The 3 guidebooks I carry make it hard to explain that I’m not really a tourist…

Hi all!

This week has been as full of culture and intelligent activity as I could have hoped for…

Wednesday I walked around a little bit and saw the outside of Centre Georges Pompidou (France’s National Modern Art Museum – it was built between 1971-1977 and also has a huge public library inside), the fountains by the Centre (they are also modern, reminded me of Mardi Gras – there’s free moving art in the water), and then made my way to the Louvre.

Fifteen euros later, I’m now the proud owner of a student year pass to the Museum. For those of you that have read Da Vinci Code, you’ll understand the signficance of me taking a picture by where the pyramid coming down meets the pyramid coming up. Also, I made sure to visit La Jaconde (that’s how you say Mona Lisa in French). When I was last at the Louvre, Mona Lisa had her own room, which was small and white and filled with tourists. This time, she was in a spacious room surrounded by similar paintings. She has her own wall in the middle of the room and this change of location does her much better justice.

Thursday, I walked around Les Halles, which is an area of little shops that reminded me of Harvard Square (maybe Georgetown, but more pedestrian). France stores are only allowed to have sales two times a year, in the winter and in the summer, (they aren’t even allowed to use the word SOLDES (sale) at any other time), so now is the time to buy, buy, buy.

I headed to Versailles on Friday. But I didn’t actually tour the castle. We went an saw the Royal Jewel Collection of the Saxon Empire. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds and we did walk around for a few minutes outside. I’ve already been to Versailles, so I’m in no rush to get back, plus, it’s much more amazing after spring, when everything is in bloom.

Friday night I went out to a nice dinner – red wine and everything. The waiter was really cute and when we were leaving I left my number for him on the paper placemate. Lol. When in Paris… The rest of the night was the usual – Latin Quarter craziness. Let’s just say the night ended with a midget mistaking me for a talk black woman and trying to spit at me. 🙂

Saturday night was more of the same. We tried to go to a Jazz Club, but that didn’t work out so it was off to the Highlander, a Scottish Pub that I’ve been frequenting. We stayed there until four when some poor bloke who had been buying me drinks got a little too drunk and started being a little too touchy-feeling. Anyway, we headed to a cafe for drunk politics, another beer and breakfast as we awaited the opening of the metro. There we met two Arabs, one from Algeria and the other from Tunisie and later two Irishmen joined us. Ah, Paris. (One of the Arabs talked about how “the Jew has the Money. America doesn’t not have the power, the Jews has the Power”. The other one got my number. And do you guys know HOW hard it was to keep my mouth shut??)

Today, I had a walking tour of the two Islands of Paris: Il de la Cite and Il Saint Germain, and visited Notre Dame de Paris. I won’t bore you with details, but it really is majestic and beautiful. I loved all the detail on the front of the outside. There are sculptures everywhere to educate the masses and children who couldn’t read.

And now I’m at McDonalds on the internet because I’m addicted.

Tomorrow, I start my language classes a la Sorbonne. I got the 12 to 2 time slot, which is pretty hot. What’s not as hot is that it’s probably going to take me 45 min and two metro-line switches to get to class. There are three levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. Within each of those, there are 15 additional sublevels. I placed into Intermediate 1, which is the highest of the Intermediates. I’m going to try it out for three days, and then maybe/hopefully/unfortunately try to switch to the lowest Advanced (to ensure I get credit, and hey, let’s be honest, it sounds cooler). It’s funny, though, because everyone has been trying to show off the French skills, and I placed higher than all those goons.

Anyway, as always, hope everything is going great with everyone. Congrats to Zetas on recruitment!! Write e-mails!! Stay in touch!! I miss you all!! Keep me updated!!!!!!!!

Ciao (ya ya, it’s italian, but they say it here in France, too!),

Julie