boston's started in 1905 but overall they updated it better except for a few ghetto stations. But Paris has sooo many ghetto stations. I will admit though, they do have the most amount of lines than any of the other two. It covers more area and is spread throughout Paris.

Take a look at this following picture at our first stop St-Lazare. It's from 1911 which is why the ceiling is vaulted. The colors green and white with some brown shows the two different companies at that time that had their own separate metro systems. This station was created then to allow connection between these two private enterprises. It was later on combined and I think the government owns it now.

This is not part of the walk but I went to Abesses to find a store my host family's son told me about, but I couldn't find it anywhere. But going up the metro station I noticed everyone waited for these 3 elevators to go up...everyone except me. And I saw these cool paintings all up the stairs...and I was like "HA! Those lazy bums are missing out!" But it kept going up, and up, and up, probably 4 stories.

Next stop was Rotonde de la Villette by Jaurès station. This was a tollhouse built by Ledoux to surround Paris to get taxes and stuff but people tore down most of these and the walls around Paris too during the revolution. This survived and because of the rules that forbade construction to be 325 feet away, it allowed for new roads to be built and eventually the Metro system was able to use those free space as well.

Close by was where little Amelie Poulain threw rocks and I think her gold fish:

Then we went to Porte Dauphine to see Art Nouveau Hector Guimard, but I totally saw it and thought it was supposed to be way cooler and then walked all the way around. Turns out it's just this pic below. And since he had similar stuff around Paris I thought it was dumb we had to come all the way here to see it. It was cool to see it that first time in Montmarte but not to ride forever to get here.

Then I finally found a shopping place by Place D'Italie. It's an American-style mall in that everything is inside. There even was sort of a small food court thing. And I bought a sandwich for dinner and some clothes and felt much better. Than to finish off I went to Bastille and looked for the foundation but could not see it anywhere. (later on Bart and them told me it's really small and hard to see unless you get out of the train exactly there). I did see these paintings on the way of the station though:

And then Bart and Dan and Emily sees me and goes crazy with laughter. Turns out that Emily saw an asian guy that she thought was me earlier, and Bart and Dan just started pointing out all the asians after saying it was me, and they were doing it to me, and when they saw my face they couldn't believe it really was me this time. So we finished the walk together by getting on line 14, the newest line, which is the only one that is as nice as the one in Taiwan. If all of Paris Metro were like this I would be happy.

We grabbed hot chocolate after and had a fun time gossiping! The walk didn't turn out so bad after all!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Quickie at the Eiffel:

So yesterday we had class for the first time. French 201 seems pretty standard. Since I took accelerated French last semester it's schedule is about the same. We only have 90 days here and class is not 5 days a week like it is back in Provo. Then I went shopping at BHV Homme! It was the happiest time of my time here so far. I finally found a place with nice stuff at an affordable rate. Earlier we keep going to these really expensive places that when on 50% off it's still hundreds of Euro for a pair of jeans or some slacks. One place I got excited to see 60% off.....but it was 60% off of 1000 Euros.

I'll show pics of my new coat later. I also bought a man-purse (the lady assured me it's very masculine) and then got a shirt with skulls on it. The lady told me it's called tête à morte in French. She thought it was funny I liked stuff with skulls on it.

Skye wasn't feeling well so it was just me Rose, Brooklyn, and Mike that went to the Eiffel. We were gonna do a Paris walk but didn't have enough time to get back to the Ricks' for family night. And we just saw the Eiffel Tower was right there and so close we just decided to walk there. Not many people there which was good and it was so exciting. I think our whole lives we always seen it as a symbol of romanticism which is what made is to exciting. It was weird to see these French soldiers in Machine guns patrolling around but at least it's safe right?

We decided we didn't look good enough to take too many pics yesterday, so we'll take more later on and when Skye feels better.

The whole gang (minus Bleue):

This post has been updated a bit.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Paris, Day 4

So I've been here a few days now but I need to catch up a little bit on stuff from before. I'll start from yesterday, Friday. Everything's good, but Paris is a little dirtier and full of bums/beggars than I thought. They're everywhere! Even more than in Boston and the metro system is quite disgusting. But once you get out to the main streets everything is beautiful! So we went to this Arabic place and ate some Middle Eastern Food. It was alright but a little tame on the taste. Not strong enough I mean. Couscous was good though and the sauce would be too if it had some flavor! Here's a pic of the people on the cool table (Sorry Ro!):
Then some of us went and did the Montmarte walk. It's this area called Montmarte and the most famous thing is the Sacre Coeur Basilica Cathedral. Here's a pic of that:

It was pretty cool! I couldn't take picture inside though. The view from the top was really good too:
Coming up those stairs though, at the entrance are several "Jamaican" guys. They will make you put up a finger and tie this quick bracelet and ask for donations. They are really aggressive so beware. I got tricked into it cuz i was looking around alone and wandering slowly. I noticed these guys were up to something but they will corner you so I figured what the heck I'll pay them 2 euros to avoid trouble. Then they asked for bills and I said no but there is 3 guys by then surrounding you and they try to tough you up. I gave them 2 or 3 more euros and they still weren't happy. By then I got really angry and looked at each of them in the face and said No! And then they backed off. They're not really dangerous so much as con artists. So just beware when you go, especially women. I read online that they intimidate 10-20 euros from women. Anyways I just need to travel more confidently and act like this is my country now! So from then on I been rolling the way I do in the States and in Taiwan. Two French ladies asked me for the time today (meaning I look local now)! No one's gonna mess with me anymore.

Anyways we followed the walk around Montmarte and saw a bunch of places where artists used to live but the only one I knew was Picasso. A lot of the other students knew Renoir but I didn't. This restaurant, called La Maison Rose (or the Pink House, I don't know why...) is where Picasso used to eat lunch at.
Then lastly, we finished at Moulin Rouge. I'm surprised this is part of the walk. Some of the girls that were following me didn't believe it was actually part of the walk and I was making it up. (haha it shows that type of reputation I have). It wasn't as impressive as I thought. I never seen the movie so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Anyways I thought the best part of the walk was when we were just down the street going towards Van Gogh's old house there was all this eatery and stuff and we passed by an elementary school with these cute kids that came out to their parents taking them home. It was just so real and really felt like France. I think I'm often more impressed by simple things like that then just buildings or tourist attractions. In Boston, I remember there was this beautiful street in Charlestown that nobody went to. It was just a residential area that was just so pretty! This neighborhood where I live feels the same too!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

3 days to Paris!

So I was gonna post every other day but I'm leaving in like 3 days so here goes:
Oh and here's the disclaimer: This is not a list of things I intend to do while on this study abroad with BYU as we have the honor code and other study abroad regulations. It is just a list of things I would like to do in France at some point in my life.

1. Visit scenes from Amélie! Adore this movie and Audrey. Here's the Moulin she works at:

And here's the Grocer's shop.
2. Go on strike or Protest something. (Won't be done this trip)

3. Go to a Rugby match. Or football (soccer to us). It's what the locals do! Allez les Bleus!

4. Kiss in a Cemetery. I know this sounds kinda creepy but if you watched Paris Je T'aime you'll know what I'm talking about. They have some amazingly beautiful cemeteries. I'm going to have to do this another time as well, when I'm not on a trip with a bunch of beautiful college girls.

5. Performing on the street! I bought an ocarina this week and hopefully with some of the other students' help we can form a little group and make some money on the street. It's gonna be wicked!

6. Hot tubbing in really expensive hotels. Enough said.
7. Ride on a scooter!! I had one last summer in Provo and it was wicked fun but I'm sure it'll be even more fun with the cool architecture! Just like this scene from Amélie:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

11 Days to Paris Countdown: FASHION SHOW

Sooo there's 10 days left till I leave Asia....and then North America and head to EUROPE! Yes, I know, I feel like those giddy girls that say they're so excited and they've always wanted to go and whatever. But I really am. I've wanted to go since I was 11 years old. I feel like one of the Ashleys from the TV show Recess. Anyways the next ten days I will post a few things I wanna do while I'm there that's not a typical tourist thing (so NOT Eiffel Tower and what not, of course I will do that but I wanna go beyond that and create my own memories).

My first item on the list is to attend a fashion show. Paris is a city of fashion. Of form over functionality. Of style of sensibility. They understand an important truth in life, that appearance does matter. It will be so fun to see clothing I can never pull off! To take pictures of things I'll never afford to buy! To see women I shall never be able to kiss! And to be around people I will never be tall enough to look in the eye.

I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to do this because it's usually by invite only. And I don't even have any idea where they are held at but I'm sure if I dress up nice and go with some hottie boomalotties we can get in. Or I'll just slip the bouncer 20 euros. Or just sneak our way through the back. What I'll probably end up doing is just pretend to be a model and walk in the back.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

We should've watched this for our Study Abroad Prep class

So I watched Paris Je t'aime the other day, which I think everybody who likes French culture should. We really ought to have watched this in my study abroad prep class. I mean the security stuff and intercultural diplomatic thingy were all nice, but I could've summed it up in about 30 minutes. It really shows the real urban mix in modern Paris. It doesn't just show a specific class or race of people, but instead that Paris is truly a diverse group. It even shows the vampires of Paris. Be warned however that this is Rated R in the US, for those who haven't seen one or know what that means, it means it's REALLY good.

Some of the stories were kinda like what? I didn't get it. But in general they were all good pieces showing love in Paris. My favorites were Tuileries, Bastille, Tour Eiffel, Place des Fêtes, and Père Lachaise. Oh and don't forget Faubourg Saint-Denis, with Natalie Portman that took me a few times to get it. And of course the final 14e Arrondisement with the American woman speaking very poor french. I'm sure I'll relate to that, but hopefully I'll be having me some sweet loving, unlike her.

Tuileries: Avoid eye contact on the metro, or else...

Bastille: I'll never look at a woman in a red trench coat the same again.

Tour Eiffel: Cute story about Mimes. xoxo.

Place des fêtes: Reality of Paris and Love. Sometimes you only have one chance to love.

Pére Lachaise: I'm gonna need to be funny to get a girl.

Fauborg Saint-Denis: LOVE this story about a blind guy and an American girl.

14e Arrondisement: Lonely American in Paris. But she ends up falling in love :)