Lindsay and I met up again at 9am outside the Musee D’Orsay.
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?”
Yes! Off the hook!
-“Oh, do you speak English, then?”
-“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.
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.
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.
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”
We took off and got some beautiful views of the Paris countryside, and especially EuroDisney.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.