Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Au Revoir Paris

We spent our last day in Paris today, and we did a ton but I'm exhausted and we have to get up at 6 AM to catch our train to Belgium, so I will add more to this post when I get some rest.
Okay, I'm back. I ended up not posting yesterday because the Internet in our hotel was way too expensive, but I'm making up for lost time with two posts in one day.
Our last day in Paris was spent sleeping in (more about the lack of sleep later) and wandering through the Marais and enjoying the beautiful weather. We started out with lunch with Leilei, a French composer living in Paris that Steve needed to do some business with. I have to say, one of the things I definitely will not miss about Paris is the bathroom situation. The first time I visited I was taken aback by the mixing of the sexes in the bathrooms, but on this trip it got taken one step further to me walking into a bathroom (twice) and having some guy standing there using the urinal. Just one more way I'm just way too American for France at times.
After lunch we walked around looking for the Picasso Museum but found it was closed, so we just looking into some of the amazing shops in the area. This was my favorite crazy French fashion find (the reflection of my Orla Kiely bag makes it even more crazy):

My favorite street sign I found in Paris. Direct translation is Avenue of the Bad Boys. I think it may really mean "Sad Boys". Andrea, Mirjam, translate for me.

The area was really cool, but Steve and I were getting really tired because our hotel was across the street from a nightclub that kept going until 5 AM. When we closed the window the room got too hot, when we opened the window, nightclub noise. The place was cheap so I guess you get what you pay for, but by our last day in Paris we were pretty much wasted. We did have an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower (we took the first photo on this post from our hotel window), but that doesn't help you sleep at night. We did go down to Notre Dame where they were holding a special mass for a famous French nun (never caught her name), and when the service was over the bells on the cathedral rang for about a half hour. Here's a short video of where Steve and I were sitting at the time:

We went into Shakespeare and Company Bookstore and looked around for awhile, and for anyone who loves bookstores as much as I do, it's a must see if you ever go to Paris. The main floor is a regular bookstore, but the second floor is a reference library where many famous writers have worked on famous books (Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch here). Here's some photos:

Me in Shakespeare & Co. in a mirror among the stacks.

Notes and photos from other visitors. I couldn't think of anything profound to say, so I just took a photo.

In the entrance to the reference area.

Then we wandered around some more and did a lot of great people watching out of the corner of a cafe and then went back to the Pompidou Center for one last time. The view from the top floor is one of the best in Paris, and it seemed like an appropriate thing to do our last night there.

Steve looking very serious at the top of the Pompidou looking at the Paris skyline at sunset.

After the Pompidou we went to a new music concert at the IRCAM (an electronic music center) on which one of the pieces was for percussion/mime. Yes, mime. No, they did not come out in white makeup, but the percussionist was doing movements with his hands that had electronic sensors attached to them so they created noise each time they moved. Two other guys were rubbing sticks on boards, and then there was a guy barely blowing on the trumpet and another kind of playing the cello. It was interesting, in both a good way and bad way.
After the concert we went back to the room and spent another somewhat sleepless night before we had to get up at 5 AM to get our stuff together and take off for Gare du Nord an head to Belgium. Here's my final two shots from Paris:

The Breakfast of Champions: A donut and a Coke Light. Steve went all French with a croissant with apple and an orange juice. In my defense, there is an apple in the other bag.

Goodbye Paris, we'll (sort of) miss you.