This past weekend was my last trip outside London, to Paris! Friday, Meg and I visited the Palace of Versailles which was magnificent! The rooms were elaborately decorated, just like Windsor Castle, and the paintings were beautiful. Each time I walked into a room, I was overwhelmed with so much to look at, but usually directed my attention toward the ceiling first which was detailed with colorful, heavenly paintings and gold adornments. Then there was the Hall of Mirrors, which was spectacular of course! There was also a hall of battles with paintings so large I felt as if I could jump into the scenes, and I was overcome with emotional feelings as the images were so intense, exhibiting the victory, violence and death associated with war. The gardens were also impressive, so expansive I was sure a person could get lost! All the vegetation was a rich green and trimmed to perfection, surrounding the fountains and statues. We spent a good three hours there, then turned in for an early night at our hostel to get an early start the following morning.
Saturday, we went to the Louvre, Orangerie Museum, Père Lachaise Cemetery, and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica which has spectacular views of the city. Naturally, I saw the Mona Lisa while at the Louvre, in addition to hundreds of other art pieces! We were there for three hours and I still didn’t see everything, but looked at artworks from each floor and felt quite accomplished when we left. I saw famous pieces such as The Nike of Samothrace, The Seated Scribe and Liberty Leading the People, along with a plethora of works previously unknown to me and equally impressive. The Orangerie Museum also housed some great art pieces, including two circular rooms of Monet paintings. Later that afternoon, we visited the Père Lachaise Cemetery, one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. There are hundreds of famous people buried there, such as Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt and Gertrude Stein, and it is the site of three World War I memorials. After spending some time searching for graves on Meg’s list of famous people she wanted to see, we returned to the hostel to relax for an hour before heading back out to the basilica. Although we didn’t go inside, the outside of the church was beautiful and the view was great, despite the clouds and light rain. The weather wasn’t the greatest while we were in Paris and quite cold, but we didn’t let it dampen the mood!
Sunday, we visited the Eiffel Tower, which Meg concluded was beautiful, but I personally find the St. Louis Arch more appealing. All the crisscrossing iron work looked cold and threatening, not exactly the definition of beautiful. Nevertheless, it was magnificently enormous and I’m sure it’s brilliant lit up at night. After this brief encounter with the icon of Paris, we headed to the Musée d’Orsay, another art museum with works by famous painters such as Van Gogh, Degas, Cézanne and Renoir. Then, our final destination was the Notre Dame Cathedral, where we were able to go inside and watch a service. We had a great time in Paris, but three days there was enough as we were exhausted by the end from all our travels.
Today, I completed two finals and have one paper to complete before I’m finished for the semester! Then I get ready to go home Saturday, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing my family. I’ve had a fantastic time in London and made many new friends, but I miss American culture and will be happy to return to my home country. This is my final blog, so I hoped you enjoyed following my adventures this semester!