14.04.2011 - 18.04.2011 15 °C
My dear readers, I profoundly apologize for the lagtime in blog posts. My internet has had more mood swings than ever. I likewise apologize for not putting photos up on this post. This takes a while and it being 1:40am, I do not have the strength to do so (I wrote this blog entry beforehand but did not post, hoping to add photos). I promise to add them to the next post. So, let the stories begin:
Friday, my friends and I were supposed to have a lovely picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. The Parisian skies decided otherwise. It rained Thursday and the skies were yucky grey Friday morning with a chance of drizzle. Instead, Sam and I hung out by ourselves, everyone else too lazy to come out.
We went to Les Invalides, the big building with the golden dome that houses Napoleon's Tomb. Adjacent is the Ecole Militaire (Military School) that is now the Musee de l'Armee (Army Museum). This is befitting, because Napoleon attended this school. The Tomb and the rotunda around it were "impressionant," as the French would say. I like using this world, as it intends a longer effect than "impressive." It's great being a student and an under26 year old - we get in mostly for free in the state museums :-)
Then, Sam and I ate our lunches on a bench. Baguette with cheese; tomato and cucumber slices. And a banana. French much?
For my French Politics and Society class, we have to do a presentation at the end of the semester on a certain topic. Since I joined the class late, Professor Habibi assigned one to me: Le Musee de Quai Branly. I didn't know anything about this museum; luckily, neither did Sam, and she was willing to go with me. The museum is beautiful and new - hardly 4 years old. It sits right near the Seine near the RER Point de Alma. I don't know where the Parisians found enough space to build such a huge museum, complete with a mini garden!
Apparently, the museum houses a humongous collection of artifacts from Oceanie (Polynesia), Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Sam and I barely got through Oceanie when our heads were already spinning! Masks from Papua New Ginea, canoes from Tonga, jewelry from some other little island that no one has ever heard of! It was the most amazing collection I had ever seen! And, I don't know about you, but I've never seen artifacts from Polynesia before. We got through a little bit of Asia (the Indian collection) when we decided that enough was enough. Luckily, we are students and under 26 years of age, meaning that the state-run museums are free! I am going to have to come back at least two more times to get through the museum! But...what does this stuff have to do with French Politics and Society? I'm going to have to ask my professor...
Shabbat at Danielle's went the same as ever, except that the weather was GORGEOUS. Sunny, warm...Danielle and I took a walk to the synagogue's mini park after lunch. It was super cute. Kids playing around, senior citizens reading on benches...green grass, flowers. When Danielle went back home, I ventured on to the Parc Montsouris, which I had discovered close to my apartment on one of my runs. The grass looked so perfect that I couldn't help but lay down in it. So nice...
With 2.5 more hours to spare until the end of Shabbat (9:11pm?!), I finished reading my book, The Girl with the Pearl Earring. It was so good! I'm glad about the ending, though it was sad that Vermeer died...Danielle asked to borrow the book, and I asked if she had any that I could borrow. She recommended Guy de Maupassant's "Une Vie" (A Life). I gingerly started reading it. It's so nice to read French books while IN France. There's a whole new meaning to them...
Sunday, my friends and I were supposed to go to Versailles. Again, the weather decided against it. Instead, Daniela and I went to two more museums: Choco-Story, a private chocolate museum by Bonne Nouvelle, and Monet Marmottan, also a private museum. We liked both very much. The chocolate museum featured 3 levels: One, telling about chocolate beans and where chocolate came from historically, the second about the uses of chocolate, how to make it, and the utensils/serving things used, and the third and best, the demonstration and "degustation" (tasting) room. The nice lady there explained, in French, how to make chocolate praline-filled pieces to us, the Japanese mother and child sitting next to us, and to an English couple. And, of course, we got to taste. Mmm! Upstairs, we didn't buy any in the gift shop. A few pieces for 6 euro? I'd rather go to Carrefour (my grocery store) and buy a Lindt slab for 3 euro.
The Monet museum was amusing because there were no Monet paintings on the first and second levels. It was not until we asked someone working there that we found out there was a basement. Poor Monet, banished to the basement. But nah, it wasn't like that. The basement had nice lighting and lots of space for Monet's works of art. There was a piece from his series "Nympheades" (Lillies), a bunch of pieces from his psychadelic bridge series, one foggy English Parliament painting (not the most famous one), and some others. The paintings upstairs, I realized, were from Monet's "life." They were painted by his friends, of the area where he lived in Paris and in Giverny, ect. Even his colored eyeglasses (he had cateract surgery in 1923! didn't know this was possible...) and painting palette were displayed!
The rest of Sunday, I devoted to doing homework. All in all, a great weekend! This Tuesday, Margarita is coming to visit me! I can't believe that I get to see her again in Paris, of all cities! She did the JUF internship program with me this past summer and subsequently went back to Kiev, Ukraine, where she lives. Then, she Facebook messages me (thank you, dear FB), telling me that she's coming to a Jewish youth conference at Disneyland Paris (what a place to have such a conference!). She asked if I knew of anywhere she could stay for two days after the conference. I knew the perfect place! Thank you, Danielle, for having rented me an apartment with two rooms! There is a huge bed in the other room, fit for two people! Margarita is going to call me, and we're going to have a blast for two days! Except that I need to pack for Ireland (leaving Thursday! Margarita is also leaving for Kiev on Thursday) and clean for Pesach (Passover). Oy vey!