Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Where in the World Wednesday: Paris, 1999

I've been taking a little break from living on the Internet, but I'm back for the moment to bring you another installment of Where in the World Wednesday.

The idea of WITWW is to post a picture of you in someplace in the world... it doesn't have to be somewhere foreign or tropical. Just a picture of you somewhere that you consider traveling.
- Classy in Philadelphia
This week we're going to France. Oui oui! I went on a trip to England, France, Monaco, and Italy with my French class for two weeks in July of 1999. My mom came along as a chaperone, and I was glad to have her company (and someone to room with so that I didn't get stuck sharing with any of the girls I didn't like). Yes, that's right, I liked my mom enough to share a room with her for two weeks when I was sixteen. Could you have said that when you were sixteen?

We had two days in London before taking a boat across the English Channel to France. I listened to the Titanic soundtrack in my Discman the entire crossing. It seemed appropriate somehow. Remember life before iPods?

Once in France, my mom and I vowed to speak only French to each other, and we actually lasted quite a few days. At that point I was semi-fluent. I can still read in French fairly well, but speaking and writing are another matter entirely. Use it or lose it, mes amis!

In Paris, I marvelled at the Eiffel Tower. I must have dozens of pictures of it from over the span of a few days (note the different outfits in the pictures)--and that's not counting the ones I took looking out over the city when we climbed it. La Tour Eiffel... I love it so much that I even have a series of pictures of it being built hanging in our bedroom.

165 days until the year 2000!

We saw Notre Dame Cathedral and took an evening boat cruise on the Batobus (bateau bus, or boat bus) down the river Seine. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep on the cruise because I was so jet-lagged. Oops.

We toured the Paris opera house, Palais Garnier, which some of you may know as the setting of The Phantom of the Opera (both the 1909 Gaston Leroux novel and the 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical). My mom and I are huge Phantom fans, so of course we had to find Box Five--the Phantom's box! As in:

Did I not instruct that Box Five was to be kept empty?
If you read that silently (or, even better, out loud) to yourself in Michael Crawford's Phantom voice, let's be best friends.

(Your part is silent, little toad).

When our time in Paris came to an end, we boarded an overnight sleeper train to Nice and the French Riviera. I don't know if I'll ever take a train trip like that again, but it was cool to do it at least once--and surrounded by friends instead of by strangers. The south of France was sunny and gorgeous and tropical, with brightly colored flowers (and perfume factories) blooming left and right, as you'd expect.

But I didn't take my best picture there.

No, my best picture was taken fifty miles outside of Paris, on the flower-lined path leading up to the home of Claude Monet in the village of Giverny. Using it is bending the rules a little because I'm not in it, but indulge me just this once:

My crappy little point-and-shoot film camera didn't do it justice at all, but there's something about the combination of the path, the sky, and the flowers that pulls me in to this picture and takes me back to that beautiful day.

Somebody make sure I have a copy of this picture when I'm old and in a nursing home, because I could look at it all day long.


Classy in Philadelphia said...

So cool! I love the photos you posted. I didn't like Paris that much, but I'm glad you did.

Can't wait to see your Italy post next week!

Bayjb said...

Gorgeous photos! Makes me think of my quick trip to Paris too. I So want to go back!

Maxie said...

you look like you're having so much fun in the bunk beds one! jealous!