Monthly Archives: November 2011

Paris, France – Day 3 – “The Game Of Love And Chance”

First of all, a bit of an aside. I apologize for the massive, massive delay between updates. As I’m sure you know, I’ve been back in the Land of Freedom for quite a while, and have been distracted by other things. It’s not my JOB to provide you with entertainment, but whatever little money you can spare will be fine.

As a completionist, I’ve decided to come back and finish off the few entries I have left, so rest assured you will continue to see the constant declining quality you’ve come to expect from this blog for at least a little while longer.

Without further ado…

Day 3 of my Paris Adventure started out with a brief check-up as to the operational status of the Musee D’Orsay or, as I now refer to it, the Musee of Broken Dreams.

No matter, Lindsay and I jetted off to the Rodin Museum.

The Rodin museum is a lovely Mansion-like house surrounded by lovely gardens, amongst which many of Rodin’s statues are loving strewn about.

Let’s cut to the chase, though, given my brash assumption that you have my same uncultured appreciation (or lack thereof) of art that I do, you probably just want to see this:

Yes! It’s The Thinker! Good job, fellow pseudo-intellectuals.

Rodin’s other famous works such as The Kiss are also present.

And this cheery number is called The Gates of Hell.

But the Museum is also home to several other of his works, which I don’t remember the names of.

Here’s:  Melting Man in Snuggie.

Also,  They’re Called Fingers, But I’ve Never Seen Them Fing.

Enough of that.

So, post-sculpture-fest, Lindsay and I returned to the other site of our failure: The Comedie Francaise.

This, time, however, we arrived over an hour early to make sure we got our cheap tickets. Despite an hour and a half of over-the-shoulder solitaire and sudoku, we got our tickets with about a half an hour to spare before the play.

…which would’ve been great, if we weren’t ridiculously cheap, ridiculously hungry, and ridiculously located in an expensive part of Paris. But I had an app for that.

…which would’ve been great if the app’s single dollar sign suggestions didn’t map to 15-20 Euros a plate. Seriously, guys. That is not what single dollar sign should mean.

Luckily enough after about 15 minutes of searching, we found a small, yet crowded bakery/restaurant called Le Pain Quotidien, which I’m pretty sure Lindsay still thinks is a branch of Au Bon Pain.

As I’ve mentioned several times before in this blog, I’ve taken many years of High School French, which is the same as taking no French at all. Nowhere was this more apparent than when perusing the menu of Le Pain Quotidien. (Actually, I don’t even know what Quotidien means.)

However, after searching through the…uh…cheaper options. I managed to spot the word Belgique next to another word I didn’t recognize. We hastily ordered two orders of this Belgian mystery dish, silently praying to the Bakery Gods that they were indeed waffles.

The bakery gods hath smiled upon us and delivered onto us a bounty of waffley goodness. Waffles crisp and soft, yet crunchy, filling our bellies with buttery delight, served gently aside a selection of red berries and mint leaves. Shit. With words like this, I should start a food blog. (Look for The Complete Loser’s Guide To Nom Nom Noms, coming soon!)

Protip: Put mint leaves in your hot chocolate. I told Lindsay to do this (for no reason, really), and it turned out to be the best idea I’ve ever had. To be fair, though, there aren’t many contenders for “Best Idea Ganesh Has Ever Had”.

Suddenly, we became hyper-aware of our lack of time vis-a-vis the play. We scarfed down what remained of our waffles, slapped down a 20 and ran out the door. Running all the way back to the Comedie Francaise after just having eaten what amounted to solid, baked butter may not have been the best experience of my life. After about 3 minutes of that, I had a stitch in my side, and had lost my freshness. We did end up squeaking our way into the theater, though.

The play we had gotten tickets for was “Le Jeu De l’Amour Et Du Hasard”, or “The Game of Love and Chance”.

I enjoyed it, even though I had no clue what the hell was going on. Post-show, I formulated a guess as to what exactly the plot of the show was, and a quick search on Wikipedia (look it up yourselves) found that I was actually not too far off.

Lindsay, on the other hand, was a bit more critical, given her theater background. I was just happy to see moving people and objects and fancy colors. I am not a complicated man.

After a short post-theater break to collect ourselves, we headed out for yet another walking tour led by our favorite ex-pat Californian Arnaud. This one took us around Montmartre at night, so I could finally see the place I’d been living in for the past three days. Of course, we took a look around the Moulin Rouge and the Sexodrome, but we also got to see other infamous landmarks such as that diner from Amelie, and Van Gogh’s brother’s apartment. His name was Theo Van Gogh, but I’ve been calling him Tony for the longest time, so we’ll stick with that.

We also got to hit the top of the giant hill from which the Sacre Coeur overlooks Paris. At night, the basilica and view are absolutely beautiful.

After the tour, we enjoyed a free glass of wine.

Free! Wine!

After the wine, we joined forces with a few other of our tour-mates and sat down for a delightful dinner. Afterwards, Lindsay and I said our goodbyes and we parted ways, she to the airport, and me to a few more days of Paris.

For Lindsay’s take on the past 3 day’s events, check out her blog entry here.

Her blog itself is also worth checking out, since she’s in Europe for far longer than I am/was.

Next: The Train Ticket Fiasco,  and The Palace at Versailles!

Le Jeu De l’Amour Et Du,

Ganesh

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Paris, France – Day 2 – “You Better Call Kenny Loggins, Because You’re In The Danger Zone.”

Lindsay and I met up again at 9am outside the Musee D’Orsay.

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It being a popular impressionist museum with a fair number of notable works, the large line was not unforeseen. We stood in the queue for about 15 minutes past the scheduled opening with no forward progress, not entirely are what was going on.

As we were waiting in the line of confused people, a television reporter from Paris’ Channel 3 approached the guy behind me and asked him if he spoke any French. All the while, I was biting my lip, silently praying that she wouldn’t come towards me. The guy behind me made it clear that he spoke no French.

Obviously, since we were next up in line, she asked me the same question.

-“Excusez-moi, parlez-vous francais?
-“No. Sorry.

Yes! Off the hook!

-“Oh, do you speak English, then?

Well, shit.

-“Yes, I speak English.
-“Did you know that the Musee D’Orsay has been closed due to a strike?

I cleared my throat.

-“Oh. Wow. No. I didn’t know. That’s a shame, because my friend Lindsay and I are only in Paris for a short time, and I actually wanted to see some of the Van Gogh pieces here. But these other people in front of us in the queue have also been waiting for ages. What is the strike about?”

…is what I SHOULD have said.

This is what I said instead:

-“WELL, THAT SUCKS.

Nice job, idiot.

I’m sure the clip may be on the Internet somewhere. A shiny nickel to whoever finds it first.

We abandoned the Musee D’Orsay shortly after that point when it was clear the strike was not going to be resolved. Instead, we went to Saint Michel to check out Shakespeare and Co, an old book store (where writers like Hemingway used to spend their days…and nights)…only to find it closed for another hour, and us stuck out in the cold.

“LOUVRE!!!”

To kill time, and warm up we headed to a cafe for some coffee and some neat coconut flan. By the time we returned, Shakespeare and Co was already open and bustling with customers.

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This store is everything a bookstore should be. Tall stacks and shelves piled high with books of every kind, in a sort of organized disarray. Books even lined the staircase, on both railings and beneath. It was incredibly charming and a book lover’s paradise. They even had a library room upstairs with a typewriter for aspiring writers and a piano room, together forming a nice, crowded hipster colony.

Lindsay and I split up for the next part of the day: she to Versailles, and me to an airfield where my good ol’ friend Luc had arranged for a friend of his, Harry, to take me on a short flight above Paris.

We drove out to the airfield and checked out our ride.

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Harry informed me that we were taking her up to 1500 feet and flying away from Paris, since Paris was restricted airspace. I got into what I like to refer to as “Top Gun Mode”

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We took off and got some beautiful views of the Paris countryside, and especially EuroDisney.

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Frankly, EuroDisney did look like it sucked hardcore. But now I can say that I experienced EuroDisney without paying for the letdown.

We took a few more laps around, but mostly saw sprawling farmland with occasional buildings. Regardless, it was still a pretty good experience.

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After touching down and saying goodbye to Harry, I met up with Lindsay once more outside the Comedie Francaise, for some rollicking French theatre. Arnaud had informed us the day before of a 5 euro deal, wherein you could come to the box office an hour before the show and get cheap tixx. We stood in line for the better part of an hour

…only to be turned away within a few feet of the ticket window.

“LOUVRE!!!”

We resolved to come back the next day.

Bitter and heartbroken, we decided to drown our sorrows in tourism. We made our way up the Champs Élysées to the Arc Du Triomphe, which is actually pretty spectacular at night.

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By this time, we were properly starving, and in need of cheap food. What resulted was a two hour meander through the only streets in Paris devoid of eateries. It was astoundingly infuriating. But we did happen to catch the nightly Light Show on the Eiffel Tower.

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This apparently costs Paris €40 million per year, and, at its best, makes the Tower look like it has a medically severe, glowing dandruff problem.

Eventually, we capitulated and got some Asian Meat Sticks close to Lindsay’s place, the charmingly named “Oops!” hostel, and made plans for her final day in Paris.

Next: Le Jeu De L’amour Et Du Hasard, and an awful lot of running to do.

Sacre Bleu,
Ganesh