SuperDee's House

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Finally the Internet! Oh Paris...

Hello hello hello! I know it's been a few days since you've all heard from me but Íve been BUSY!! In a good way! Ok, I've got less than an hour on this thing so I'll try to make the most of it...

PARIS!!! I love it!!!! I already can't wait to go back and spend like 2 weeks there to just hang out. I saw a LOT of sites... We might as well start from the beginning (a very good place to start).

My first night (Wed?) was mellow. I went to eat at place recommended by Sarah Bean called Gai Moulin. It was very nice - most likely a gay part of town which is no stretch for this San Francisco-ite. Yummy food (I ate a salad with goat cheese and duck AND dessert AND a half bottle of wine) and nice relaxed atmosphere. Went back to my hotel (which was LOVELY - Hotel Home Plaza Marais) and got a great night's sleep - my first full night of sleep since being on this side of the world.

Ok, next day... Woke up, walked around the Marais which was such a great neighborhood to stay in - very local. Everyone was very nice to me - I felt so afraid to even speak English because I thought they were going to hate me for being American but I did not get that at ALL. I guess I'm not an obnoxious American so it's ok... I digress.

Tanner, Emily and their friend Rick (who lives in Paris now) met me at the Picasso Museum which was closed that day for a social movement (more on Picasso Museum later). We decided on plan B and walked down to Notre Dame. INCREDIBLE! So humbling... There really are no words (so I took pictures) for how the gothic structure itself and the amazing stained glass inside made me feel. From there we walked around the Latin quarter a bit - got a crepe and then hopped on the Metro to go up to the Montmartre area. (P.S. the METRO rules!)

We walked up the stairs to Sacre Coure (another church) which had very impressive mosaics - a huge one of Jesus right above the alter. The part that got me the most was the Chapel for Virgin Mary where there was a statue of Mary holding her newborn baby and a mosaic (stained glass?) just above depicting her holding her dead son - very moving. Ran into a few Umphreaks at this point which was kind of surreal. From there we checked out the Dali Museum which was wonderful - some of his art would make great concert posters! They had some really fantasmical sculptures in there as well. We hung out in the square for a bit and watched the artists while eating another crepe (this time with NUTELLA, mmmm!)

With a few hours to still spare until dinner/show, I wanted to go see the Opera Garnier but when we got there, there was a huge student demonstration in the street just out front (pictures later) and we couldn't go in. It was closed anyway. (More on Opera Garnier later.) So we walked through the streets back up to the Montmartre, had some dinner and found Le Boule Noir where the Umphreys show was that night.

Great small room! Funny from going from 4500 people at the Aragon to about 80-100 at this little (but nice) place in PARIS! The show was RIDICULOUS. Definitely the best Umphreys show I can remember seeing in a real long time. The energy was incredible and I think it absolutely has everything to do with where we were. Brendan told me at Notre Dame earlier that afternoon he felt the presence of G-d and something special and spiritual came out in the playing that night. Because I don't have a lot of time here I will just leave you with the 30 minute "Hurt Bird Bath"opener, a sick "Mulches > Tinkles"in the middle, and a "Song Remains the Same" encore after a "We want the Umph!" chant by the crowd which the band so gracefully joined in on with instrument. We will fill in the ridiculous blanks another time... After the show, I hung with the band and crew and hit an Irish pub nearby to ring in St. Patricks Day. After a full night of silly revelry, I made it back to my hotel in the morning - navigating the Metro like a PRO!

Ok, caught a few zzzzz's and then met Tanner and Emily at the Lourve (we are on Friday now). We went straight to the Italian paintings to see Miss Mona Lisa (we realized straight away that we would not get to really see too much depth in the Lourve). She really does have a very nice smile - amazing painting just across from her. Hmm.... Maybe she's smiling because she gets to look at that all day! Wandered the halls of the paintings for a while then went to check out the Venus Di Milo. With more to do, we left the Louve and went for a stroll down the Champ De Elysesses (sp?) to the Arc de Triomphe. From there, to the Eiffel Tower - straight to the top yikes! It took me a while to get my balance but it was a cool thing to do anyway (even though I encountered the reason Americans get such a bad rep). View was hazy but the sunset was cool. We got to the bottom, waited nearby to see the sparkling of the new light installment and then went home. I went back to my neighborhood, got another yummy dinner and half bottle of wine, then a good night's sleep.

Next day (still with me?) was checkout day of Paris :( I loved Paris sooooooooo much! So, I checked my bags downstairs and went straight up to the Opéra Garnier. OH MY GOD! I had a religious experience inside. Walked into the Grand Staircase to see the multiple different kinds of marble used - all different colors. Paintings on the ceilings, chandeliers, balconies... this is just the entry way! The main Foyer was BREATHTAKING. All the paintings depicted good times (as opposed to all the beheadings in the Lourve) all over the ceilings. Honestly, I don't have words for this place... The auditorium just reopened after a rehearsal (Wish I go to see that) and I got to see the red velvety seating/balconies and the Chagal painting on the ceiling. Amazing!

Back down to the Marais and found the Picasso Museum again which was great. They had an impressive collection - it was given to France in lieu of his death taxes since he spent so much of his life in Paris. There was a visiting exhibit (I think - everything was in French) of photography of his lover/friend (?) Dora Maar - wonderful photos of Pablo at work and of his works in progress. From there, I was just milking the last bits of Paris in... Walked around, got a sandwich of Camambert on a baguette, got my bags at the hotel and went to meet my new friends Gabe and Robin at the train station to come to Amsterdam...


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