Saturday, November 8, 2008


  • After breakfast, we took a sight seeing walk to the Louvre during which we got to see the many faces featured on the sides of Pont Nuef, Paris’ newest bridge over the Seine River.
  • When we arrived at the iconic pyramids of the Louvre, Wendy decided it would be a great place for us to do some contemporary dance improvisation!
You’re probably wondering what it’s like to dance outside such an iconic structure in the middle of Paris with groups of people watching. At first, it’s very unsettling. It’s hard to get into the right state of mind and feel as though you’re truly settled into your body. Personally, I just keep thinking about the people watching and judging me. I want to show them that I have proper technique and skill and training, but I also know that those characteristics aren’t exactly what my professor is valuing. She wants to see us releasing into ourselves and truly dancing from our hearts and souls. Luckily, after only a few moments of calculated movements, I tend to lose myself anyway and feel more comfortable. I forget where I am and just dance. It took a lot of practice and trust in myself to be able to do this, but I’ve slowly learned this really important ability since being in college contemporary dance courses.

Finally, when it specifically comes to dancing outside of the Louvre, I didn’t know that strangers were watching, taking photographs, and video recording us until after our “performance” was done! Ultimately, I was a bit embarrassed by Wendy’s request at first, and I didn’t want to dance in such an open, tourist filled area, but I’m really glad we all did it! I mean, who else can say that while they were in Paris they danced outside of the Louvre? Not to mention, it’s on film! That means, it’s totally undeniable. Personally, I think it shows that each of us are confident and free spirited women, and those are genuinely good qualities to possess, don’t you think?

  • Inside the museum, we all split up so that we would all be able to individually see the works of art that were personally important to us. I went off and found The Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Mona Lisa, the Coronation Crown of Louis XV, Venus de Milo, and Saint Mary Magdalene! Unfortunately, we only had two hours to explore the museum, but I wasn’t as upset about the lack of available time this time around. You see, I was prepared to not be able to see all of the featured artwork due to my previous research on the Louvre. From this quick Google search, I discovered that it literally takes a full twenty-four hour period JUST to walk through the entire Louvre! Therefore, I knew it would be impossible for me to see everything in one quick visit, but I was really glad to be able to experience the pieces that I did.
  • After we grabbed a quick lunch at a local restaurant, Wendy took us to a store she had discovered on her last trip to Paris: A taxidermy shop! It was quite intriguing to see all of the animals featured and discover new types of insects that I had never seen before.
  • When we were all taxidermy-ed out, we made our way to the Musée d’Orsay, which is THE impressionism museum of Paris. Before entering, I couldn’t recall any artists from the impressionism and post-impressionism eras except for Monet and Van Gogh. However, when we entered, I found a small work of Degas and almost freaked out! I HAD to see his work in person. He was THE artist that constructed numerous paintings and sculptures of dancers, and since I’d been dancing since I was six years old, I’d had recreations of works by Degas in my life since I was a very little girl. Ultimately, his work was hundreds of times more inspiring in person, and I’ll never forget he’s an impressionism era artist ever again.
  • Once I had experienced enough art for one day, I headed back to the Hotel Marignon with a few of the girls for a nap! Haha.
  • The evening plans featured a group dinner at a nice restaurant during which I put my past love aside (READ AS: I had a pet snail growing up) and tried escargot. As I had been previously informed, it was positively AMAZING. In fact, it was SO ridiculously good, I’ve made the decision that I MUST eat it again before I leave France. Who knew something so strange could be such a great treat? If you’re looking for a recommendation to try them, go for it! What’s the worst that could happen? You spit it out into your napkin? Don’t miss the opportunity.
  • After dinner, we went to see the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumph at night… and I fell in love with Paris AGAIN. The Tour Eiffel is officially my favorite iconic structure. I want one for my backyard. I want to live on it. I want to put one over the giant Bubble on Franklin Pierce’s campus. I mean, wouldn’t that just look fantastic? Haha.
  • It was Halloween in America, our very first (and only) full day off in Paris, and we all decided to take a walk of the wild side by sleeping in for a whole hour! Okay-okay, I know it’s not THAT wild, but who wants to sleep their entire free day away when they’re in PARIS? Now, moving on…
  • After eating breakfast at the Hotel Marignon, a few of the girls and I headed out on our day’s excursions.
  • My small group of five decided to start our day by visiting the famed Moulin Rouge! We purchased our own tickets and took the metro system to a stop known as Blanche. When we got out of the station, we felt slightly unfulfilled to say the least. Moulin Rouge was NO sight to be seen, and we couldn’t stop laughing! It was an old building stuck in between a “Quick” fast food restaurant and a motel. Even so, we got some pretty great pictures of it and some videos of us performing the cancan outside its front doors! Plus, we got to watch some clips from the recent cabaret shows while we meandered around the official gift shop, which was highly entertaining and gave me some lovely choreographic ideas! Haha.
  • Next, M and I decided it was time to embark on our trip up the Eiffel Tower! 
Feeling highly independent and capable for women traveling in a large, foreign city, we had just enough confidence to effortlessly use the metro system as our form of travel in order to quickly arrive at the Eiffel Tower. However, after getting there, we came to a rather stark realization: we had absolutely NO idea how to even go about climbing the 1000s of stairs! I mean, we knew it would cost money, and we knew it could take us all afternoon, but, unfortunately for us, all of the signs regarding Eiffel Tour climbing information were, of course, in French. Therefore, we used our combined knowledge of the French language (for we lacked French-to-English dictionaries today) in order to choose a line. It took us approximately an hour before coming up to the ticket booth, and after standing for so long in the rather chilly temperature, our initial plan to save some money by actually trekking up the stairs of the tower seemed highly unappealing. Not to mention, when we did the math, we realized that in order for us to reach the top floor of the structure, which can only be accessed by an elevator, we’d have to pay around 10 euros, which was only 2 euros cheaper than taking elevators all the way up to the top! So, we splurged the 12 euros each, and embarked on one of the most amazing experiences!

Due to the fact that the weather was highly unimpressive (for it was slightly drizzly, quite cold, and the top of the tower was encircled in fog), we were able to make it all the way to the top without having to worry about overcrowding! As the elevators slowly made their ways to the three different floors, we couldn’t stop snapping photographs. Not only would we be able to show these photographs to family and friends and claim they were from the Eiffel Tower, but also, due to the fact that some of our photographs even captured parts of the tower’s metal beams, no one would be able to doubt our pictures’ authenticity! We had proof of our excursion, and it felt so good.

On the second level, the fog wasn’t an issue, and we experienced some amazing views of the entire city. Up on that floor, it seemed unconceivable that we were so much higher than we had been on the Notre Dame. In fact, I had to convince my eyes that what they were seeing was truly real—right out in front of me: the endless expanse of Paris.

Finally, we traveled up to the very top and as the elevator made its journey up, up, and further up, our visibility slowly cut down. We were literally in the clouds! It was quite amazing. I felt as though I was floating, and I didn’t mind that I couldn’t necessarily see the city from this view. Just the second floor alone had been worth the time and money in my mind. I mean, I had been there. I could say I’d been there, and I had pictures to prove it. I had pictures of the view and pictures of the tower itself! I even took pictures of the elevators’ mechanisms. Haha.

On the third level, we could walk outside, and we did! We walked right through the clouds, breathing them in and posing for pictures as we “ate” the cotton candy-like air masses. Overall, this level was the most informative. It featured images of the city below each “window-pane” with the important, monumental structures labeled so that one could easily find them on a clear day. It also had a room with wax models of Gustav Eiffel, his wife, and Thomas Edison! Plus, some walls even featured dioramas of Mr. Eiffel’s other experiments involving pigeons and falling humans. Haha!

As we descended back down, I knew for a fact that, once again, I was in love. How could Paris be this utterly amazing and perfect? I just couldn’t wrap my head around it… and by this point, I’m pretty sure my head (and entire body, actually) was already out of the clouds. Haha.

  • All of that “walking” up those 1000’s of stairs made M and me VERY hungry. Therefore, after making a few souvenir shop stops, we made our way to a small boulangerie in the area and had lunch. As we were there, the other girls that we had visited the Moulin Rouge with earlier in the morning invited us to meet them at Shakespeare & Co.! Of course, we couldn’t turn them down.
  • Unfortunately, by the time M and I had walked our way to Shakespeare & Co., our other friends had already left. Even so, we cherished our time in that beloved bookstore, and I purchased my previously talked about coffee table book!
  • By the time we were done, we were completely ready to head back to the hotel and rest for a bit.
  • Of course, when we arrived, the other girls were already getting into the spirit of Halloween and getting their crazy costumes together! We made plans to leave the residence at 9:00PM in order to start our “exciting” evening out.
  • Unfortunately, since we were traveling in a large group of nine on a Friday night (and all dressed up in ridiculous, not very appealing costumes), we didn’t get into any of the places we wanted to! Many of the girls were upset, but we were able to make the best of things by purchasing some amazingly yummy crepes and candy for a great night spent back at the hotel. Plus, we promised ourselves that once we were back at Franklin Pierce, we’d all get together and have our own costume shindig just to make up for the night!
  • Just in case you didn’t know, although Halloween clearly isn’t celebrated in France, All Saints Day IS. Therefore, if you plan on attending any museums, exhibits, or cool touristy sites on this day, BEWARE! They’ll probably be closed.
  • We began our day with the normal 8:00AM breakfast at the Hotel Marignon and then heading off to our first mandatory activity of the day: the flea market held in Clignancourt each weekend!
  • It was a huge flea market that spanned the multiple streets and sold everything from electronics to clothing to antiques to toys to more! Since we didn’t want to squander all of our money away, we decided to only hang around there for about an hour and crossed our fingers that the damp, rainy weather would let up.
  • Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything worth buying (haha) and the weather didn’t let up, so Wendy decided that our afternoon plans of having a picnic in the Luxemberg Gardens would have to be canceled. Knowing that, she allowed us to spend the rest of the day exploring on our own!
  • CL and I were overjoyed at this announcement because we knew EXACTLY what we wanted to do! We were going to visit the catacombs. We took our free metro tickets from Wendy and found a straight shot to the catacombs’ location by way of Metro 4. After getting loads of good luck wishes from the other girls who were none to eager to join us on such a scary expedition, we embarked on our excursion.
  • Unfortunately (and yes, this day is FILLED with unfortunately-s), when we arrived at the catacombs, there was one of the most depressing signs ever created… and it was taped to the entrance. It read: “Catacombs fermes le 01 Novembre 2008!” We were SO upset. CL even made a quick video out front of the door/sign describing her feelings about the closed catacombs. Now what were we to do? We had been looking forward to this trip all week long! If we knew they were going to be closed today, we would have gone there yesterday.
  • In order to brighten our moods, we went in search of a café and found something even better: Starbucks! Now, although we never told any of the other girls about this secret afternoon outing, which included caramel muffins, espresso brownies, and white chocolate mocha drinks, we weren’t necessarily ashamed of our actions. As far as we concerned (and we decided this at the table), Starbucks was highly warranted by the depressing morning we had experience, and it had been far too long since either of us had enjoyed a little taste of home.
  • When we finished our drinks, we decided to walk through the Luxemberg Gardens in order to get to the hotel. The rain had slightly let up, and we were wearing the proper attire, so it seemed like a good way to spend a little bit more time out before we returned.
  • Even in the gloom, one could tell that the gardens were very beautiful! Who knew that flowers would still be blooming in NOVEMBER? I took plenty of pictures and truly tried to enjoy myself even though the world seemed gray.

  • Back at the Hotel Marignon, we met up with a few of the other girls, spent time talking about our day’s escapades, and then completely conked out!
  • Luckily, we woke up just in time to get ready for our evening’s performance: Europe Hip-Hop performed by Accrorap! That’s right. Wendy bought us tickets to see a Hip-Hop performance in Paris! Of course, it wasn’t her first choice, but it was the last alternative, and she knew we’d appreciate it.
  • Overall, even Wendy admitted that the performance was extremely inventive, inspiring, well thought out, and entertaining. Personally, I found myself on the edge of my seat for most of it, and I couldn’t write down my “dance performance inspiration” notes fast enough! I wanted to see it all over again. I wanted to meet with the company! I had so many questions for them such as how they began, where they come up with their ideas, how they choose dancers, how they decided who manipulates his body in specific manners, etc. Basically, it was awesome!
  • On our way back to the hotel that evening, we stopped by the Eiffel Tower to watch it sparkle one last time, and we also stopped by the crepe/Panini restaurant located right down the road from our hotel. Surprisingly, the man behind the counter knew exactly what I was going to order before I ordered it! I felt like I was a “regular,” and more than ever before it made me feel like I truly belonged in Paris. It was a bittersweet feeling. Yes, I was in love, but I was leaving soon, and there was nothing I could do about it. I had to say goodbye to Paris, to owners of crepe shops who know my order by heart, to historical sights and people focused on a future, and to a city with its very own heartbeat that, for some unknown reason, effortlessly aligns with mine.
  • Back at the hotel, I finished my lovely Panini, and packed up my suitcase before heading off to bed for the night.

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