Week(end) in Review

Posted on: July 6, 2008

It is (EDIT: was) Friday morning in Paris, and that means that we have been here for over a week! It’s kind of hard to believe. It didn’t feel like the week was passing so quickly, but now it’s almost surprising that Friday is here. I’m going to attempt to review all the details that I skipped out on/glossed over before.

As I mentioned before, we did some brief exploring on Friday, visiting the Luxembourg gardens which are right across the street from us, and walking down the street to the Notre Dame. I got really excited when I saw it because its been the background on my computer desktop for several months now, and we approached it from pretty much the same angle that the picture I have was taken. I can’t relay in words how impressive and striking it is! It is really amazing how much detail there is on such a grandiose building. I feel like I could stare at it for hours! I really like looking at the gargoyles because they’re pretty cool. They just don’t have architecture like this in the States!

Later on, we went up to the terrace to enjoy the view and watch the sunset. The view up there is amazing, and when I get my darn camera working again, I will try to post the pictures. You can see all the way to Montmartre, where the Sacre Coeur is! We watched the Eiffel Tower light up and sparkle, which just made me giddy with excitement because it’s hard to believe that we’re truly here, seeing all this with our own eyes.
After that, most of the group went out to a pub, but my roommate and I were just exhausted, so we turned in for the night.

The next day, we had more orientation for a few hours. Towards the end of it, we heard music and commotion in the streets, due to a gay pride parade passing by on the boulevard Saint Michel. After we were done with orientation, we ran up to our rooms to put our things away, caught a glimpse of the parade outside, and immediately ran back downstairs to watch and join in the festivities taking place outside. It was absolutely nuts!!! There were so many sights and sounds and colors to take in! It was crazy and wonderful, and I really wish that my camera was working so I could upload the pictures!!! Because really, there is no sufficient description of everything that we saw, although flamboyant is a good word that comes to mind. 😉 There was great music and dancing and just flat-out celebration in the streets. Buses, floats, dancers, trucks, trannies, cyclists, you name it. Participants in the march were promoting everything from pride, acceptance and safety to clubs, drinks (Pepsi was giving out special cans of diet cola – they call it “Pepsi/Coke light” here, instead of “diet”), and other festivals and events. One of the more poignant sights was one troop of people walking together, wearing pink or black t-shirts. Many of them were holding signs that read, «Je suis positif. Et toi?» I found it very thought-provoking and rather touching. AIDS is really an issue that we generally don’t like to talk about, even though it is a devastating epidemic that requires a lot of attention, and action in order to address the situation, and do all that we can to remedy it. It was definitely the least rambunctious of the displays, but probably the most profound.
After that, we grabbed dinner at a café, and then proceeded to purchase wine at a small grocery store and headed on over to les Jardins de Luxembourg to enjoy it. The park closes at 9:45, but at approximately 9:30, the guards start a “whistle brigade” to start clearing everyone out. After returning to the Foyer to get ready, we went out dancing. The club that we went to was empty when we got there, so we started the party and had fun by ourselves until others started trickling in. We danced up a storm, and were pretty much soaked by the time we left.

My roommate and I got crêpes at a café down boulevard Saint Michel, called «Crêpes à GoGo». It was my first true French crêpe, complete with a café au lait. Delicious! After that, it was time for our last round of “Orientation”. We took the metro to the Chateau de Vincennes, where my camera promptly died upon arrival (and has refused to be resuscitated, much to my chagrin). It’s a very impressive castle, and I wish I had more than the one picture I took outside. Anyways, we went on a tour of it with our French History professor (who teaches at Southwestern University) and a very long-winded and monotonous tour guide who took herself very seriously. The castle was pretty cool though, and there was a superb view from the top. After a quick lunch, we took the metro to the Bois de Vincennes, a nice park complete with pony rides, a small carousel and various other playground toys for children, a lake with row boats, and a neat little cave on an island. We took out six row boats and paddled around for a bit. It was a gorgeous day, so there were loads of picnickers and sunbathers. We had a lot of fun, and it was so picturesque – there were even swans!

We’ve been watching the Eiffel Tower light up every night, too. It never fails to excite me, especially when it starts sparkling! hehe. But on Sunday (30 juin), it started lighting up blue! Quoi??? Turns out, it’s because Sarkozy is now the president of the European Union for the next six months.

Ah, again, I was too ambitious in my goals: what I wanted to be a review of the week turned out to be a review of the weekend… Not to worry, I will get to review the events of this past week (eventually). Until then, bon soir!


1 Response to "Week(end) in Review"

salut ma cherie!
ooooohhhhh justine I am so jealous! You sound like you are having so much fun over there. Part of me wishes I were there to. However my dear, I hope your camera dilema get solved promptly and I do have a request, if you ever happen on some french soap, just a simple block made out of vegatable oil, could you get me some, I can pay you back. However in the meantime I am loving every minute I spend reading your blog. I love you so much Justine!

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July 2008
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