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December 30, 2010

POTD: Eiffel Tower

eiffel tower

eiffel tower

Well, everyone’s heard of this place, so there isn’t much more to say. Built in 1889, the Eiffel Tower is now the prominent symbol of both Paris and France.

September 22, 2010

POTD: Veterans at the Arc de Triomphe

arc de triomphe

arc de triomphe

Every evening, a group of French veterans rekindles a flame at the Arc de Triomphe that honors an Unknown French Soldier killed in World War I. This is the group of veterans waiting for the ceremony to begin.

January 9, 2005

The French tried to kill me, and other stories from Paris

Arc de Triomphe

So I WAS going to the library today, but it was closed! Yes, the LSE library was closed the day before school starts…ridiculous. Since I have no way to do any research on the role of women in Soviet/Russian society (how…boring?) I uploaded a few more photos from Paris. I had a lot of fun with my digital camera…too much fun, in fact…407 photos…a bit of overkill, I think. Katerina showed me how to tweak a bunch of the settings on my Canon A80. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve always shot most of my photos using the “auto” setting, but no longer! Now I actually change the settings and play around with different shots…end result is, much cooler photos. Anyways, here are a few photos:

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe…with scaffolding, of course.

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe veterans

After looking at the Arc de Triomphe, Katerina and I went down to the underground area to sit down for a few minutes. There was a group of French veterans talking to each other. They were wearing their medals and brought French flags with them. As it turns out, every evening at 6:30pm, a group of veterans rekindles the flame (in honor of the unknown soldier) at the Arc.

Arc de Triomphe
At the Arc looking towards the Champs-Elysees.

Napoleon's Tomb Les Invalides
Me in front of Napoleon’s Tomb at Les Invalides.

Napoleon's Tomb Les Invalides
OMG! Napoleon was ripped!

Les Invalides
Also at Les Invalides. I was trying to go for the “Dr. Strangelove” look.

Versailles
Kat and I at Versailles

Kat and I were in Paris from January 4-8. We took the Eurostar train (the one that goes under the English channel) from London. We saw most of the typical sites: Eiffel Tower, Napoleon’s Tomb, Notre Dame, Versailles, etc. Napoleon’s Tomb was awesome because, well, what can I say, I love reading about Napoleon. We also went to Versailles, but honestly, it wasn’t that impressive. I was really looking forward to seeing Versailles because while I was in St. Petersburg in 2002 I visited Peterhof, which is known as the “Russian Versailles.” Russia totally wins on this one. Compared to Peterhof, Versailles is ghetto.

After visiting the palace we wandered around the city. Really nice place…people walking around with their kids and pets, going from store to store to purchase the ingredients for that night’s dinner. How crazy is that, families actually spending time with each other! Those crazy French family values, I swear, they are going to be the downfall of civilization! We went into one of the bakeries and bought a baguette and then went to the market and bought some brie BUT this is where the trip took a turn for the worse. After devouring our baguette and cheese, we headed back to Paris…well, later that night I was sick as a dog. FOOD POISONING! That’s right, the French were trying to kill me! Damn! Seriously, I don’t remember that last time I was that sick. The next morning I was totally wiped out…stayed in bed until the afternoon. Kat went and walked around the city while tried to recover from my attempted assasination by cheese. I requested that she bring me back a Coke, the remedy for every sickness (as far as I’m concerned) and damn, was it good. Ah, Coca-Cola, how I love thee! After I was feeling better we went to Notre Dame. Interesting church…gargoyles on the outside…home of the hunchback Quasimodo, etc. They also posses the crown of thorns that was allegedly worn by Jesus Christ (mmm hmmm) and when we were at the church they were in the middle of Mass, and they brought it out so people could kiss the glass case it was laying in…yeah, Catholicism and all that jazz.

The food was alright…I don’t really like French food very much anyways, but the bread was amazing and so were the crepes. That city is way too freakin’ expensive, though. I thought London was expensive with the exchange rate, but I think Paris is even worse. Four euros for a coke…are you freakin’ kidding me? Oh well.
Eh, what else happened over there…

Our hotel…get this…was called “Hotel California”…how random is that. Oh, and speaking of the hotel, it had very thin walls. Case in point: Friday night I put some makeshift earplugs in because our neighbours had their TV on pretty loudly. I fall asleep but am awakened at 2:30am by aforementioned neighbours, who are in the throes of passion and not ashamed to let the entire city of Paris – nay – the entire European continent know about it. I thought for sure that I must have been having some extremely odd dream, but surely I wouldn’t have dreamt of a French woman screaming “Oui! Oui!” at the top of her lungs. It was quite odd. I finally fell asleep again, and when I woke up in the morning Katerina said “Hey, last night did you hear…?” and we immediately started giggling incessantly. Really, it was hilarious…I guess you had to be there. I know this incident will provide a few laughs for many years to come, though.

Living in the U.S., you see a lot of French bashing (like those “Boycott France” bumper stickers with the French flag crossed out…and the whole freedom fries incident…my God, is half of the United States populated by pre-schoolers?) I never encountered any rude French people (perhaps the biggest stereotype?) but I am still a bit perturbed that they tried to kill me with their cheese. Oh well.

So, overall…France…nice country. I like it…I really do. I’d like to go back there someday…but first I want to go to Germany or Italy…hopefully during spring break. Wow, class hasn’t even started and I’m already looking forward to spring break. This is bad.

January 9, 2005

I went to Paris and all I got was this lousy multifunction printer from Le Office Depot

Office Depot ad in the Paris metro

Office Depot ad in the Paris metro

Saw several Office Supply Hell ads in the Paris metro and just had to get a picture next to one. I could totally work at an Office Depot in Paris (with my awesome French skills). “Excuse moi monsieur, would you like a le USB cable and le cartridge to go with your le printer?”

I’ve got a lot more pictures (over 400, to be exact) and some amusing stories (including one where the French tried to kill me with bad cheese) but they’ll have to wait for a few days because I have to haul ass to the library and find some books for my presentation on Wednesday.