Tag Archives: cemetery

Ce n’est pas comme ça.

Disclaimer: Prepare yourself for art dorkiness. I apologize if some of my ramblings don’t make sense to you.

After months of waiting, weeks of worrying and days of preparing myself with movies set in Paris, I finally arrived last Wednesday night! Elyse and her Parisian boyfriend Hugo met us at the bus station and escorted us all the way to Asnieres, the suburb where Elyse lives as an au pair for an adorable family with triplet 5-year-old boys. Since it was a late flight, we had a little wine and cheese, pulled out the futon and called it a night. The next morning Leisha and I met up with Mia at St. Denis. An amazing little church that spring boarded some of the Gothic architectural style’s claims to fame, namely ribbed vaulting. After exploring the church, we walked through the flea market and nearby stores where I purchased my first set of heels that aren’t attached to some kind of event, such as prom. We decided to continue our heavenly theme and headed towards Notre Dame. We met up with Elyse here for some lunch before exploring the depths of the church. It was so beautiful. I hope to go to the top next time I am in Paris.

Notre Dame

Mia and I at Notre Dame

On a tip from Mia’s dad, we headed over to Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, which is where they filmed a scene from Before Sunset. The walls were stacked floor to ceiling with books and the entire store was a labyrinth of literature. My favorite part was the small reading room on the second floor where there were books to be borrowed, not bought. After downing some crepes we walked up to the Pompidou and then to the shopping center…

The next day Leish and I met up with Mia at the Louvre. Wow, a full day at the Louvre for an art historian is like heavenly torture. It is ecstasy seeing things you’ve written about and studied for years. Okay, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but imagine only having seen something on a 3×5 flashcard suddenly blown up to 20 feet wide on the wall before you. It’s so surreal. Anyway, we spent hours looking at art. I made some progress on my research and in general filled my heart with happiness.

louvre

Mia, Leisha and I at the Louvre

After the Louvre, we mustered up enough energy to walk the Champs Elysees, seeing the Vogue cover sidewalk and doing some shopping before ending up at the Arc de Triomph, which is way larger than necessary, in case you were wondering. That evening when Leisha and I returned to Asnieres, Elyse had prepared a wine, cheese, bread and fruit spread for our dinner. Yum! Later that night Elyse took us to meet another one of her friends who attends the most prestigious school in Paris. There was a bit of a party at the school, so Hugo, Elyse, Leisha and spent the evening meeting Parisians.

I spent the next day getting some well-deserved rest. In the evening we went to Belleville, which is like the international district of Paris. We ate at this Chinese restaurant called Salon de The Wen Zhou, which I read about in a magazine article. Afterwards, Liesha, Mia and I went to see the light show at the Eiffel Tower. Then we met up with Hugo and Elyse again and went to a bar with some of Hugo’s friends.

On Sunday Leisha, Elyse, Hugo and I visited Pere Lachaise, the famous cemetery where Jim Morrison is buried. His grave is actually not very impressive. My favorite gravestone was that of Oscar Wilde. Going against tradition, I did not kiss the grave, because being an art nerd, I know that lipstick is destructive towards stone.

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde's kiss-covered gravestone

After Pere Lachaise, Leish and I headed to Sacre Coeur. A scene from Amelie, the one with the carousel, was filmed here. We also went inside the church where booming organ music was playing. I sat and ate roasted chestnuts and we watched some street performers. We ended the evening at KFC (for you, Mom!).

Monday morning was my dress-like-a-professional-and-pretend-you-know-what-you’re-doing day. In other words, I headed to the Louvre with the intention of visiting the research center. When I reached the offices, the receptionist did not speak English and I do not speak French. After a few minutes of confusion, he called my Louvre contact, but she didn’t answer. I waited for an hour and a half, but she never showed. So, I decided to visit the galleries again to catch all the things I missed. Yes, one day in the Louvre is not enough. I also learned that two days are not enough. I still haven’t seen the Egyptian collection, which is about a quarter of the museum! There’s always next time I guess. After lunch I met up with Leisha and she took me on a surprise trip to the park where Before Sunset was filmed. We walked through the park and then caught a bus back to the Notre Dame neighborhood for dinner. We had a three-course meal in a rustic-lodge themed restaurant that began with French onion soup and ended with creme brulee. I still think Momma Skeers makes the best creme brulee!

Fun Eiffel Photo

Elyse and I goofing off at the Eiffel Tower

On Tuesday, it was finally time. Elyse and I headed to the Eiffel Tower. It was a gorgeous, warm, sunny day. Dare I say, the perfect day to visit the Eiffel Tower. We had fun goofing around with our cameras and making jokes about other visitors and the city below. Leisha met up with us afterwards and we visited the bridge from the opening scene of Last Tango in Paris. We ended our half day in Paris with a crepe and then said our goodbyes as we headed toward the airport. It was a wonderful week away from Rome, but I was also very grateful to be back in my beautiful city.

Eiffel Tower

At the Eiffel Tower

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Filed under Asnieres, France, Paris

Between Danes and Czechs

The day I got back from Denmark, Doris gave me a call and invited me to a couch surfing event. So, a few minutes later Billy and I met Doris and some other couchsurfers on the steps of the Opera House for a game of Twister. Yep, that’s what I said. Twister.

The next day Andrea, Billy and I planned on heading out to Mayerling and Heiligenkreuz for a day trip out of the city. Unfortunately, the bus doesn’t run on a holiday, so we went to the Augarten instead. It is a beautiful park where they have huge anti-aircraft towers left over from WWII.

Augarten

Augarten

On Tuesday we had a class field trip to the movie theater to see The Third Man. It’s an Orson Welles film from 1949 that takes place in occupied Vienna after WWII. It was wonderful to see at this point in our trip because each scene takes place somewhere I’ve been in the city. “Oh look! They’re near our school! “Oh! There’s a great ice cream shop there!” “Oh! We had a picnic there once!” Then on Thursday our teacher Verena took us on a tour of the famous cemetery in the movie. Ethan and I recreated the final scene for a photo that will hopefully be posted soon! We also saw the graves of famous musicians like Beethoven and Schubert.

Later that day we went back to the Belvedere for art history class and finally saw some Klimt and Schiele! I can’t believe I’ve been in Vienna this long without visiting Vienna’s most famous artworks. One of my favorite paintings from today was Egon Schiele’s Embrace. It apparently “grossed out” Andrea, but I think it is quite beautiful. Judge for yourself.

Egon Schiele, Embrace, 1917.

Egon Schiele, Embrace, 1917.

Wednesday was my first day on the job as a nanny. I will be babysitting Sasha, an 8 year old half-American half-Russian girl, for the entire month of June. I guess it’s been a while since I’ve worked with kids. I am a little worried because even day one was a bit frustrating. She kept hanging up when her dad would call and homework that should have taken 15 minutes ended up taking 2 hours. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m being paid for this…

Now, it’s off to Prague. Unfortunately, Billy won’t be joining us. He may have an appendicitis and is on his way to the hospital now. He will be missed!

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Filed under Austria, Vienna