Thursday, April 7, 2011

Doug's pictures

Doug has taken some really good pictures on this trip- see his facebook album.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

what are the odds?

What are the chances of running into someone you know in a city of 12 million people (not counting tourists!) ? Well, that happened today- I ran into a fellow Salud volunteer from Atlanta at Luxembourg Gardens!

Other happenings:

-beautiful morning at Giverny!
-lunch in untouristy Vernon
-afternoon in Luxembourg Gardens and Trocadero/ Champs de Mars
-supper at Café du Marché
-stroll through the Louvre (including an impromptu drawing contest between Doug and me... Doug won)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

2nd try at Musée d'Orsay

Today we tried to go to the Musée d'Orsay again. We still ended up having to wait in line for nearly an hour. It was packed, and the entire 2nd floor is being renovated, so all of the Impressionist pieces were scattered around the first floor. Oh well... at least we saw a lot of pieces in at the Impressionism exhibit at the Frist in Nashville at Christmas!

After struggling through the Orsay, we went to the Marais neighborhood where we had falafel and shawarma at Rick Steves' (and evidently also Lenny Kravitz's) recommended L'As de Falafel (Ace of Falafel). We ate our lunch in the courtyard of nearby Historical Library of Paris. We toured the Revolution section of the Carnevalet Museum... interesting.

We bought tickets from an SNCF boutique for our day-trip to Giverny tomorrow. We decided to go scenic by riding the bus back to the rue Cler area. We got a little container of ice cream and ate it on the Champs du Mars.

Monday, April 4, 2011

3rd day in Paris

Today we went to the "Manhattan" area of Paris, La Défense. The Grande Arche is so big that Notre Dame could fit under it. There was a good view of the Arc de Triomphe and other cool modern buildings in the Défense district. We went to Ile de la Cité for lunch- sandwiches which we ate in the Hôtel Dieu courtyard. We went to the Conciergerie where Marie Antoinette was held (among over 2,000 others) before beheaded. We sat in a park for a while... then sat in another park for a while. We went to the Franprix grocery store and bought some (more) Haribo, then came back to the hotel to check e-mail. It was a relaxing day compared to all the walking we did yesterday! Tomorrow we plan to go to the Musée d'Orsay (since we didn't go as planned on Sunday).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday stroll

1) Note: don't go to the Musée d'Orsay on the first Sunday of the month when it is free
2) Note: don't go to the Panthéon while it is closed
So our first two plans didn't work out for us today, but we came up with plan #3 and it worked pretty well. We visited the Cluny Museum, where we saw 500 year old tapestries,
other Medieval art, and the famous Kings of Judah heads from Notre Dame (beheaded during the revolution, buried, and not discovered until 1977).
We then walked to St. Sulpice church, where we saw some Delacroix paintings, and missed the organ concert, but saw the famous organ player, Daniel Roth, as he was leaving. We walked to St. German des Près (oldest church in Paris), had lunch at a sandwich place, then did half of Rick Steves' Left Bank walking tour. We saw the famous "grand cafés"- Café Flore, Les Deux Magots, and Brasserie Lipp. We also saw George Sand's apartment and the hotel where Oscar Wilde died in 1900. We did a quick (15 minute) tour of the Delacroix museum, and ended our walk on the Pont des Arts over the Seine. We continued on, across the Louvre, to the gardens of the Palais Royal.
Supper was at an Asian restaurant on... rue Cler. We walked around the Eiffel Tower then walked back to rue Cler for overpriced hot chocolate.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Père Lachaise and Centre Pompidou (and La Tour Eiffel, bien sûr)

(pictures in reverse order)

This morning we did Rick Steves' tour of Père Lachaise cemetery.
The weather was great! It was surprisingly not very crowded, even around the most famous graves (Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, etc.). We had a picnic lunch by the Stravinsky fountain (next to Centre Pompidou), then toured the permanent collection in Centre Pompidou. Thanks to our teacher passes from last year (which don't expire until the end of 2011), we got in free... that saved us 10 euros each! We had a "gouter" with the crowds in the big square in front of Centre Pompidou, and enjoyed a quiet moment in the "secret" courtyard of the Hôtel Dieu. We had dinner at a brasserie on Rue Cler, got some macarons from a bakery (also on Rue Cler) and then walked over to the Eiffel Tower and stayed long enough to see it begin to "sparkle" at 9PM.

Friday, April 1, 2011


We arrived in Paris about 1PM, which was 45 minutes early. The pilot came on the speaker to tell us that there was not any room for the plane at Charles de Gaulle, so they were going to have to take back off and land at Orly... which would end up causing a 2 hour delay! After a couple of minutes of everyone starting to look panicky, he came back on to tell us he was joking- it was for Poisson d'Avril- April Fool's Day!

We got to the hotel around 3, freshened up, and then went to the Marmottan Museum. The receptionist at the hotel hadn't even heard of the museum- it is evidently not touristy at all, but it has the largest collection of Monet's works anywhere.
After an hour at the museum, we found our way to the right bus stop to take us back to the Rue Cler neighborhood. We had supper at Café du Marché, where we have eaten several times before.

Today has been very surreal, but at the same time strangely familiar. We were reminded of all the sights, smells, and sounds that were so normal to us last year.

Now for the Haiti story:
We were at the airport about to fly to Fort Lauderdale, when we found out that we would have to cancel the trip and send the GAC students back home. Although we could get to Fort Lauderdale fine, our charter plane to Cap Haitien had been grounded. What we understand is that the company had recently purchased a jet in Europe and that all of the paperwork was not processed in time to use the jet today. The situation changed very quickly from what we thought would be a possible delay in Fort Lauderdale to having to completely call the trip off. Our Eternal Hope in Haiti Representatives worked relentlessly in Fort Lauderdale, negotiating with other charter companies and commercial airlines, but no realistic solution was available on such short notice. The good news is that we weren't stranded in Florida... or Haiti. The bad news is that the kids and adults are devastated. We are hoping to regroup and form a trip in June.