A bit late to upload this post, but internet has been a challenge the past few weeks.
Everyone kept calling the first week in Paris, SAS week. I thought SAS was an acronym, like… I don’t know, Semaine d’Accueil en Septembre (Welcome Week in September) or something like that. It turns out it’s not – as I understand it, it actually means “airlock” in French. They use it to mean a transitional space from one medium to another, in this case from vacation into school. What I found interesting is that it’s a fairly widely-used word in that context.
Anyway, that was just one of hundreds of new little things that shot by me this week. I caught some, understood some, and missed many others – but overall it was a good week. I met a number of really interesting people and everyone was kind and curious to learn about me. I found it was best to able to talk to people one-on-one where I could stop them, ask them to explain a word, grammatical construction, expression, or have them correct me – and then keep going. Right now my French is serviceable, but I’m excited to get it to a level where I can speak without constructing every sentence in my head before speak it out loud.
I was able to do a few tourist activities and visit some of the sights with my mom, who was planning to come to France, on her way back to the States from Bulgaria. Through varying intensity of rain we: did a walking tour of the city, went atop the Eiffel Tower, visited the Impressionists’ museum, Musée d’Orsay, rode a boat on the Seine, stumbled upon evening mass at Sacre-Coeur Cathedral, and saw a movie on the Champs Elysées – proud to even have received a considerable student discount – Thanks, Gobelins! 🙂
After a few days of riding the Parisian Metro, it was time to take a real train to my final destination – Annecy, where I’ll spend the school year. Spoiler of the next post: this place is a caricature of the word “charming.”
Tour Eiffel as seen from the Seine
Looking up from the first level
Looking at the Place du Trocadéro from atop the tower
Musée du Louvre Pyramid
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel – designed to honor Napoleon’s victories
Taken from the Tuileries Gardens walking away from the Louvre. Visible are the Luxor Obelisk at Place de la Concorde, then all the way up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
Place de la Concorde, Luxor Obelisk. A gift from Egypt to France. Tour Eiffel in the background.
Detail from the Luxor Obelisk. It’s over 3,000 years old
Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile – the most epic traffic circle in the world
Detail from the Arc de Triomphe – Incredible sculptures everywhere
The locks of love bridge. They had to remove a section of the fence with cranes because the locks’ added weight of over 3 tons was starting to cause issues
A lion-dragon dude thing from the Fontaine Saint-Michel, where our walking tour started
Notre-Dame de Paris – apparently this building was in bad shape and no one really liked it at the beginning of the 19th century, so in order to save it, Victor Hugo wrote a novel abot it (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). It worked!
Some of the gargoyles adorning the cathedral
La Musée d’Orsay, amazing museum with tons of Impressionist art, among other things. Formerly a train station
The first thing when you see when you enter the museum. Epic.
I took so many pictures of the sculptures. They are beyond amazing. I could not stop circling them!
The muscles on the dog were scupted in such detail. Unbelievable
The famous Edgar Degas sculpture
Just liked this guy a lot…
Another beautiful, dynamic sculpture
Not Seurat but another contemporary Pointillist.
Woman with a Parasol, by Paul Signac. Here are the pixels!
Sacré Cœur de Montmartre, the famous basilica
Caught evening mass inside! The choir sang, the organ played, the priest spoke, and they all filed out. We lit some candles.
Random silver T-Rex I noticed from a boat on the Seine
Awesome minotaur in Tuileries Gardens. Has always been one of my favorite mythical creatures.
Pond in Tuileries Gardens, lots of birds on statues’ heads! I found it really insulting! >:[
Guarding the Champs-Élysées – everything inside this Disney Store was Star Wars-themed.
Nutella & Banana Crepes… mmm
The famous Metro entrances
Tour de l’Horloge – France’s first public clock. 1350-53