Saturday, June 21, 2008

Crazy for the French Revolution

I don't believe there is such a thing as a bad day in Paris. Even when riding the metro by myself this morning and the lady on the loud speaker was saying something in French about "Attention!" and "police en le metro" it was all good. For all I know she could have been telling us to watch out for the madman on the loose that the police in the metro are looking for (and according to Stacey, there was a madman on her metro screaming and freaking out and making little kids cry...) Thankfully, I was blissfully unaware thanks to the language barrier.
This morning began at the Hôtel de Ville. It is the "town hall" of Paris and is gorgeous. There are some ties to the French Revolution here, so I was very happy to walk around and take pictures. (Bill - it is where Robespierre was arrested and eventually shot himself, so it was kind of like sacred ground to me...) From there, we walked toward the Place de la Bastille where we made a quick detour to a little cafe and I had an espresso and gateau avec trois chocolates (3 chocolates cake) that was to die for!! The waiter scolded me for eating with my sunglasses on (he said people should be able to see your eyes when you eat???) then asked for Stacey's number... We kind of ran out with him following saying who knows what in French and found the spot where the Bastille used to stand. Again, sacred ground for me. I wanted to sit and touch the ground there, but I thought against it for fear of being deemed mentally unsound. I have to put up the façade that I'm sane, anyway!
We then went to Place des Vosges and toured Victor Hugo's home. It was very nice, and I got some good photos for you, Jan and Christy. I also grabbed an extra brochure - you two can share it since I couldn't get more. From there, we walked to the holiest of places - the Musée Carnavalet, a museum dedicated to the history of Paris. It is in the former home of Madame Sevignée and is the mecca of all things French Revolution.
Not since I was in second grade and shop-lifted Tic-Tac candies from Gee-Bees have I ever wanted to steal something as much as I did today. Thankfully, the lesson my mom and dad taught me when I got busted that night has stuck with me the last 30 years and I wisely chose to just take a photo. Actually, I didn't take a photo. I took nearly 200 photos of French Revolution stuff (no, I'm not kidding, and yes, I am nuts). It was the most amazing place I have ever been. I saw locks of hair of Robespierre, Marie Antoinette and her 3 children. I saw Robespierre's goblet, Danton's silverware, Louis XVI's chess set and razors, and Napoleon Bonaparte's glove and pistols. Besides that, there were tons of paintings, sketches, bustes, documents, coins, clothes, etc. (This is where you can imagine angels singing "Hallelujah").
WARNING: If you don't like/care about history, skip to next the paragraph. Otherwise, read on! Bill - I saw (took a photo, too) a coin with Louis XVI wearing the cap of liberty and cockade and calling him citoyen! How cool is that??!! I also saw some really amazing art work of Marat and Necker. It really illustrates how idolized they were. There were some fantastic paintings of the royal family and a model of Louis XVI's room in prison. There was a HUGE copy of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. There was the original cartoon of the third estate peasant carrying the first & second estates on his back and the original drawings of the executions of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. The best was a painting called "Jacobins in Hell" which I will try to post. I was not allowed to use a flash in there, so some of my pics need to be photo shopped.
After the museum, we grabbed a sandwich and ate in the Louis XIII park in the middle of the Place des Vosges. Then, we got lost. We went looking for a metro, but spent nearly 2 hours walking in a gigantic circle, always ending up at the Place des Vosges near Hugo's house. I was starting to get mad, then I started to laugh thinking this was my "European Family Vacation" moment, but instead of "Look kids - Big Ben, Parliament" over and over, it was, "Look Stacey - Place des Vosges, Hugo's house" over and over again. We did get to walk around some interesting stores and heard some music from the beginnings of the Fête de la Musique, so it wasn't all bad!
We found our way to the metro (finally!!!!) and went home. I was disappointed in the music festival because there wasn't much music around. When I came home, I found out that most of the music doesn't start until 8 tonight, and it goes on until after midnight. I am not going back out (1. I am too tired and have a big day at Versailles tomorrow, and 2. I don't like the idea of walking home alone from the metro after midnight - I would probably be fine, but why chance it...)
As I just mentioned, tomorrow is the Palace of Versailles. I think a bunch of people from school are coming, too. It should be a fun day! I miss you all and can't wait to see you soon! Bonne Nuit!


Anonymous said...

Hi Jen!
I don't have to ask how you are. I can tell you are having a fabulous time. You look SO in your element! So, I hope you are scoping out all the best for us next year! If the LV factory malfunctions and bags start spitting out, grab me one! ha ha! Drink lots of French wine - and we have some celebrating to do when you get back!

Bill said...


I am so proud of the "nerdiness" of your post. I laughed so hard reading it because I can just envision you running around so excited to take a million pictures and one of the french guards looking at you thinking "crazy Americans..."! I love you so much and wish I was there to share the geekdom with you!


Lisa said...

Hi roommy!!

I'm so happy you found so much stuff concerning French Revolution!! That's awesome :D
I liked musée Carnavalet too ;) But I didn't see half of the things you mentioned.. (probably cause I was tired and alone that day :p)
The place is called Vosges (without the a), just to let you know ;)
That metro announcement sounds scary but fortunatly you're fine, so I don't have to worry ;)
Enjoy your day at Versailles and tonight or tommorow I'll read how you spent your day there!

Big hug

Kristin Jacobs said...

Bonjour, ma belle-soeur!
How was Versailles? Amazing,I bet. When I read your blog, I crave baguettes! Hope you have a great Sunday!