Monday, February 20, 2012

Productive Week

I've had trouble keeping up with my blog this week, but I have a lot to report on from the last few days. 

Thursday: Mariene and Sarah and I descended below Paris into the catacombs! (Fun fact...the silents 'b's in English are not silent in French). It was a really fun break from the normal museums, gardens and pastries of our everyday life (ho hum). 

The Paris catacombs is the kind of place that would get shut down by safety inspectors in the US. There's a lot of descending and ascending stairs with no elevator (and no toilettes or coat check!), and enough water dripping on the ground where you can slip if you're not careful (and where you can definitely step in large puddles). Plus, they give you a little guidebook at the beginning of the tour, but it's so dark that you can only read what it says if you stand under one of the lights that appears every so often...but you can't really stand there and read for long, because staying in one place too long means that the other people behind you will be held up. But it was really fun. 

No smoking in the ossurary??

There are bunch of things like this...but they're not tombs, they're actually clever ways of disguising the need for foundations!

Then after the catacombs, I finally had the chance to see Lise dance because her ballet class was open to visitors. Each week I see all of the little girls go into the dance room in matching purple leotards and matching hair buns, so I always kind of assumed that they would dance with the same strictness and unity. But I forget that they're 7 years old, and it was adorable to watch them because whenever they did an exercise that required a leap, all 20 of them would literally manage to jump at a different  second than the was like they were doing it on purpose just to be cute. Lise was very graceful, and Anne managed to get home 2 hours early to see her dance, so that was a nice surprise. 

Then on Friday night, I finally had the chance to watch Juliette play basketball. She was really fast and scored a lot of points for her team, but they didn't win (the other team managed to be made up of girls that were noticeably bigger than Juliette's teamembers). Youth sports are completely different in France than in America. First of all, it seems like every kids plays at least one sport here (hardly any of my friends or I played weekly sports while in elementary or middle school). The other difference is that middle schools and high schools don't have sports teams, so if someone plays, they play for their city instead. It's also apparently much cheaper to play sports here. 

Then on Saturday, Rachael and I decided to celebrate being in France for officially five months by spending the day in Monmartre! I'm not a big fan of northern Paris, but again, it was nice to hang out somewhere different for a change.


First, we had cupcakes! 

That's a marshmellow chocolate bear on her peanut butter cupcake, and a chocolate covered coffee bean on mine, which was tiramsu-flavored. 

Then we went to the cemetery at Montmartre for a little bit...

...where moments after I took this picture Rachael would get attacked by this cemetery cat.

Then we split this delicious strawberry tart on the steps on Sacre Coeur. 

And yesterday was really fun as well. When my parents and aunt and uncle and cousin were here in December, we had met up with my aunt's friend Jane (pronounced "Jeh-nay"), and yesterday I went to eat lunch with her family at her house in the distant suburbs. Lunch was delicious, especially the veal that Jane made. I always like opportunities where I can speak French, but I'm still a little sick, which means that my French and my accent weren't as good as they could be. It was still really fun though, and I like escaping Clamart and the city once in a while. 

Afterwards, I met up with Nathalie and Rachael. I decided that Sunday early evenings are quite possibly my favorite time in Paris. True, not much is open anymore, but as the three of us walked around the Jardin du Luxembourg to the Latin Quarter, everything was so quiet and the light was so pretty that we could truly enjoy and appreciate where we were. Plus, inexpensive beer and even cheaper Nutella crepes on Rue Mouffetard make for the best possible way to end a Sunday night! 

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