Tuesday, December 13, 2011

making it count

I spent my last night in Paris with my friend Natalie. We met after my conference finished and headed to the Louvre! We saw exhibits of French painters, a long gallery of Italian masterpieces, and the Egyptian artifacts and quickly breezed past galleries of statues and the moat on our long, complicated venture out!

  • Rembrandt's works were quite amazing. They also had a collection of portraits of him, creations by other famous artists.
  • Natalie pointed out how white and bright the characters are in the Italian paintings. Afterwards, it's all I could notice! Because surely these people bathed every day and never went outside.
  • We accidentally walked past the Mona Lisa and had to trace back our steps. Of course there was a crowd around it, but I had to take a picture too! But you know what? It looks exactly the same as it does in books! It was behind a wall of tinted glass which I believe protects it from flash photography. In jest, I told Natalie "I bet it's not the real thing. The real Mona Lisa is probably stored in a safe in the basement." But then I realized that could very likely be true. Although, I am one for conspiracy theories (if you have the time, ask me my thoughts about going to the moon!)
  • We really enjoyed the Egyptian mummy and marveled at the figure's frame and resemblance it still had to a person, 4,000 years later! They also had an unwrapped crocodile mummy. We were simply astonished by the state of the reptile. The skin was in tact, it had scales - it really only looked a little deflated! Funny thing is, most of these items were stolen from the Egyptians back in the day.
Onto the Montmarte neighborhood and a fantastic fondue dinner!! We showed up a few minutes late for our reservation, which was really a loose list, so we chatted with an Italian couple outside (I guess those key phrases that popped up all week turned out to be useful). When we got called inside I stepped onto a chair and over the table, then landed in a bench seat! They brought us some snacks to nosh on... 
While eating our appetizers we ordered red wine, sipped our aperitifs, and awaited our cheese fondue!
I believe the wine is served in baby bottles because of the open flames and necessary climbing over tables.
Warm, melty cheese - yummmmmm!!

After our dinner we walked up all the stairs to the Sacre Coeur. There is a funicular (trolley car that travels up a hill) but we opted for a workout. After all, we just ate an entire pot of cheese!! The views from up top were spectacular. The Eiffel Tower's spotlight hits you when it circles around (like a lighthouse). There was a cute Christmas Market (closed) set up that was adding to the festive feeling. Though, the neighborhood isn't very safe - it's known for pick pockets - so we didn't hang around very long. 

My last night in Paris was perfect!! I got to check off the final items on my "tourist must-see" list and drink wine from a baby bottle to boot! You know what, I think I made it count! Though, back down to central Paris and it was time to pack... interesting since my suitcase was packed to the brim when I arrived in Paris and during the week I accumulated a number of gifts... oh dear...

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