Friday, October 9, 2009

friday: paris, day one

after all the confusion with deanna's arrival, i head to my geography class. i felt really awful, and asked one of the girls to take notes for me to copy next week- i went back to my room and slept until i had to leave to meet emily for our train to paris. deb was supposed to come too, but didn't last minute; however, another guy we know named jamie decided to come last minute. we hopped on the hour long tgv (ridiculously fast train), arrived in paris and found deanna finally!

we made our way to notre dame, so emily could meet up with her 5 (turned out to be 4) friends studying in spain. deanna and i ventured out, and got into saint chapelle and then the conciergie. we spent an hour (the longest we waited in a line all weekend- not bad at all!) going through security, because these two monuments are located in the grounds of three of france's most significant political bodies. saint chapelle is this beautiful, medium-sized church most famous for its stain glassed windows. 15 main panels tell different stories and books of the Bible; my camera died and i couldn't find any batteries, so deanna took pictures for us while i translated its history from french to english.

we walked next door to the conciergie, a quite ironic building that used to be a kitchen and guards rooms for royalty and later became a prison most famous for keeping the rich, nobles and royalty captive during the revolution in the late 1700's. this is where marie antoinette was held for 70 something days before going to the guillotine, and watched her best friend and duchess be torn limb from limb by a raging mob and then have each apendage spiked on spears for all to see. i saw the cell where she was kept in the women's area of the prison. we walked through the whole thing, and it was really interesting.

after our first outings, we met our couchsurfing host nicolas. this is basically someone i found through a network of travelers who agreed to let us stay at his place for the duration of our trip, for free. he's great- 27, computer consultant, leaving to backpack ecuador next week. we dropped our stuff off in his flat, which was shockingly tidy, and then took him out to dinner as a thank you. deanna and i split a 3 course meal, her first french meal, of 6 different meats for a starter, beef and onion with fries main course and chocolate pie for dessert.

pascal, the man who let deanna stay with him the night before and with whom katie and emily were staying, invited us over to meet him and four of his friends. the three of us went to his place, and spent a couple hours with emily, pascal and his aimiable friends. he's an expert piano player, with 25 years experience, and the night was a mixture of hearing music, sampling wine from bourgundy, and swapping stories. great first day!

1 comment:

  1. Amazing first day! Thanks for all the gory (sp?) details on Marie Antoinette's experience... didn't know all that.

    Music, wine, and story swapping -- sounds FANTASITC!!! ;)