07 November 2005

I woke up in Paris

Colin asked me how I slept last night, since he didn't do so well. My response? "Well, I've never been in a coma officially, but..." In fact, I slept so hard and long that I was barely aware of Colin's departure for the library today.

Around 11:30 am (no joke), I began to regain consciousness. Didge had long since given up all hope of going outside, and as such had plastered himself to my side before falling into a mini-coma of his own. We were a rather pathetic sight, I am quite certain! By the time I got up, prepared and ate lunch, showered and dressed, it was about 1:15 pm and I had officially frittered away a half-day. I wish I could say that today was the exception to the rule, but I've enjoyed quite a few days of sheer laziness over the last couple of weeks. There has been many a late morning spent reading in bed, laying on the couch watching movies, or trying in vain to understand the French cartoons.

But, enough is enough. Do I live in Paris or not? Well then, it's time to start acting like it! After a long afternoon walk with Didge and a quick trip to the supermarket, I sat down with the book "1000 Places to See Before you Die" and looked up the suggestions for Paris. I was certain that I had done nearly all of the items on the list. Boy, was I wrong! I am shamefully deficient on the top ten list of "must sees." So, in an effort to rectify this gross oversight, I created an itinerary for myself this week.

Tuesday: Go up to Sacré-Coeur (which I have done), but go inside and climb the stairs to the top of the dome (which I have not done). In fact, I'm not totally sure that I have ever been inside Sacré-Coeur, an odd omission that I will correct first thing tomorrow. After I meet my conversation partner, I'm off to shop in some inexpensive jewelry stores to see if I can find a necklace to go with my opera dress.

Wednesday: The Louvre, part one. I'll probably hit the highlights first, since it's been nearly 15 years since I have been inside. More importantly, I'll get a feel for what parts of the museum are important to me, so that I can plan future excursions. (Goodness knows I'll never see every last work of art in the Louvre!)

Thursday: Off to the Hôtel des Invalides, including the Musée d'Armes (I think that's what it's called, but I could be wrong) and Napolean's grave. I nearly headed up to do this today, but fortunately discovered before I left my apartment that this site is closed on the first Monday of every month. (Guess what today is?) After that tour, I'll go all the way up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I'll take the stairs for the first two levels, then the elevator for the third since it's the only option. As I recall, I saw the first two levels when I was here in 1990, but not the third because my parents were out of money by the time we paid for the first two elevators. The stairs are cheaper, and better for my health anyway. (My body hurts just thinking about it!)

Friday: Off to explore the Centre Georges Pompidou, which is the contemporary art museum. Colin asked me to save this trip for Friday, since the libraries will be closed for Armistice Day. Apparently, there is an exhibit there that he wants to see, so I obliged the request. (I informed him this evening that I was tired of waiting for him to do the siteseeing things that I wanted to do, so I'm just going without him!) That night, we'll be dining with Annie and her husband, since we haven't had a chance to catch up with them in about a month. Apparently, Annie's apartment choice is turning out to be not-so-hot, but I don't know the details yet.

Saturday: Musée de Cluny, which is a medival museum and home to some former Roman baths. I don't know much about this place yet, but I'll do some reading before I go.

Sunday: Musée D'Orsay, which I have been dying to go to for quite a while now. It's generally the #2 museum mentioned as a Paris must-see, behind the Louvre, of course.

On Monday, we will have our first visitors! Rebecca and Dave are coming from U of M (Rebecca is a colleague of Colin's). Unfortunately, they're going to have to get a van or a taxi to get here because the train between Charles de Gaulle and the city goes through an area that has seen riots recently. It's a mildly risky trip under normal circumstances anyway, since pickpockets love to frequent that line.

Speaking of the riots, someone died last night as a direct result of the violence - a photojournalist met a very gruesome end when some rioters beat him to death to get his camera. Colin is watching the TV news right now, and all of the images are either fires or burned-out shells of cars. There was violence in the 4th last night, which is a bit surprising. I guess it just spilled over from the 3rd, but I don't really know. I'm surprised that the riots have continued as long as they have -- it seems like the government should have declared a curfew in the arrondissements affected by now, and arrested anyone who went out on the streets at night. I know the riot police are out every night, but it's hard to understand what they are doing beyond helping the fire fighters stay safe.


At 7/11/05 20:57, Blogger croust said...

As Amy indicated, the riots are getting increasingly worse. There have now been incidents in the 3rd, 4th, 17th, and 18th arrondisements of Paris; also, last night, for the first time, there was more damage done outside of Ile-de-France (the département that includes Paris) than in that département. The latest news is that Chirac and Villepin are convening the Conseil des Ministres (you might call that his cabinet) to determine whether to institute a curfew, and if so, whether to apply it only to the trouble spots or to the entire country. The latter solution seems drastic ("la territoire de France" also includes French Polynesia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guyana), but this also seems to be the solution that Villepin and Chirac are favoring. Now they've also mobilized the Reservists of the Gendarmerie. Here's hoping that this leads to the end...

If you're interested in images, there are some pretty harrowing ones at www.figaro.fr under "En images: Les destructions vont crescendo."

At 8/11/05 11:15, Blogger croust said...

The Conseil des Ministres just declared a state of emergency, which permits all mayors to decide if a curfew is necessary for their communities. Several of the suburbs have announced curfews for minors from 1am to dawn.

As a bit of better news, there was less damage done last night than the night of Saturday-Sunday. Let's hope that this means the end is in sight...

At 8/11/05 21:44, Blogger JODSTER said...

I found I knew I was in the new country long enough when I started to dream in another language...


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