Holy knickerbockers, has it been a hectic week and a half.
As I mentioned in my last post, last week I had a good friend visit me for a few days on his way home from some world traveling, and when I wasn’t teaching we went over the top running around Paris seeings sights and eating lots and LOTS of delicious food (look forward to the return of Becky’s Obsessive Food Reviews in the near future!) and overall having a damn good time catching up. Then, merely two days after he left, Sean arrived fresh in from Germany to visit for this week, and we are both currently relaxing as much as two people can in my tiny, cramped apartment. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to start catching up on some blogging of all these adventures-and where better to start than with one of the prized tourist destinations of all of France, (I’d even go so far as to say all of Europe) the Louvre?
It wasn’t the first place my friend and I went last week, nor did we give it the amount of time we had planned–when our first destination, the Paris Catacombs, fell through due to lines we had no desire to wait in (fear not, we visited later in the week) we made a snap decision to visit the Louvre instead, even knowing that it was to be closing in a few hours. The museum costs 12 Euros per person, however there are all kinds of exceptions one can get–I am, for example, allowed to use a Passe d’Education as I am a teacher in a French school, which gets me in for free. However, I didn’t (…don’t…) have that pass yet, so I sort of talked my way into getting the free entry that is given to any resident of the EU who is 25 or under–between showing an ID with my age and showing my bank card which inexplicably lists me as a STUDENT at the high school where I teach, I managed to pull it off. (Don’t hate.)
In any case, with our limited time schedule we had to make a firm decision about what we wanted to see, given how extensive the Louvre is. We went with the Ancient Egypt exhibit, which made me extremely happy as my inner anthropology/archaeology student is still running strong, and combined with my love for all things Middle East and Ancient World I was like a proverbial kid in a candy store.
Not that I expected anything less from the Louvre, but I have to say…the collection had some really stunning pieces. Many were in incredibly good condition with paint still as bright as the day they must’ve been painted. All of the placards are in French, however one can easily rent an audio tour to help out with information–we skipped on that one, so I probably missed some really fascinating stuff…but, c’est la vie.
My favorite parts were honestly just some of the random assortments of trinkets that were collected–tiny statues or miniatures of gods and animals with (or without) hieroglyphics, cat statues, knives, etc. It’s just amazing to see what has been preserved.
That being said, the exhibit also showcased an impressive collection of MASSIVE carved statues and pillars, even ceiling and wall pieces from what I presume were tombs or temples. (Having an archaeology background I would be very interested to know the conditions of the loaning of these pieces, or if they were taken to France before international standards/ethics codes were established…aka, does Egypt want them back or do they approve of the Louvre’s possession? Sorry. Nerd moment.)
We managed to make it through almost all of the exhibit before a combination of the museum’s imminent closing and our tired feet convinced us to putter out a bit early–we quickly brushed through the last two or three rooms and made our way back outside where evening had settled in, and decided to take a stroll through the Jardins des Tuileries-the Tuileries Gardens, a long stretch of broad pathways lined with trees, sculptures, ponds, and elegantly sculpted plants. (Presumably many flowers during warmer temperatures as well.)
Smack in the middle of the path, visible through the entire garden, was an enormous ferris wheel lighting up the sky. Like moths drawn to a flame, we angled straight towards it (albeit slowly) and found ourselves at the end of Champs Elysées, where the annual Paris Christmas Market was in full swing.
We ventured a bit in to the Christmas Market, as one cannot just walk AWAY from Christmas lights, music, and little booths full of hot beverages and food, and enjoyed the atmosphere of it all. Since France doesn’t do the whole Thanksgiving thing, I didn’t feel TOO guilty about getting my Christmas spirit on so early…
However, I shall leave more details of the market for another post, as I returned again with Sean on Sunday for a much more in-depth venture. For now, signing off.
Hope you’re all having a lovely week!