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The Catacombs

26 Jul

skull and bones

There’s nothing more ghoulish then spending an afternoon with the dead. Somehow, Paris has turned its previous residents into tourist attractions, like the Père Lachaise Cemetery and the Catacombs. It’s creepy, but also fascinating. Continue reading

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Bastille Day

15 Jul

Happy (belated) Bastille Day! Like most Americans, I vaguely knew that it’s France’s version of Independence Day. I think. I don’t know, I didn’t take my high school’s elective European History class and my knowledge of modern French history is sketchy at best. (Ask me about the cave paintings of Lascaux and Chauvet though!) So it was to my joy and delight to find that John Green, author and prolific vidblogger, had done a series on the French Revolution. Prepare to be educated, Third Estate!

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The Eiffel Tower

12 Jul

eiffel tower

It sounds kind of crazy, but I didn’t visit Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower until my last week in France. Or at least, I didn’t go up it. It’s hard to miss Gustave Eiffel’s masterpiece: you can see the tower from all sorts of random places within Paris. I had an excellent view on my train ride into the city every morning. But every time I went past the Champs de Mars and looked at the long, winding queue, I said, “nah, let’s leave it for next week” up until there was no putting it off.

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Programming Notice

21 Jun

So, for the next two weeks, I’m going to be on a mini-hiatus for the summer. My cousin is visiting, I’m ending my stay here in Paris, and I’m headed back to the States.  I’ll try to keep this from turning into a long hiatus like last summer (heh, sorry about that), but things are going to be crazy on my end and I can’t promise much.  Thanks for understanding, and I’ll leave you all with a lovely picture of me in front of the Eiffel Tower.

me and eiffel tower

Societe Generale

17 Jun

This commercial for a French bank came on today when I was watching tv with the kid. I don’t think you all would be surprised as to why I think it’s actually really funny.

 

 

Not bad, Societe Generale. I’m not banking with you, but I do give props for a decent ad campaign.

Musée Rodin

14 Jun

The Musée Rodin is actually very close by to my school in Paris, maybe a ten minute walk on the same road. So obviously, I must have gone many time before, right? Wrong. Somehow, I never thought of visiting until a gray day in June with torrential downpours. To an outdoor museum. I make all the best decisions.

The museum itself is housed in Hotel Biron, where the French sculptor Auguste Rodin did much of his work. It’s a pretty building that they basically moved all the furniture down, invested in some anti-theft tech, and put in a bunch of marble, bronze, and paper-mache sculptures. (And a few of the paintings that Rodin owned, like a Van Gogh or two, a Monet, and a Renoir. You know, as you do.)

burghers of calaisBurghers of Calais

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Père Lachaise Cemetary

7 Jun

pere lachaise entrance

On Thursday, my French class went on one of our “cultural field trips”. Previous ones have included cheese tasting and a tour of the area around the school, so this was a step up. Père Lachaise is Paris’s largest cemetery and some of the biggest and brightest personalities of the past two hundred years are buried there.

The cemetery is so famous and so many people wish to be buried there that some creative rules have been put into place on the question of space. You have to be French, died in France, or died for France to be buried there without an extravagant fee, and even then buying a plot in perpetuity is very, very, expensive. Entire families are often buried on one plot, going down as far as five levels. It’s kind of wild.

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