Sunday, December 19, 2010

Whirlwinds and Wet Feet

Whirlwinds. This semester certainly has been one, which is partly responsible for the lack of blogging, but I've had a couple of whirlwind weekends as well. Given my course load and budget, I didn't do much traveling this semester other than to Corsica, but I did manage to visit a couple of other French cities and old American friends. Being able to hop on a train or bus and be in Paris or Nice in no more than three hours is fantastic.

In the interest of activities such as sleep, packing, and the marché de Noël, I'm going to write this post in true whirlwind fashion. Here, friends, is your crash course in making these weekends happen.

How to make a weekend trip to Paris

1. Spend an hour trying to find your dear Parisian Obie-friend and escape the Gare de Lyon. 
2. Go see Potiche at la Pagode, a Japanese-themed movie theater.
3. Pick a terrible sweater/coat combination. Ouch.
4. Go by Notre Dame, bien sûr.
5. ...and the bookstores. Oh, the bookstores.
6. Gawk at schools you wish you could attend.
7. Take the obligatory tourist photo. It's essential.
8. Get on the métro. Get off. Repeat.
9. Go to the mosque and drink the best tea of your life. Not kidding.
10. Pay your two euro to visit the mosque itself. It's so beautiful.
11. Continue the required tourism: stop by the Musée du Louvre.
12. Go to Montmartre, visit the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, ignore umbrella vendors.
13. Kill time before braving the Gare de Lyon once more.

How to make a weekend trip to Nice
1. Visit the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Learn how to pronounce "Rothschild" the French way.
2. Be wary of employees who offer to lend you an umbrella. It's actually a ploy to make you look silly and run into all of the trees.
3. Visit the gardens. Figure out how to navigate them with your oversize borrowed umbrella.
4. Walk over and visit the Villa Kerylos, even if there's wind and drizzle and general unpleasantness.

5. Spend a nice evening out with other Americans. Try not to react while getting danced at by two presumably intoxicated French men. (No pictures of this one, unfortunately.)
6. Walk up la colline du château for some great views of the city.
7. Figure out how to get back down, port-side.
8. Eat a sizable portion of socca. So. Good.
9. Visit the Matisse museum. Finish up with a visit to the gift shop. (Funnily enough, I picked up a postcard of a Matisse I liked, flipped it over, and saw that this painting is housed at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, USA. I did not buy this postcard.)
10. Check out the beach before traversing the vieille ville one last time to catch your bus.

Look long, and look well. It all goes by too fast.

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