"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagnination, and life to everything." ~ Plato

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

168 - Paris ~ Europe Day 11!

June 11th, 2011 – Our Last Day in Paris!

                Steph, Jessie, and I all opted to take a guided tour of Paris with Jenny and Dr. Nance.  Kelvin, Lauren, and Megan were among the group that was with us (about a third of the choir).  We started out at 9AM by boarding the metro and learning how to navigate it.  The system wasn’t really that difficult – I was more nervous about it than I needed to be, though my more-traveled friends were saying how the metro in places like Italy is much more efficient and easy to use.  Oh well, we managed! 

On le metro.  :)
                Our first stop was the Museum d’Orsay, which is famous for its collection of impressionist painters’ work, particularly that of Monet and van Gogh.  It was interesting and exciting to say we saw the more famous pieces, but wandering around an art museum (which I usually like to do) kind of gave me a headache and seemed to make everyone a little tired. 

I only got a picture of the back of the museum as we were walking by it, as there were no pictures allowed inside... "Paris Orleans" (the words on the building) refers to the street we were on. 
We all woke up on our walk to the next stop, though – the Notre Dame Cathedral!  It was thrilling to see it up close and, yes, everyone was singing “The Bells of Notre Dame” from the Disney movie.  Haha.  The most amazing part to me was the outside architecture and, of course, the famous rose window.  
*cue epic choir music*
The eyes of Notre Dame.  :)

Rose window!

Artsy candle shot.
After seeing other cathedrals throughout France, I realized they all have similar elements and even tend to mirror each other, which makes sense as most are based off of the famous Notre Dame, or were reconstructed with similar elements.  Because of that, I walked through the cathedral a little more speedily than I maybe should have, but a lot of it was like what we had seen before. 

From there the group split up a bit.  Steph, Lauren, Kelvin, Andrew, Abby, Jessie, and I went along with Jenny and Dr. Nance to Sainte Chapelle.  It was built by King Louis IX to house his collection of holy relics from the Passion.  The building is small and narrow, but every inch is beautiful.  The downstairs is elaborately painted with rich reds, blues, and golds.  It also has the gift shop, where I got postcards and a Christmas ornament for Mom.  If the downstairs is gorgeous, the upstairs is mind-blowing.  The walls are literally all stained glass panels – the light up there is dream-like and magnificent.  I’m so glad we went there!

The downstairs ceiling, all painted.
The upstairs walls of stained glass.

The Crown of Thorns relic (I'm pretty sure).
The top of the grand chest for other relics - I was really going for a closer look at the glass.  :P
The tour/lunch group!
The students of our group split off for lunch, as it was already 3pm and we were starving!  We all grabbed paninis at a corner stand and they were super yummy.  Then Abby and Andrew headed off to the shopping district and the rest of us stopped by a little souvenir shop to round out our gift shopping for our friends and family back home.  Somehow Jessie and I managed to get separated from Steph, Lauren, and Kelvin even though we were in the same store, so they left before we did.  That was okay, as she and I had a good time taking about 45 minutes to shop.  I got a pair of paintings of the Eiffel Tower (one day, one night) for Dad, scarves for Becky and Joanna, a poster of Le Chat Noir to go with Haley’s chocolate, a Paris/Eiffel Tower keychain and a pair of tin wall decorations that I just had to have for some reason.  I think that was everything… haha.  Jessie and I finished up our business by 4pm, as we had to be back at the hotel by 5pm, and managed to find our way back underground to the right metro station after a small bit of confusion.  Once we were on, we just had to wait until the end of the line! 

The evening was shared by the choir and orchestra on a private boat cruise on the Seine.  It was a fun way to end the trip, or it started that way, at least.  Dinner was 5 courses and delicious, with intermittent trips out to the bow for sight-seeing pictures.  I got some great sunset pictures of Paris sights, including the Eiffel Tower (like I didn’t have enough of those) and of the bridge where lovers write their names on padlocks and attach it to the wire as a token of their affection. 

We had a few extras aboard (student family members), so Steph and Kelvin ended up at a table for two instead of six, much to everyone's amusement.

Boating down the Seine - it was a lovely evening!
The padlock bridge - I love this picture.  :)
It was great for a while, but the wine was basically free-flowing however … which led to raucous behavior starting after about 2 hours into the trip.  From there on it got exponentially less enjoyable for those of us drinking just a little or none at all (aka my group of friends).  The bus ride back was stressful, with the threat of vomit in the back of our minds and people tipsily not staying in their seats for the 10 minute trip.  Kelvin, Lauren, and Kirsten came and stayed in our room until about 1AM to avoid potentially unpleasant roommate situations *sigh*.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, and at least we had each other! 

All in all, a marvelous day!

Je t'aime, Paris!


1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the picture you took of the candles! Beautiful! I'm glad you had so much fun :) I wish I coulda been there with you guys!