Reading Week Part 2: Paris
In the previous post I stated that that I traveled to Amsterdam and Paris over reading week, and then shared my experience in Amsterdam. Here is a little about my time in Paris…
On Wednesday evening I said goodbye to my friends and departed for Paris. I was honestly quite excited by the idea of taking on a major city of a foreign tongue all by myself. Thankfully, the staff at my hotel was quite friendly and fluent in English. Not everyone spoke English, but thankfully I did not run into any major issues due to lack of verbal communication. Paris was very rainy and very cold, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying the fine museums and beautiful architecture of Paris. I began my adventure with a short cruise down the Seine. The river is lined with beautiful limestone buildings, very typical of French architecture.
Later, I went to the Musée d’Orsay, where I saw a number of world-renowned and breath taking works such as Renoir’s Bal du moulin de la Galette and Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe. However, my favorite painting was one slightly less famous, The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection by Eugène Burnand. As the title explains, this is a painting of Peter and John running to the empty tomb on the morning of The Resurrection. The two disciples are displayed on the backdrop of a golden sunrise, and the anticipation, awe, and eagerness for what they are about to experience is clearly expressed on their faces. (See image below; hhttp://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-disciples-peter-and-john-running-to-the-sepulchre-on-the-morning-of-the-resurrection-eugene-burnand.html) From there, I went to the Eiffel Tower. Due to the time of night, I was only able to go half way up, but I still caught priceless views of the city lit up under the night sky. Just as I stepped off the lift, the lights on the tower began to sparkle, which I believe happens about once an hour after dark.
The next day I visited Notre Dame and then spent the remainder of the day at the Louvre. Some of my favorite works from the Louvre were The Wedding at Cana by Veronese and Solari’s Salome Receives the Head of St. John the Baptist. And of course I took a selfie with the Monna Lisa! The next day I finished my trip with a visit to the elaborate halls of the Palace of Versailles.
Not only did the trip give me a chance to see Paris, but it was also a chance to challenge myself. I traveled to a foreign country, where I didn’t speak the language, by myself. Looking back, I really do feel accomplished having survived and enjoyed the trip. Getting lost on the streets of Paris without cell phone service, having to figure out the Paris metro (which is disgusting compared to the London Tube), trying to order food…they were all situations that pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to be creative with my resources in able to get around Paris. Although I am grateful for this character building experience, there were multiple times when I wished I would have had someone there to share the experience with, such as when I saw the Eiffel Tower shimmer in the night sky or when I was standing in the freezing rain waiting to tour Notre Dame. Paris certainly helped me appreciate the pros and cons of traveling alone.