Around the town

Trip Start Sep 13, 2012
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Trip End Dec 21, 2013


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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Friday, October 19, 2012

A couple weeks ago i did some walking around on my own and then with Danielle. On one Sunday I took the metro to the Louvre; i thought i'd check it out. I was supposed to meet my friend Renata, (the one from Brasil), at the Arch de Triumph, but she had some credit card troubles she had to straighten out before she returned home the next day. I was almost at the Arch when i got the text that she could not make it to meet me, so i took the subway one more stop and got off at the Louvre. The performer in the metro station there was a middle-aged woman with a stand up bass, (basically a huge cello). She was very talented; i wonder if she's a student or teacher at a music school. The metro station at the Louvre opens up into a mall; it is incredible. There are clothing stores and souvenir shops and even and two floor Starbucks. The line to get into the museum wound through the main area of the mall, so to check out the shops, i had to push through it. I wandered to the front of the line, and found it to begin about where the upside-down pyramid is. Even though it was a cloudy day, the light was amazing; there were people all over taking pictures under it. I remember thinking, how great would it be to have someone take my picture under that triangle in this perfect moment. I considered asking another tourist, but i felt like it would be kind of sad: "I'm here alone, please take my picture because i don't have anyone with me to take it." I was also afraid that whoever it was would steal my camera. Sounds a little ridiculous, but in that moment, with Renata bailing and all these tourists capturing their moments with their friends and family...I just didn't want to remember that particular moment with the way i was feeling. I took some pictures of the pyramid, and got on the train to head back home. On the train there was an older man, (who was clearly gay), dressed very fashionably, and carrying a bouquet of orange roses. The bouquet contrasted everything about the metro, the underground atmosphere of the city, and even my mood. I needed to take a picture of it, to capture its beauty for that moment, so different than what it could have been.

Last week or so, Danielle and I were walking to the metro after class and we noticed for the first time, that the large, stone church we sometimes pass is pretty significant in Paris: Saint Sulpice. There is even a metro stop for it. Outside the church there is a giant fountain with statues of angels and lions, and layers of cascading water. I guess on this particular day, we weren't in a hurry, or maybe it was because there were hundreds of white stencils in the shape of small humans placed around the fountain, but we decided to check it out. The stencils around the fountain resembled a mass murder on the cobble stone. There was even caution tape surrounding the whole thing. As we walked around the fountain, we noticed that there were a few people inside the caution tape who were wearing forensic suits. We took some guesses, but we were pretty sure it was some sort of forensics/crime lab class. I remember, back in high school, a forensics class did a mock murder scene in out library, but on a much smaller scale.The other guess Danielle and i had was that it was some sort of modern art piece. Hell of a piece, taking up the whole plaza. 
After we checked out the mock crime scene/ art expo, we headed into the church. Even without signs demanding silence, you could hear a pin drop in that place. I had to do that breath whispering thing to Danielle so as not to make a noise. The sun shone through the innumerable stained glass windows, flooding the massive church with light. From the heightened, Gothic ceiling, over the wicker chairs in the nave, to the caverns of smaller chapels; everything was illuminated. It was like no other church we had seen. Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, though both magnificent and prestigious in their own ways, are so closed off from the outside light, that inside feels like the belly of a dragon: dark, with fire burning in a hundred places within. Entering Saint Sulpice was like walking into a greenhouse; it was wonderful.   
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