day 4: art

2/3/13:

4.1We all slept in since we were out so late the night before, then Justin, Margaret, Claire and I all went to get coffee at Starbucks. From there we headed to the Louvre and saw the Obelisk, which France stole from Egypt and wouldn’t give back.  Before we went to the Louvre, we stopped at the Musée de l’Orangerie, which is a place Monet designed – he wanted someplace for people to view his work, and meditate and such. There were two main rooms with four paintings each, one per wall. It was awesome to see his work up close like that. It was hard not to reach out and touch it. If we had time, I probably could have sat on a bench for a few hours just staring at his paintings. Naturally we weren’t allowed to take any pictures. Nothing would compare to the original anyway. There was also a gallery downstairs with work from various artists, but honestly, after seeing Monet’s work, I wasn’t paying much attention to anything else.

4.2After that we tried to stop at a mustard shop called Maille, but it was closed. So we popped in next door at Ladurée and got some famous (and of course, a little expensive) macarons. We tried pistachio, coffee, rose petal, raspberry and orange blossom. Orange blossom and raspberry were my favorite, and I have to say that I was disappointed in rose petal. The coffee was good and I don’t like pistachios, so obviously I didn’t like that one. They were super adorable though, and I totally wanted to buy all the colors just to have a rainbow of macarons. Charlie came to pick up Claire and we bid them adieu for a few days.

Before stopping at the Louvre we grabbed crepes (my first, of course). I picked an apricot jam filled one and Justin got one with ham and cheese. Honestly, I preferred the ham and cheese. The sugary-marshmallow-like consistency of the crepe dough was just too sweet paired with the jam.

The line for the Louvre was quite long (free admission on the first Sunday of the month), but it moved really quickly. Margaret kept our place in line while Justin and I walked through a stone courtyard towards the back of the building and mused on how long it took to build this huge museum (Margaret later informed us that it was built in stages and added on to over the years). By the time we came back to the line Margaret was at the front waiting for us. We joined the mob and headed off to the Venus de Milo. We also saw the Winged Beauty and of course the Mona Lisa. Honestly, Lisa wasn’t that impressive. So small! And of course EVERYONE was crowded in there to see, so there’s no way to really look at it and appreciate it, not to mention it’s behind a rope and glass so you can’t even get close. They also put it in the room with some of the biggest paintings I’ve ever seen, which made it seem even more diminutive.

Typically when I go to a museum, I like to meander and stare at certain works, sometimes sit and stare, or maybe sketch (back in college). That’s not really an option in the Louvre. There were just so many people, constantly moving and talking and shuffling about that it was impossible to have the “museum experience” that I enjoy. However, it was great to see so much artwork. Naturally we weren’t able to see everything, but I think we spent close to two hours cruising through, so I got to see quite a bit.

After a quick snack back at Charlie and Claire’s place (they weren’t home), we headed off to Nancy – pronounced Non-see. There was a girl that was supposed to carpool with us back to Nancy, but after about 20 minutes on the road she decided she wanted to stay one more night with her boyfriend, who lives in Paris. We ended up dropping her off at some random metro station. I was glad for the extra space in the backseat (our car was small) to nap in. It was a four hour ride back to Nancy, in the dark, so there wasn’t much to look at. I tried to sleep most of the time.

When we got to Justin and Margaret’s apartment (super cute little place) we had some leftover Korean food for dinner, that some Korean (yeah, duh) kids had made when they were couch surfing at J&M’s place. I tried kimchi for the first time (LOVE) and had some sort of noodles and squishy rice bits to go with it. And of course several cups of tea, because basically all I drank in France was black tea, café au lait and wine. The Super Bowl came on at about 1 AM and I watched up until the half-time show and then called it a night after Beyonce’s lame performance.

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