Friday, November 20, 2015

Paris sera toujours Paris




This post isn't about what happened last week, although I hope to talk about it sometime. I spent long weekend at the end of October seeing the sights of the capital.



I have this song stuck in my head while writing this. Go listen to it while you read. Spoiler alert, this is not what riding the metro in Paris is actually like.


First up on my agenda was the Musse D'Orsey. 


This museum is a former train station that has been beautifully renovated. Its full of French artists like Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh. This was my absolutely favorite museum. The Louvre is cool, but it is so huge that it can feel really overwhelming sometimes.


I fell in love with French Impressionist paintings. 


Up next was the Louvre.


A selfie at the Louvre est obligatoire.

Oh my gosh. This museum is crazy. Is it worth seeing? Absolutely! But museum fatigue is real, people, and you could end up completely overwhelmed and exhausted if you don't plan a little. Here are a few of my tips. 


1-  Prioritize! There are 70,000 pieces of art in the Louvre. I found out quickly that if I tried to devote the same attention to every piece then I would go museum crazy. Especially since I only had one day. For example, I realized that I love large statues! I mean how cool is that Easter Island guy?And the weird Persian unicorn below? Its awesome! But I don't really care about tiny statues. In the Louvre there are rooms and rooms full of tiny clay and brass figurines. I pretty much skipped all of those and instead spent my time with the large pieces. Choose what's important to you and just breeze by the rest.




2- Don't spend all your time on the most popular pieces. Did I see the Mona Lisa? Sure, how could I go the Louvre and not! Was it cool? Yes. Was it the most beautiful painting I have ever seen? Nope. Other than the fact that you can't even get very close to it and there are tons of security guards, school groups, and people trying to take selfies with it, I personally think that the Louvre has much more interesting pieces.





3- Spend time with the obscure exhibits. I decided to see the Islamic art exhibit near the end of the day, and it was wonderful! There were so many different kinds of pieces like mosaics, architecture, rugs, and tapestries. The mosaics were my favorite. Plus, there were only a handful of people in the exhibit! These less known exhibits are a great place to take a break from the crowds in the Italian Renaissance Painting wing.



After a long weekend of museums I took a walk through the Jardin du Luxembourg. It was a great place to relax and let off some museum fatigue. 





Update!


Remember that one time I said I was going to blog every week? Oops. Getting settled here in France was way more difficult and time consuming then I thought it would be, so blogging was pushed to the back burner. But now its time for an update! 


All these pictures are from my town. I really like it here. Its small enough to feel safe but big enough to have lots to do. And it has a beautiful old town center.


Plus a castle. Its right in the center of town. How cool is that?




Three differences  between France and New Mexico.
1- Everyone walks. Everywhere. To the store, to school, to work, to the movie theater, to restaurants, and pretty much everywhere else. People do drives places, but my less frequently than in NM. My host family own a car but they only use it maybe a few times a month. I really like this. Not only is it healthier and more environmentally conscientious, but it means that I don't have to rely on someone else to always be taking me places. The city is set up really well to be a walkable place. 


2- Breakfast and lunch are tiny but dinner is huge. Every time I eat with my host family we have a main course, a salad course, a cheese course, and a dessert course. This is really different from the way I normally eat, so it has taken me a while to get used to. 


3- France doesn't have parks, it has gardens. they're pretty much the same thing except gardens have more flowers and you aren't allowed to walk on the grass.