Payphones and Palaces

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Where does the time go? I wish the days could slow down. Paris has been great to me despite some mishaps along the way. I recently got my phone stolen at a café. Now I know that  you shouldn’t have your phone out on the table while sitting street-side, it’s like pickpocket bait. I considered getting a new one but I figured I’d stick it out for another three weeks. I now communicate through Skype and a pay phone at the pension.  I wouldn’t call it a rotary phone but it’s definitely in the same family. Using it requires some finesse that our gardienne Marie has taught me. I can’t use it past  dinner time but I’ll take what I can get. The phone takes Francs which Marie has to convert to Euros  at the end of my calls. Not an ideal situation but I get to interact with Marie in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise. She’s been teaching me some formalities. One of them being that the French rarely knock on bathroom doors. They usually push the door, assuming it’s locked. If it is, they know it’s occupied. I guess I better lock the bathroom door at all times or things could get real uncomfortable. Another thing she stresses is the importance of leaving notes, we’re supposed to leave them if we won’t be at dinner or if we would prefer small portions, they’re usually dinner related. Marie’s a real gem, she doesn’t hesitate to correct our French and she makes the best meals. At first she can be pretty intimidating but her no frills attitude keeps us on our toes.

“And that’s why you always leave a note”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ndrxzi3omg

The pension payphone takes patience.

The pension payphone takes patience.

So I’m pretty sure I saw a celebrity the other day. I’m walking through the Luxembourg Gardens and off in the distance jogging, I see James Carville! That might not mean much to some but I used to be such a political nerd back in the day. My inner fan girl was awakened in that moment, I stuck around for a few minutes to see if I could spot him again but the gardens are huge so I lost him. I didn’t have my camera to document my sighting since I was still gun-shy about the café incident. Carville has such a distinct look that I’m positive it was him. For those of you that have been deprived of the magic that is Carville, take a look (skip to 1:35): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYokuA055JI He’s sassy, sharp, and a little bit country, what’s not to like?

Napoleon Bonaparte took charge of Fotainebleau palace until he was exiled. He gave his farewell speech there.

Napoleon Bonaparte took charge of Fotainebleau palace until he was exiled. He gave his farewell speech there.

More Napoleon. Yes, he was that short.

More Napoleon. Yes, he was that short.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I nearly missed the excursion this weekend but thankfully running up Boulevard St-Michel, arms flailing while shrieking “Wait!” are good ways to get a bus driver to stop for you. For some reason that combination of things never works for me in the states, damn you SEPTA! We traveled to the FontaineBleau and V aux-le-Vicomte palaces for excursion number 3. Talk about opulence. I’d never seen anything like these palaces in person before. You see pictures and videos but then you see the real thing, I’d recommend the real thing. Speaking of videos, I just found out via Wikipedia that Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die” video was shot at FontaineBleau palace. Just to be sure I checked it out myself, true! That scene where she’s sitting on the throne with the tigers on either side of her, I remember that chapel. Some cellists and violinists we’re playing a small concert when we visited, I got shushed by an elderly couple in that very chapel!  Vaux-le-Vicomte palace was pretty unbelievable as well, I never quite understood the term “manicured landscape” until I saw those gardens. We got to take audio tours of both palaces. At Vaux-le-Vicomte, some of us got stuck behind a big tour group, the guide was speaking French. Naturally we followed them for a while, I couldn’t understand everything the tour guide was saying but I understood a lot more than I would’ve three weeks ago, small victories.

-Stephanie Dalce

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Madame Thomas in the foreground, she’s the best!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Perfect gardens.

Perfect gardens.

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