Paris...the city of love. I know that I may have been to this city about 2 weeks ago, but I remember everything perfectly. At first, I thought Paris was going to be extremely cliche and oh yes parts of it were - but it was still completely unbelievable. Paris was by far one of my favorite cities. Thankfully, we were able to have 6 days there. A few of our days were cut short though because we had finals there, but don't worry, I didn't let studying cramp my style too much.
The first night after our welcome dinner - we all decided to go out and experience the night life in Paris - and oh let me tell you, it was definitely an experience. We went to the Red Light District because that is where Moulin Rouge is and all of us really wanted to see it. Well, lets just say that after about .2 seconds in the Red Light District we had had more than enough of an experience. We were all a little freaked out by that area, but it made for a good laugh later.
Thursday morning, we had both lectures back to back. Absolutely exhiliarting - 3 and half hours of art and music - shoot me now. But Thursday was actually one of my favorite days: my itinerary included class, Musee d'Orsay, shopping, and Sex and the City! It was a beautiful day. (I talk about Musee d'Orsay later...) As you may be able to tell, Thursday was dedicated to the girls. All of the girls that I had been hanging out with decided that we wanted to have one big girls day before arriving to Oxford. And what better way than to go shopping and see Sex and the City. I know most of you are laughing at me for going to see a movie in Paris - but bear with me, the last episode of the final Sex and the City season was filmed in Paris - so it seemed like the perfect place to do it! The movie was incredible of course and that day truly was one of the best days of the trip!
Our second full day included a whole lot of Pearsall 5000s =) We had a walking tour of Paris and it was the longest walking tour of the entire trip. There is close to 4 hours worth of things to see in Paris on foot - also, keep in mind that that is walking at Pearsall's rate - so for a normal person, probably about 8 hours worth. It was really neat to walk around the whole city in one day because we were able to see the very unique layout of Paris and make a list of things that we wanted to go back and see later. The city is broken down into about 20 different districts that kind of make a snail shape when starting in the middle - and we definitely walked through 20 different districts.
After our extreme walking tour, we decided that it was Eiffel Tower time. and guess what we did? we walked there - what looked like a 15 minute walk on the map turned into an hour and fifteen walk. Lets just say that I have some killer calves =) It was really cool walking towards the Eiffel Tower though because as you got closer, the Eiffel Tower would start peeking out from behind other buildings and then finally you are standing in front a monument that you have heard about ever since you were a little kid and dreamed about for years. It is much prettier in person that I thought it was going to be. I absolutely loved standing right underneath it and looking up - all of the iron crosses and molds together creating a mesh blanket that covers the world around you, letting glimpses of sunlight and trees peek through and then at the very top, all of iron melts together into one united piece surrounded and engulfed by the sky around it - to me, this was the most amazing part. As far as going up the Tower, we climbed the stairs as far as we could because it was a far prettier view. I was very proud of myself for going up to the very, very top. Everyone tried to make me look down, but I didn't - I made one big leap for the day, so there was no need to go over board. I did however, make someone take a picture over the edge so everyone could see how high up I had gone. I was more than impressed with myself. The view at the top was amazing - once again, it was an experience that cannot be captured with words or pictures - simply an experience that you must experience yourself.
We went to two museums while in Paris - Musee d'Orsay and of course, the Louvre. Surprisingly, Musee d'Orsay was my favorite and not the Louvre. Musee d'Orsay was breathtaking to me. It had all of my favorite artists - Monet, Renoir, Durer, and Van Gogh. The way that the rooms were set up was perfect - the rooms were very tiny which allowed you to truly appreciate every piece of art in the room. All of the Impressionist works were mesmerizing. I think I looked at each piece of work for at least 10 minutes - and there were a lot of works, so needless to say I was in this museum for hours. I took pictures of a few of my favorites so you could all look at them - but no picture I took could capture the beauty and awe of the picture in front of me. The way the colors blended together and how you could see every last brushstroke was unbelievable. All of the works truly took my breathe away - and that to me is true art.
The Louvre was phenomenal of course - but there was something about it that did not create the same awe as the Musee d'Orsay. I think that the outside of the Louvre was my favorite - all of the gardens and statues were incredible to walk around in. The inside was enormous and maybe that is why it made it so hard to appreciate each work because they were just so large that it was difficult to focus on only one piece. You would walk into a room and look down the hall to see paintings larger than you could ever imagine just lining the walls from top to bottom, left to right. The size of the paintings were extraordinary - it was crazy to imagine someone painting something so large with such great detail. Like where exactly does a painter start on a work like that? How can they have such a great understanding and vision of scale? Also, the infamous Mona Lisa is at the Louvre. It was far smaller than expected - probably only 2 or 2.5 ft by 1.5 or 2 ft. Before going into the Louvre, our professor (oh yes, good ol' Pearsall) asked us if the Mona Lisa lived up to its legacy? I would have to disagree - maybe, there is something there that I am not picking up on, but to me it was awesome to see it just because well, it is the Mona Lisa, but if I was someone who had never heard of it before and just saw it - I would be far from impressed. (no offense da Vinci).
Our last night in Paris - Sunday night - we did what anyone would do, we went to the Eiffel Tower again to experience its beauty at night. The flashing, sparkingly lights were cliche but still absolutely wonderful. The Eiffel Tower was the perfect ending to the first part of our trip - we spent the entire night together underneath one of the most famous monuments in Europe laughing over what had happened that far and dreaming about what was to come. The pitch black night resembled the end of that part of the trip and the lights resembled the beauty and experiences that were awaiting us. I would not have chosen any other city to end in - Paris truly is the city of love.