Thursday and Friday, in review

I’m really not one for providing daily itineraries of the everyday explorations. 

That all being said, however, last Thursday and Friday were exceptionally extraordinary days. And they, I believe, are well justified in deserving a bullet- pointed itinerary post.

  • The morning's metro car performance featured two men rapping/ using the pole for gymnastics/ blasting hip- hop instrumental music. The metro car transformed into the party car—a factor I found amusing as none of us possibly had a say in the matter. Not that I minded—the performance absolutely put a smile on my face. Not the same reaction from all seeing as a woman stormed past me in fierce agitation, muttering“l’horreur” (the horror), as I got off the metro. Such a typical French response. 
  • Decided would get off at Chatelet to find a boulangerie, before heading to the Jardin de Tuilleries for lunch. Took a good 15 minute wander before finding a boulangerie. You can tell the quality of a boulangerie based on the line wrapped outside its front door. For this one, the queue stretched a good bit outside. I purchased my favorite—a camembert, butter baguette sandwich. 
  • Walked along Rue de Rivoli before grabbing a bus to hurry the commute to the jardin. Sat in the garden for two hours, enjoying the warmth, the view, the atmosphere. It’s extraordinary to sit in a palace garden as if it were ordinary. Because it really is anything but.  
  • Spent the following two hours in the Louvre. Veered clear of the Louvre’s tourist galleries (love the Louvre, love the art, detest the heaps of tourists). Found some art pieces we’ve been talking about in my art history class. I find seeing art pieces in person is about the same as seeing a celebrity in real life.
  • The Louvre rendez-vous ended when I decided it was about time to find les toilettes. But obviously all inside the Louvre had to be out of order and the one in the Louvre’s shopping area cost 1.50 euro. And I’m sorry, but there’s no way I’m paying the same amount to use the bathroom as I would to buy a pain au chocolat. Such a chutzpa. The solution: the McDonald’s along the Rue de Rivoli.
  • Wandered along Rue Saint-Honoré. I love how calm the streets are along the first arrondissement (at least away from the touristy Rue de Rivoli). There's a French phrase that says lèche-vitrine (literally, lick the windows, actually: window shop. Me: drooling while staring down the exquisite fashion behind the windows). It's an abominably expensive area, but the fashion, colors and designs—ah, it’s magnificent.
  • Found a Zara. Had no choice but to enter. Left with items, but it's not like it’s actually a permanent buy. I am absolutely allowed to make returns should I change my mind within the 30- day limit.
  • Strolled down to La Madeleine, a church to commemorate the greatness of Napoleon’s army.
  • Met up with friends for an evening picnic on the Champ de Mars, the grass patch right opposite the Eiffel Tower. You know, casual.

  • Met a friend, (in town visiting) at Vavin, the metro stop next to my early morning grammar class. Took him to my 2nd favorite boulangerie for the eggplant and cheese sandwich. Had lunch in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Took him on a tour of the Pantheon and a stroll to St. Michel to get patisseries from my 2nd favorite place to get patisseries from. Ate in the garden next to where I have phonetics (right opposite the street from Notre Dame).
  • Walked to Chatelet; parted ways at my metro stop. Met up with another friend in town. And off we went to the Paris Art Fair held in the Grand Palais.
  • Recognized work by an artist I've seen at Miami’s Art Basel. The show was a commentary on the modern world, our loss of identity among the commercialization of our lives. My favorite piece was of a woman with her face painted with a Facebook home page. Modern art so often seems to trace back to identity: How much of who we are is a mere reflection of society and our environments? How much of our public virtual image represents our private, actual selves?
  • Art fair: I was in my element. I love art. Although, I do find it difficult to sit through a two- hour Art History lecture without losing focus (um try sitting in a dark room for two hours, just staring at images), I love applying what I lean to new pieces I come across. I find it incredible how modern day artists refer to works of the past, how it always stems from a commentary, in some way, of the world and our lives. And I love observing how people respond to art because that too becomes a part of the piece.
  • Walked to the Champs Elysees. Went, with a few friends, for drinks at a cafe just off the Champs Elysées. The five of us, all Jewish minus one, left for Chabad at 8.
  • Met a mother and daughter at Chabad who I know the older daughter (not present at dinner) from camp and they know my best friend from school. Jewish geography actually never gets old.
  • Left the evening talking to a group of Australians who have been backpacking for the last six months. There are always new people at Chabad each week, new faces and new stories. Although that would be a post on its own.

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