Friday, October 23, 2009

Hmm... so its been a while... lets see
On thurs oct 15th I walked from chatelet les halles subway station (which doubles as a mall) and outside there was a nice promenade area to walk around... then i walked over to church st-eustache, scooted past the bourse de commerce (i think the french stock exchange?), to the palais royal, with its famous cour d'honneur, which of course was under construction so i couldn't really get to see it. but the garden behind the cour was beautiful, with fountains and benches and flowers and trees. I then made my way to the Louvre. the Louvre looks the coolest from behind the arc de triomphe du carrousel, which is this adorable "little" arche of pink marble built by napolean before the grand arc de triomphe. I then walked through the jardin du carrousel past beautiful ancient and modern statues and ponds and fountains and plants. At one pond, you could rent little sail boats to play with, and it was so picturesque to watch children with these little sail boats. Then the jardin becomes the famous jardin de tuileries. Again, more beautiful statues and ponds and trees... i passed the jeau de paume (once a tennis court, then an impressionist museum, and now a temporary gallery- right now they are playing a french film there) and the orangerie (built by napoleon III, it now has monets water lily paintings... ill have to go inside one of these days!) next i walked to the beautiful place de la concord where you can see on the one side the arc de triomphe, and on the other the louvre. so beautiful! and all in one day!!!
Friday's event was the salon du chocolate, which was cool, but a little pricey since it was 12euro to get in. I also hadnt had the chance to eat lunch before, so i felt a little nauseuous after all that chocolate! but there were so many free samples, and these cool clothes made of chocolate and chocolate statues and shows and demonstrations and things... i went with a few friends... something like that would be more fun to do alone i think...
Saturday was girl scouts. today was fundraising day. so we walked around with these adorable 8 year olds selling postcards and calanders. hilarious! (a little chilly and tiring though... but i got to practice my french!!!)
Sunday I went to Giverny (known for being where monets home and garden were). My friend emily and i went. you take the train to a town called vernon, and usually you take a shuttle, but we wanted to use the bathroom in a restaurant, so we got a coffee, and missed the bus. thank god. because that made us walk. and it was the most beautiful walk ever. 3miles. so nice. the town still had homes from the middle ages. a beautiful river and bridge. a castel from the 1600s to protect a brige which barely remained. all that remained was a house on 2 pillars. so cool. then there was just farmland and a nice path that was a little off the road for walkers and bikers. giverny was gorgeous as well. the plants were amazing in monets garden. we saw the famous lily pond. we also went inside his home, with really cool japanese art from the 1800s. we walked around the town, but now it was about 4 or 5. there a great museum of american impressionism at giverny, but we didnt have time. so we wandered the town and found a free museum of what i think were very old engines (something mechanical lol) and a free "museum" of sandsculpture that was really cool (not really a museum- just someones big frontyard with this cool stuff). We sat and split a bottle of red wine, on a hill overlooking the valley. amazing. then we walked back, arrived just in time for the sunset, had dinner and took the train hom. by far my best day here so far!
monday i started work. Not very glamorous
tues i foudn a free french tour guide so i went with my friend emily again. but her french is not so good, and shes not really a history buff like me, so she didnt really enjoy it. it was also freezing cold that day...
wed i went to see the play Julius ceasar. it had french subtitles, but was in english. i met up with a french girl who was also looking for the theater, and so i sat next to her and hung out with her and her class (she was there with her theater class) during intermission, and left with her (good thing- she knew there was a bus i didnt know about, and it took us to the bastille which was easier to get a train from. The play itself was really avant garde, and i dont know how i feel about it. it was also 3-4hours long, so it didnt get out til 12:30 (was supposed to start at 8:30, though i think it didnt start til 9). that's a little long for me. most of this girl's class left at intermission. im really glad i stayed though. it was a cool experience. after, stephanie and i took the bus to bastille and then hopped on the metro. I knew my friends had gone out that night to bastille, but i couldnt get in touch with them, so i figured theyd gone home. suddenly on the subway i hear someone go "kristen?!" it was all my friends who had gone out! what are the odds of not seeing e/o on the platform but still getting on the same car and the same train??!! so when i had to separate from stephanie, i got to keep my company, which was nice. i should have asked stephanie if she ever wanted to hang out again i guess, but i was too embarrassed b/c she didnt really ask me... so i was like "uhh... it was really nice meeting you and everything..." awkwardly waited, and when she didnt say anything i was like "byee!" haha so dumb...
i also had my first real lectures this week. I'm taking "modern myth and thought" and "geography of france" i really like them, and i understand, so thats good.
tonight im going to see the play l'avarice by Moliere and tomorrow i leave for nice and come back monday morning. it'll be quite a whirl wind trip!!! :D

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ok so last Friday I ended up going running with a friend in the Bois de Bologne, the largest woods in Paris. At first we didnt really like it b/c there weren't really trails like in Bethpage Park, it was more like paved ptahs. But finally, after running for an hour, we found the main attraction: the ponds that you can run along. Literally THE most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I can't wait 'til my camera gets here. Ugh.
That night me and my friends made fried rice with chicken and then me and my closest friend here got dressed up and went to see the ballet with most of my class at the Opera Garnier, which used to be an old palace, so you know it was GORGEOUS! I def. recommend googling pics of it, b/c it is just so fabulous! And the actual ballet was amazing. I saw Giselle. The ballerinas were amazingly talented. One fell once. So awkward. Someone in the audience gasped loudly. I could see she was trembling for the rest of the scene. Poor thing. Afterwards we met up with friends who didn't go to the play and went to my friend from Australia's appartment. Fun.
Sat. me and my friends went to Montmartre for the Fete des Vendeurs, which means celebreation or party of venders. So there were all these stands lined along the narrow streets of Monmartre selling wine and food from all around France, and also Canada and Spain. I tried escargot and oysters, fresh fruit, champagne, white wine and red wine! I even got a free champagne glass with one of my purchases! It was also the perfect day. I loved it.
Sunday I woke up early to go to church at St. Severine, a church in the Latin Quarter. It was really beautiful. Then I went to go meet a running club at Saint-Cloud (an area on the outside of Paris) but I went to the wrong station so I went to the Parc Saint-Cloud and ran myself. It was amazing! I had never even herd of it before! There were flowers, walkways lined with trees, fountains, statues, ponds, trails in wooded areas- the park was GIGANTIC! I ended up running for an hour and a half there b/c I loved it so much. But hopefully this Sunday I'll be able to meet with the group.
Tues, after class I went to see a friend from middle school. He brought me to a "very French sangria bar." Funny enough, my friends told me the same thing last night, and we ended up in the same place! What are the odds of having 2 different groups of friends taking you to the same place within the week!?
Wed, yesterday, I went to l'institute du monde arabe and for 6.50 euros got to see a beautiful exhibit on Islamic art and an exhibit on famous pearls from an island off the arabian peninsula. And I got a free poster! I went to the top of the building, and there was an amazing view. After, my friends and I went shoe shopping to feel better, b/c my friend was having trouble with her cell phone and the other had a rough interview and the needed to get their minds off things. Not gonna lie; bought white pumps for 15euro. They are wonderful. Walked around in them. so comfy AND cute! haha
And did I mention I got the internship!? I start working Monday. So soon I'm not going to be able to do fun touristy things all day long :(--- But dont worry mom, I got off for Nov 11, 12 and 13 :)

I miss home so much, but I also love it here!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oh, wow! This week went super fast... It'll be hard to remember all the way back to Mon., since I feel like I do so much...
Monday I had a short orientation class the morning. I found out that I did really well on my exam, and that I am advanced. After, we had a lunch break, and then we met at the hotel de ville (trans: town hall) and had a private tour which I really liked.
Tuesday I picked up my text books for my grammar class and then dragged my friends to see Cimitiere de Pere Lachaise. In that cemetery we saw the grave of Jim Morrison (from the Doors), Edith Piaf, Baron de Haussman, and a lot of Nazi camp memorials. Then I went to an OxfamFrance meeting, which I got lost trying to get to lol. When I got there, they did a presentation on the mission of Oxfam or something... The girl giving it must have been nervous, b/c she was talking really fast and I pretty much understood nothing... I wish they had meetings everyday, b/c it was really good for my French!
Wed, I had class in the morning until 10:30... then I had a mock interview (to practice for the interview I was going to have on Friday for an internship) in the evening.
Thurs, I didn't have class until 7pm, so I randomly decided to go to Versailles. I went to the gardens b/c they are free. At the tourist info place, the guy was like well the gardens are really aweful right now, and I was like no flowers or shrubbery?? He was like, no. So I went with low expectations. I don't think he has ever set foot in the gardens, b/c they were BEAUTIFUL! I didn't realize how big!!! As big as central park! (well, probably not as big, but close). It was a nice break...
Today I had my interview, it went well. I'm not sure what to do now, all my friends are sleeping and most have class 2-4 and its not yet 12 but its also a crummy day... maybe ill try and hit up a free museum???

Sunday, October 4, 2009

This weekend I was very busy. A friend from Binghamton who is working in Versaille came to visit this weekend. 
On Friday, my class and I went around the Marais section of Paris looking at different styles of architecture which was really neat, but it was also very chilly. There are so many things tucked around Paris that you would never know to look at! St. Paul church on the outside looks dilapidated, but on the inside is gorgeous!!! There was also a fountain from the 1600s or so that was made by the water guild and you can still drink from it today. 
After that I had an interview with a headhunter about a possible internship. He has one in line where I would translate French websites into English. There's a chance the internship is paid, but that might mean full-time, and I really want to make sure I can take all of my classes. Ill find out not this week but the next if it will be a good fit for me.
Saturday my friends and I slept in and had pancakes and nutella and syrup (mmmmm)- which I brought from the US. Around 3 we went to luxembourg gardens for a picnic. There were 8 of us, so we got 4 baguettes, goat cheese, boursin cheese, an eclaire, and a tiny quishe lorraine (soooo good!). For dinner I went to the store and bought ravioli and made it myself. Then it was Nuit Blanche!
Nuit Blanche is when Paris is open all night and there are art exhibits open all around the city. For example there was a large disco ball in the Luxembourg garden which was meant to create stars that you usually can't see in an urban setting. Then we wandered around for a while, since everything was really crowded. We ended up going to Notre Dame, which was really unique. Inside was lit up by these plastic gemstones. They were like giant crystals and they were all different colors. I didn't really like the gem look, but the colors it put up on the wall were amazing!
Today I woke up at noon and wanted to have an American breakfast, since I havent really seen any bacon and eggs on a roll or anything, so me and my friend matt went to this place called Breakfast in America- but by the time we got there the wait was over an hour! Since nothing is really open on Sundays, we went to a creperie and got crepes. then we bumped into some of matts friends and went to the cluny museum which was beautiful- it had relics from the middle ages, and the building is partially made from the Roman baths remaining from the first settlement of Paris! Then I went to meet up with friends at the Arc du Triomphe, but they left before we got there. We saw an exhibit along the walk from the subway to the arch which was old covers of Vogue magazine. Arc was cool, but packed- will have to go back and go to the top on a nice clear week day. So now i'm exhausted!!!