Monday, February 28, 2011

This last week has probably been the most productive vacation week I've had since I've been here (although, really, "productive" is relative).  Let's see, where did I leave off...

Day 55: 2-24-11 - The Freedom, 8 rue de Berri, 75008
Thursday I meant to continue my whirlwind tour of the famous musées  of Paris (i.e., the 2 or 3 hours of one rainy evening I spent in the ancient Egypt section of the Louvre and eye flirting with some backpacker in the ticket line) by going to the Musée d'Orsay, an old train station across the river known for its collection of impressionist paintings and for being a much more manageable feat for non-art afficianados like myself than the Louvre.  So I went for a run and took a shower, but then got distracted by a nap (I told you productivity is relative) and ended up sleeping much longer than I intended and being late for my rendez-vous with Nicholas, who has popped back into my life momentarily for tips and ideas for his 2 week trip to Florida.  On the bright side, we did discover a cute little English pub not far from me off the Champs Elysees.  Drinks were standard for Paris (read: expensive), the music a little loud, and the nachos were decent at best (typical bar food) but there were beaucoup d'attractive Englishmen in suits presumably having a round after work, so I will have to give it another go sometime.

Friday I was again going to head over to Musée d'Orsay, and so I sent Alex a text to see if he would like to join.  It went something like this:
Me: Hey, what are you up to today?
Alex: We're going to Chinatown for lunch and to pick up some fake merchandise.  Wanna come?
Me: There's a Chinatown?  I was gonna ask if you wanted to go to a museum but that sounds way cooler.
Day 56: 2-25-11 - L'église Saint Paul-Saint Louis,
inside from the back.
So long story short I was again distracted by my original goal and we went off to the 13th in search of some eggrolls and fake Chanel with Kaitlyn, a girl in Alex's program.  Turns out that the area we thought might be this so-called Chinatown was actually a fairly average mostly-white area of Paris, but in keeping true to our original intent we did find a pretty happenin' Chinese restaurant with a 10 euro buffet that made me forget all about my quest for illegal counterfeit purses.  Wish I could remember the name (my newfound hobby of collecting business cards has failed) but I can get there again if (/when) necessary.

After we wandered around the Marais to find Alex's absinthe specialty store (yes, they have that), and decided to go into L'église Saint Paul-Saint Louis, a rather oddly placed church in the row of buildings on rue Saint Antoine near the St. Paul metro.  It's one of those places I've walked by dozens of times, even eaten falafel in front of, but have never gone in until now. Sadly, most of my pictures didn't turn out too well but I managed to get a few that worked.  (seen right).  I also have realized that my vertical photos tend to be crooked.  I will work at correcting this.  Finished the evening at Le Tribal Cafe with some cous-cous that I really wasn't  hungry for after 2 plate of Chinese buffet food and dessert, but with phenomenal 4 euro mojitos how can you say no to free cous-cous?

Saturday Alex and I had booked tickets (9.30 euros roundtrip, not bad) to go to Orléans, the city famously rescued from the English by Joan of Arc.  However, at 6:45 am I got a call from Alex saying that he couldn't find his 12-25 pass (which you need to show on the train when they check tickets to make sure you actually deserve the discount you got, or they fine you much more than the ticket would have been).  Our train left at 7:25 am.  So we scrambled to the train station, both in a bad mood and not really talking, to exchange our tickets for the next day, and went home to get a little more sleep (me) and tear apart a bedroom looking for said pass (Alex).  So, in finding myself with a whole day of nothing planned, third time is, in fact, the charm and I finally made it to Musée d'Orsay.  And I'll admit, I like it a lot better than the Louvre.  I only made it through one half before they closed, so I'll have to go back, and they don't allow photos inside the museum, so I had to settle for a picture of the outside, from across the river.  I'll give a more complete review once I make it the whole way through.
Day 57: 2-26-11 - Musee d'Orsay. Supposed to be in Orléans, but the weather sucked anway.
Alex did manage to find his train pass behind his bed, and we managed to catch a slightly later train to Orléans for Sunday.  I'll go into more detail later because it really deserves a post of its own and this one is getting to be a bit lengthy anyway.  I do need to keep the attention of my dear readers.  So go take a snack break and come back in a bit to find out more about my trip to the original version of Louisiana's most famous city.

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