Friday, 19 February 2010

J'adore Paris

Valentine's Day in Paris, and these pink roses stole my heart. With buckets of glorious flowers spilling onto the street, this flower shop sat just around the corner from the youth hostel where I stayed last week. I love Paris, and when my school offered up a 5 day trip to the city I jumped at the chance. Five days of art galleries, site seeing, navigating the metro, exploring the streets and eating pain au raisins (my favourite) from the boulangeries that punctuated our journeys.

On the way to the Eurostar (and back home) on Wednesday I was tempted to slip away from the group and disappear down a side street - to lose myself in Paris and never return.
I walked past this flower shop every morning on our way out of the Latin Quarter where we were staying, a few minutes walk from Notre Dame.
Another beautiful flower shop; this time in the Marais where my friend and I wandered around one evening.
Along the Champs Elysees stood the Louis Vuitton shop. I loved the extravagant window displays, mostly for their abundance of pink. Scarlet and cerise balloons spelling out 'Louis Vuitton' carried bags and trunks, colourfully dressed mannequins standing below. I wasn't the only one to love the look of the Louis Vuitton store: there was a queue trailing down the street to get inside.
On Monday we went to the Centre Pompidou, which was my favourite of the museums we visited (we also went to the Louvre, the Musee D'Orsay and the Rodin Museum - the house and gardens there were so beautiful that in my head I planned out exactly what my wedding would be like there). My current Textile Art project is all about Matisse, and how his colourful works have inspired textile artists. When I stumbled across this room in the museum I was so happy I nearly cried. Sad but true. The vivid colours and swirling, abstract shapes make my mouth water and my heart swell with joy. They are just so HAPPY!
As we were leaving the Centre Pompidou I had to rush back for one last look.
The Hotel De Ville and its open air ice rink where we went ice skating on our last night. It is safe to say I should not give up my career aims in lieu of becoming a professional ice dancer. At least I didn't fall over, but I feel I was lacking a certain je ne sais quoi... (With my flailing arms and random screams, perhaps grace is the word I am searching for).
The view from the top of the Eiffel tower. I have been to Paris a few times before, and have climbed up to the second level of the Eiffel Tower but had never been all the way to the top, as it involves getting in a glass sided lift. Me and lifts do not get on. But this time I decided to surmount my fear. I closed my eyes the whole way up and tumbled out of the lift dizzy and nauseas. But when I emerged from the hords of people and saw that vie, it was completely worth it.
Our timing of the trip was somewhat unlucky - the weather was Arctic and one of my strongest memories will be of the numbness of my freezing cold feet. On our first night we went on a boat trip along the Seine - these were the icicles hanging from one of the bridges. They were each about a metre and a half long. Brrr.

Although chilly, it was a great trip. And I really do love Paris.