Saturday, August 1, 2009

Paris Day 4 - St. Chapelle, Orsay Museum, Harry Potter - in English! - Friday

Another late start allowed us to stay in Paris until 10 pm^. I asked for a train schedule for our line in the Paris station a few days ago. An English speaking representative said there was no such document, but I could ask her for individual times. This got old for both of us after several requests. When pressed, she gave me a web site. Merci, run away because I can't stand to press the issue zith anyone. But when you are in the city or at home without a computer you need a compact, complete pocket schedule. And that's exactly what a flustered French-speaking agent at the outlying station Mantes Jolie handed Lara when she was asking a different question. So now we can be more choosy about times.

We saw St. Chapelle Church , with a lot of beautiful floor to ceiling stained glass, an artistic as well as engineering success to hold up all of that glass, and the Orsay Museum, with a lot of impressionists. L can say more about that.

Orsay notes from L.-
So I thought D. would enjoy this museum since he has always liked Impressionists, especially Monet. I'm the one who's always like-whee, another blurry painting. Every so often I like a Renoir or something, but I don't get too excited about Impressionists. Actually now I know I like medieval and renaissance painting even less (thank you Vatican) with the exception of a few light-hearted frescos. Come to think of it, I don't really like much modern stuff, either.Truth be told, it's not so much that I'm a snob across all eras as much as I don't really like painting as a medium. It's a shame since most art museums are dedicated to that.

I'm more of a photography, sculpture, textile and decorative arts girl. I can yawn at a Monet, but practically swoon over a well made vase, but then I've always been odd. And known for tangents as I'm supposed to be describing the Orsay. So I think D. lost his appetite for art midway though the Vatican and just never got it back. He looked through the Impressionist galleries kind of halfheartedly and skipped several of them. I saw all of them and then I went in search of the 4ish Rodin sculptures they had to show D. He seemed to perk up a bit for those. But then I lost him again in what was by far my favorite part of the museum-the art nouveau galleries.

No one had even mentioned these when everyone said to go to the Orsay (I have a sinking suspicion most people skip them). Well. I was in raptures over the stained glass, furniture, vases, and lamps. I kept squealing and pointing to things and D. kept going "umn-hmm" and I could tell he was thinking, "It's a lamp, what?" I found out there is a ceramic museum in the suburbs of Paris and I suggested to D. we should go. He rolled his eyes and said, " Is this going to be like the teapot exhibit?" I took that as a "no." However, I will say that the teapot exhibit at the Mint Museum in Charlotte was splendid although not perhaps male-oriented.

Back to D
We ate dinner at Quick, the only non-American fast food chain I remember seeing in Europe. It was quick and cheap, too (for Europe - €6=$8.40 or so). They even grande-sized it for a little more. And free bathrooms.

Big movie theaters in Paris play movies in VO-Original Version at night, so we went to see Harry Potter in English, with French subtitles. We discovered a €20/month deal for all the movies you want to watch. With our regrets, a one year contract was required.

True and False Cognates in the movie and elsewhere
English - French (roughly spelled)
Wand - baguette (? We heard it twice)
Memory - souvenir
book store - librarie
library - bibliotheque
Hogwarts - poulard
Stop Requested - Arrere Demande (hopefully you can find the stop buttons because they are well hidden on some buses).
Visa credit card - maybe the same meaning in large stores, but more likely it means a French debit card with a microchip that works while your plain old international Visa doesn't go everywhere you want it to go

I think we found the part of the metro that Jenny said was broken. Line C of the RER, with what seemed like a promise of a bus that never materialized. But it was nice weather for walking.

Transferring between stations or even walking inside the same station can be several hundred meters and several minutes of walking up and down stairs. Villers on line 3 is the ideal station, where you can see the line to which you are transferring and may not need any stairs to transfer, as opposed to St Lazare and St Lazare Haus, which are connected by short lines on the map and some signs in the stations, but after a while you give up, surface, and follow the GPS directions for several hundred meters. I say this all to say that it can be hard to choose the best route when you don't know if the dot on the map is one escalator up or several hundred meters of walking and stair climbing. This is just an inconvenience on the back of the luxury of having dozens of stations undergirding the city.
People on the metro seem very much in a hurry, more so than anywhere I have seen on the trip (maybe all of the car honking in Spain was close).

Staying late meant hiring a taxi for the last 10 km leg of our trip because the bus stops running at 7:30 PM. It went better than expected. A cabby showed up right when I was about to call him. I had been dreading using our mangled guidebook French over the phone. We had to show him the city name because we still don't know which letters to ignore and which to pronounce.

^That's when the CHUDs come out. I haven't actually seen the movies yet, but every indication is that the Cybernistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers series should be a classic.

1 comment:

  1. "We still don't know which letters to ignore and which to pronounce" - EXACTLY!!!!!!
    French is such sillinesseaux.