University of Wisconsin–Madison

Jetsettings: Paris

Paris1

There’s a reason everybody visits Paris. It’s absolutely beautiful. I’m trying to think of the best way to write about Paris, and all my thoughts are jumbled. My two days in Paris were two days with my head in the clouds. I had a playlist filled with Edith Piaf and Carla Bruni songs and walked along the River Seine. “La Vie En Rose” played about everywhere: cafes along the river played it, bands at outdoor restaurants played it, street performers strummed it on their guitars. I suppose I know now what the most stereotypical Parisian song is? There have to be a million other ones too: I remember that scene in “Midnight in Paris” when Owen Wilson comments buys a Cole Porter record and comments how cool it was that Porter had written so many love songs about this saleswoman’s city. (*bad paraphrasing, I apologize*).   I also had to put Cole Porter on my Paris playlist for this reason.

Anyway, this is what I mean by jumbled thoughts. It’s hard not to have jumbled thoughts when you’re in a city that in itself is a cultural icon: songs written in Paris, movies set in Paris, painters hailing from Paris, Art Movements originating in Paris… the air was full of this rich, creative, romantic energy. My mind was wandering and jumping from thought to thought to thought, so the best way to write about Paris is to jump from thought to thought without any attempt at transition.

ART. The advice I received about Paris amounted to: Skip the Louvre. Instead go to the Musee d’Orsay. I do not regret taking that advice. I decided on a meeting place with my friends/ travel companions, split to my own direction and walked along the Seine. The most beautiful stretch of the Seine (in my biased opinion) was the stretch that led to the Msuee d’Orsay. I waited in line, walked into the museum and immediately felt awed. It’s a smaller museum, compared to, let’s say, the Louvre or the Art Institute of Chicago. But there’s still so much to see! And the architecture was beautiful. I couldn’t spent all day sitting on the ground floor and just staring around me. Also, late 1800’s in France is one of my favorite periods of time when it comes to Art, so this place was perfect.

Seine InsideOrsay InsideOrsay2 Lautrec Orsay

PASTRIES: we stopped at the same bakery near our hostel three different times in two days. Croissants, French bread, quiche… I think by the end of the trip the woman behind the counter recognized us.

THE PEOPLE: I had this idea in my head of how, stereotypically, the French think of Americans. It wasn’t favorable. I assumed we’d get a lot of negative energy from French people, but the opposite happened. Everyone was so nice and so helpful. One woman helped us find the Metro and then gave us her extra metro tickets. A French baby put his stuffed animal in my hands when I was chatting with his mother on the bus. Everyone was so immediately helpful and friendly when it came to advice and directions. That whole “angry & French” stereotype didn’t come up even once.

THE EIFFEL TOWER: It’s absolutely corny and absolutely beautiful. The view from the top from dusk to nighttime was gorgeous. I was so impressed with the structure of it more than the view though. I’m not an engineer, and so how this thing is held up is so peculiar to me.

Eiffel4 Eiffel3 Eiffel2 Eiffel1

Wonderful weekend, can’t wait to explore more places the rest of the semester!