*8 Days in France-Day 1
I had the time of my life on my recent trip to France, a place I never thought I would see. I had never been to Europe and had no plans to go there when my husband called me one morning and asked me if I would like to accompany the singer in his band,(Dyana Cannon, Knowlton Point) on a trip with five of her students and some of her family. Apparently, because she had so many people going there was the opportunity for one more person to go at a VERY discounted rate and she wanted a roommate. Wow! I could not believe my ears and immediately decided that indeed, my notion that I was married to the sweetest, most generous man alive was true. That was in March. It seemed a long time until our June departure, but since it was really a dream to me, I didn't start to get really excited until the week of the trip. I have not in the past been a great flyer which accounts for much of my lack of travel when I was younger, but with the help of a wonderful free Fear of Flying Course, I was able to make this trip as well as one to Hawaii,Mexico (twice) Jamaica and Santa Fe. I am really getting to the point of enjoying it :0) Thanks Captain Chance! We flew overnight (British Airways, love them!) to Heathrow airport where we had a layover for a couple of hours. I was immediately impressed by the clean,glitzy airport and the sad lack of a good cup of coffee. We took a puddle jumper and landed at DeGaulle airport. Exhausted from the overnight flight, the last thing we wanted to encounter was a backup at the doors going into the airport. They had this weird revolving glass tube which only allowed people to get in every so many revolutions. Well, it wasn't revolutioning and people were getting very upset. Finally someone (American and impatient) just held the thing open and then walked through. I didn't know that doors and lav facilities would be an adventure all their own on this trip :0)
After a 1 1/2 hour bus trip to our hotel way on the other side of Paris, we disembarked at our hotel where we met our French guide Christine Brouillett who I would come to know as possibly one of the best guides in France.
Being that this was a school trip, (I was a chaperone on paper only), we also met up at the hotel with two other groups of students and teachers, one group from Washington State, the other from Newfoundland. Sadly,it was already late in the afternoon by the time we got there, so we had to dump our belongings in our dorm style hotel room and hike about 1 mile to the subway where we would take 4 trains back into Paris to get to the Louvre.
Even though I was really jet lagged and tired, I was so happy, because I couldn't believe that I had already seen the Eiffel Tower and the Seine on the bus on our way in and that I was really in Paris.
In fact, I was a little weepy for a couple of days. When we finally got to the Louvre, we only had an hour and a half to explore it. Fortunately, Dyana understood when I asked her if she would mind if I took off on my own, because there was so much to see and our time was so short. I made a beeline into the museum to see the things I wanted to see. Straight to the Winged Samothrice, then the Mona Lisa. Geez, what a rock star! The crowd of people that was around the painting, snapping away with photos was stifling. I took my picture of course, but I also took some time just to LOOK at it and BE with it.
Straight across the room is the Wedding at Cana, a huge painting which takes up almost the entire wall. My eyes kept going around from mini scene to mini scene inside the painting and I kept finding whimsical images of dogs and cats mixed in with the celebrating people. I found the image of the man below eyeballing this little tiny dog who is approaching his food as if to say "Oh no you don't" so endearing.
I ran around the museum at breakneck speed almost through the great hall of French monumental paintings ( I did stop to drink in some Delacroix) then made my way though to the Egyptian sculpture and the seated scribe. (He is much smaller than I imagined).
I have a new found sense of awe when looking at the ancient pottery now that I have become a potter. I asked myself, "who was it that figured out that if I put some clay on a thing and make it spin around really fast, that I can use my hands to make it go up and it will create a vessel that I can pout things in? Who decided that if I put it in a really, really, hot oven (kiln) that it will harden to the point that it will last thousands of years! I am lucky if my pots make it through the kiln sometimes! What had started out as a rainy windy day turned sunny and warm and I got to go outside in the courtyard and take in the full grandeur of the building. Breathtaking! Amazing to me that these people made a building so ornate and beautiful without any of the modern tools that we enjoy today. Such workmanship and skill. And then there is the Pyramid. Read my earlier post on Pop Art at Versailles and you will also be getting my thoughts on the Pyramid. I did enjoy the beautiful twisting sculpture mimicking a Gothic spire inside the Pyramid which you get to enjoy on the escalator on the way up.
After our brief but glorious visit at the Louvre, it was off to another part of town for dinner (something called Flam kuke) and the hour Subway ride back to our hotel. Needless to say, I was glad to see my bed, after hitting the hotel bar for a glass of 2 euro (I damn near fell off my chair when the bartender said how cheap it was!:0) red wine. I had practiced what I knew would be my most used and important French phrase "Vin Rouge Sec, Sil vous pleis" (Dry Red wine,please!) Stay tuned for more adventures in France right here on my blog every Weds. till I get to the part where I came home and slept for 4 days at the beach :0)!