My Deutsch classmate would leave the following day so we visited museums that she had never been to which included Musee d’Orsay.
I used to like Romanticism, but after this visit, I fell in love with impressionism. I also like the works of Van Gogh especially those painted by him after he ‘became mad’. But there were so many other beautiful paintings in the museum. I was really glad that my Deutsch classmate was into art too.
As we left Opera Garnier (not many photos were taken inside as many areas were closed to visitors), we were stopped by a girl. She came to me and said, ‘excuse me, our friend is getting married soon and we asked her to dance right here. You can ask her to do whatever you like, she’ll have to do it.’
I turned around and saw the bride-to-be wearing a ballet dress.
‘Any sort of dance?’ I asked.
Her friend said, ‘yes, like Rock ‘n Roll.’
‘Really? Ok, hip hop then.’ 😛
And she did! Poor this girl, she was forced to do the hip hop dance in an elegant ballet dress. 😀 It was very entertaining (for me). 😀 After she finished with the dance, her friends said I could have a photo with her. And my friend gave them some money. I was curious. My friend said, ‘yes, we have this in Deutschland too. We sometimes ask the groom- / bride-to-be to sweep the ground in front of a Rathaus, etc. And the “audience” will give them some money. This custom applies to those who get married after they reach the age of 30. That’s why my husband and I got married before 30.’ Ok, now, I got it. 😀
My French pen pal recommended me to try a restaurant. She warned me, ‘make sure you book a table early in the morning.’ We were glad that we took my friend’s advice. The restaurant was located in an area which was unfamiliar to us. Ok, everywhere in Paris was unfamiliar to us. There were crowds everywhere in the streets that night. We had no idea what was going on and that made it even harder for us to look for the place. We asked a girl for help. She said, ‘ok, I will take you there. It’s not that far from here.’ My friend was amazed! She said to me later, ‘she was so nice! She even took us here! I had never ever experienced things like this in Paris at all in my last two visits.’
The restaurant was indeed very popular. While we were having our alfresco dinner, there was a long queue beside us. The waiters there were too busy to serve us. With the help of the other diners, we ordered our dishes. We chatted with the couple sitting beside us and they even offered to take a photo for us.
The whole France rocked! Each year on the longest day in summer, the whole France holds a music festival. Anyone, as long as you know how to play a musical instrument, can perform in the streets. This festival first started in Paris. It later spread to other cities and now, everywhere in France has it.
There were bands and even concerts everywhere in Paris. Wherever we went, we could hear the music. We also knew that there was a concert at Place de la Bastille, somewhere close to where we stayed. We wanted to go and have a look but it was so crowded that we couldn’t move at all when we arrived there. Everyone went crazy. We didn’t need to move at all because we were pushed around by the crowd. ‘Is there any crowd management?’ My friend and I asked each other. Obviously, the answer was ‘no’. In the end, we needed to take the metro for just one station to go back to our lodging.
The music went on till late.
The next day, we went to have a big brunch at a place recommended by my French pen pal. She especially recommended the lemon pie. Again, ‘go there early.’
We walked around Paris and went to Pompidou but the entrance fee was too high like EUR2X so we decided not to go in.
I visited my French pen pal at her place that night again after my Deutsch classmate left. Euro Cup was still on. It was Spain playing against another team. Spain did it very well. I couldn’t get my eyes off the TV, same as my French pen pal’s boyfriend. During the break, I said to my French pen pal, ‘I think Spain will win.’ She was surprised, ‘Wow! Then it’d be their first time after xx years.’ They really did! I should have placed a bet! 😀
Her boyfriend asked me about my impression of France, ‘do you like Paris?’ I told him frankly. ‘Do you like the language?’ I said, ‘I wish I could understand it but I don’t think it’s particularly more charming than other languages.’ He was very disappointed. 😀 Pardon, I was just being honest. My French pen pal who had known me for a long time obviously understood me, ‘I think you’d like Rome.’ It turned out it was true! I went to Italy many years after that and I really liked it. I will write about it later. But they were both surprised I got so much help from other people in the streets. She said, ‘I wouldn’t help anyone too.’ ‘Really? Why not?’ I asked. ‘Just wouldn’t.’ she said.
In fact, on my last day in Paris when I was looking for a wine shop, an old man approached me and offered me help. He was speaking in French but he probably was swearing to me or saying, ‘you idiot, can’t you see? The shop is right in front of you.’ 😀 and I said, ‘Merci’ in return. 😀
I dragged myself from Louvre back to Republique where I stayed on my first night and tried this restaurant recommended by my French pen pal. It was quite busy. I stood at the door and one of the waiters came around to serve me. He was a funny and friendly guy. I tried to read the menu but I couldn’t. He tried to help me but he couldn’t so he pointed at the dishes that other diners were having. I didn’t really see what they were having actually, so I just picked ‘assorted something’. Then I asked him, ‘is that filling? I am very hungry and I need something really filling.’ He smiled, and said, ‘hm… yes.’ So I placed my order.
After a while, he brought the dish. Gee! So huge! So, it was assorted meat. They tasted quite good. After I finished with the meal, he came around again and asked me, ‘so, are you full now?’ I laughed, ‘yes, very.’
France is famous for its wine (like Georgia, the country). Guess where I went on my last day then? 😛 My French pen pal recommended me a wine shop. The guy there was very professional. He asked me some questions before he made any recommendations to me. He even said after I selected two bottles, ‘I think two bottles are enough for you’ even I showed interest to buy one more.
I knew I’d miss French food / pastry / dessert so before I went to the airport, I stopped at a famous shop.
So, where next? Stay tuned. 🙂
21 – 24 June 2008