Sunday, March 4, 2012

I remember visiting one of these “covered arcade” things in Milan, Italy, when I was in ninth grade. My father, our makeshift tour guide and an expert at making things up, smiled, gesturing at the sunlight streaming through the glass-paneled ceiling. “Don’t you wish our shopping malls were like this?”

    My answer to this, only reinforced by our experience in Paris, is yes! Though I was reasonably convinced that my feet were going to fall off at the ankles after several hours in the Louvre, I was immediately enchanted upon entering the covered arcade in Paris. Splotches of golden light dripped from the shop windows like raining stars (or possibly Christmas lights). White daylight from the overcast sky filled the tunnel of stores, perfectly accentuating the intricate, curvy designs on the walls.
    All in all, it did an exceptionally good job of making me notice things other than the fact that the items in the shop windows were more expensive than most of my belongings!
    The shops were adorable, though. I don’t remember them incredibly clearly, because we weren’t there for particularly long, but I know the tunnel was lined with everything from cafés to toy stores. The air was filled with polite conversation and the faint odor of cigarette smoke.
    It seemed like a typical Parisian sort of place. It was fun to wander around inside, staring at all of the displays. Time sort of slowed down; we leisurely made our way through the maze of businesses. It was a nice breather!

Friday, March 2, 2012

To conclude my somewhat long series of métro posts, I thought it be nice to demonstrate how to follow the maps planted throughout all of the stations. So, I'm going to flash back to the day that we visited the Pompidou Center of Modern Art.

There are two métro stops in the surrounding area, according to - Les Halles/Châtelet (line 4), which I've marked with a red star, and Hotel de Ville (line 11), which has a green star.

On that day, if the metro hadn't been so crowded, we would have taken it back to our hotel - which would have meant that we needed to get to the the station at Odéon, which I've marked with a blue star.

The most straightforward route would have been to get on an outbound train at Les Halles, because that stop is on the line that also goes to Odéon - the Porte d'Orléans line, or line 4. We'd have gotten on that one train, and taken it five stops.

We could also have started on the Hotel de Ville stop. We'd have gotten on that brown-line train and taken it only one stop, to where it intersects with the purple line, line 4, on the map. Then we'd have transferred to line 4 and taken it four stops to get to Porte d'Orléans.

All in all, the metro looks incredibly confusing, but it's really not that bad. The maps make a lot of sense once one understand how to use them, and, all and all, the metro makes transportation more quick and effective. Paris buses are great too, but the trains are better for speed!

Also, here is what a ticket looks like! Photo credit goes to

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The stunning beauty of the Notre Dame cathedral makes it hard to notice other things in the surrounding area - and, to be perfectly honest, when we descended into the Crypte Archéologique, I thought it was a glorified metro stop. As it turns out, though, it's a nifty little museum that holds all sorts of artifacts from as early as Roman times, back when Paris was called Lutece, or Lutecia.

In addition to artifacts owned by people that lived in the city long ago, the museum also featured tons of archeological remains from the villages. Here are a few images!

As you can probably tell, the ruins include all sorts of structures.

Walls, perhaps...
Some sort of entryway, I suppose?
I remember one part of the museum involved the remains of a cathedral. I don't exactly remember if that's what's in this picture, but still!
Again, I can't remember exactly what was in this picture, but the museum also contained a medieval hospital. Imagine!

Much of the architecture shows all sorts of things about the ancient culture, especially regarding the fact that life revolved around the river Seine. Some of the ruins include ramparts, giant walls that surrounded the river. It was both haunting and fascinating to wander around and see the remnants of life in the past. I also got to exercise my somewhat inadequate French skills to read the information about the exhibits, which featured quite a bit of obscure vocabulary. It was an incredible reminder of how long the city has been around!

Chris and me in front of the ruins!

Here is the promised video of the performer on the metro. The amount of interesting, unique people you can find on the train system is unlimited and positively mind-boggling!