I awoke this morning to the sounds of a deliberate scraping and scratching of metal against pavement and the laughter of the children from across the terrace.
My first thought was that it had snowed and that explained both the laughter and that my room was a few degrees colder than it usually is in the morning. Of course managing to summon the effort to actually get out of bed was somewhat of a difficult task; nonetheless I was pleased that for the moment the snow had brought about a blanket of quiet over the town and remained pristine.
So scratch what I said about the weather being more pleasant here, the snow brought the temperature down to a chilly 7 below zero Celsius.
Nevermind that anymore I can’t think in the American standard units, all I know is that it was damned cold outside of my bed and that I was much happier waiting for Phillipe to get back from church as he worked the lock on the door before I would bother letting the light into the room.
My relationship with snow is somewhat a complicated one; for the most part I really dislike it. I won’t say hate here – for snow can be charming – but really after about eight hours if the snow would kindly pack itself up and leave, we’d be on much better terms.
Snow is nice for the crunching under your feet feeling and sound, instead of the rhythmic clack clack of my boots on the cobbled road it’s a dampened crunching that frankly feels delicious for it’s a unique thing that only happens once a year or so. There is also the niceness of getting to sleep in a little bit, for either a delay or a cancellation, and plenty of kids swarm the streets screaming and laughing in delight making snow angels and throwing snow balls each other, their fingers frost-bitten but none of it mattering for certainly there is a hot cocoa waiting for them at home.
But then the snow turns this slushy black and grey color from too many people walking around, and the picturesque scene of a freshly fallen snow is then replaced by the horrible grey slush and ice that stays in shadowed corners until March, waiting for some unwitting person to not pay attention for half a second and then slip and bruise both their ego and coccyx.
There is also the issue of the cold; where you are so bundled up you are nay unrecognizable, save for your nose peeking out from beneath bundles of clothes, rosy red and constantly dripping, making you both at once uncomfortable from all that sweat – and your knees aching of arthritis. Then too you are a walking marshmallow from so many layers, and the coat becomes heavy around your shoulders which start to sag under the weight after a while, and all in all I think generally an unpleasant experience.
But ok, I digress.
Today was the first Sunday of the month which meant that all – yes all – of the museums in Paris are free.
Now normally, I can get into any and all museums free both because I am a student under 25 and because I am an EU citizen, but I took the opportunity to get Phillipe out of the house, banking on the fact that the cold would drive away most of the crowd from the museums, for not wanting to stand in -3 degrees.
We ended up at the Museé d’Orsay. The queue was long but not unbearably so – surprising, considering that this is France – and after about a half hours wait we were inside the museum, checking our bags. Sadly there is no photography allowed in the museum, but I am not exaggerating when I say that is it an absolute gem of a museum.
Once upon a time it was a train station, but now converted, it makes for an excellent museum, and one that houses some of the most impressive impressionist collections and artists in the world. The clock that hangs right by the entrance is a giant piece of artwork, a testament to once when the station ran trains instead of tourists, and is just once of many beautiful pieces to be found by many other and more famous artists including but not limited to Rodin, Monet, Manet, Seraut, Gaughan, and van Gough.
d’Orsay is perhaps not as extensive of as famous as the Louvre, but it is a museum in and of itself that stands up next to the best of them and I was quite happy to spend 5 hours wandering the various rooms and collections, idling in front of some of my favorite ones. The impressionist collection was by far the best and my favourite, and there were dozens of Monet pieces for my little Monet loving heart to stand in front of and simply drink in, wishing that I could jump into the serene picture.
I’m by no means an art expert, but I was happy to look at the various artists all with their distinct brushstrokes and style as the current of people would carry me from one painting towards another.
Towards the end however, hunger and fatigue got the best of me, so we trekked back down the five stories of the museum back towards the RER and towards what can only be possibly described as the best vegetable soup ever.
Now the Superbowl is on tonight – or should I say tomorrow considering that it starts at midnight Paris time – and while I cannot say that I am particularly happy that the Raven’s won’t be playing in it, nor that I will be able to stay up until 4 am to watch it live, Phillipe managed to get the DVR working and so it’ll be waiting On Demand when I get back from class Monday afternoon.
In the meantime, there is Raspberry Sorbet – which frankly is like everything else here, AH-mazing – and Go Giants! (reluctantly, I guess…)
Next week we go to a live Rugby game where if I don’t freeze to death, I’ll be happy to regail the story of what possibly is one of the craziest sports around.