The end/the beginning

Today at an astonishingly early hour, the students and most of the faculty of the EC Paris program departed to return to the U.S. But I was not with them. Yesterday afternoon, Vicki, Samantha, and Daniel all arrived in Paris and we are spending a week here together. Vacaaaaaaay!!!

Yesterday was mostly taken up with packing and getting my stuff from Cité U. over to our apartment for the week, but Vicki and Samantha and I did have time to go over to Notre-Dame for a look around (did not go inside because the line was long) and then walk over to Ile St. Louis for some Berthillon ice cream. It was very pretty weather and not too hot–a perfect first day in Paris. 
By the time we went from Cité to the apartment in a taxi and got a little bit situated, I had to run out to Roissy to meet Daniel. He was exhausted but otherwise fine; we made a stop at Carrefour City (how many different flavors of Carrefour are there?), got back to the apartment and vaguely unpacked, and finally went out for a very late dinner ate a brasserie down the street called Le Boucl’Art. It is a cute, casual place with pretty good food and of course good wine. Daniel wasted no time befriending the waiter while enjoying a pizza. Pizza is not very French unless you put some chèvre and a fried egg on it as this restaurant did. It was tasty and so was the burger that I had.
Between jet lag and a noisy street outside the apartment none of us slept very well, but we rallied this morning for an attempt on the Louvre (free on the first Sunday of the month). The line was already out of hand when we arrived around 9:45 so we went over to the D’Orsay–also free–and waited less than 10 minutes. The D’Orsay is beautiful; it used to be a train station and it has an enormous barrel-vaulted ceiling with big archways leading to all the galleries. It holds a lot of famous Impressionist works so we had our fill of Monet, Seurat, Manet, Gaugin, Renoir, and Degas. I got to see Degas’s La petite danseuse de 14 ans among other great stuff.
After the museum we walked through the Tuileries (always gorgeous), got lunch at one of the restaurants there, and then tried out a few rides and games in the little carnival/amusement park there. Samantha did the “Magic Bubbles” ride which is the giant, human-sized hamster balls that float in a pool. It is apparently a lot more fun than it looks to me, because she loved it. Daniel lost some money on the midway games and finally we came back out near the Louvre and walked down Rue de Rivoli for a while, thinking about shopping. But it was hot, and it was Sunday, and décalage horaire was kicking in so we took a break in a café and finally came back to the apartment. Our plan is to get an early night tonight and hit the Eiffel Tower tomorrow morning. After that, probably a boat tour on the Seine and picnic lunch if it’s not too hot.
It’s time for dinner. À bientôt!

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