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London + Paris part 3 (Paris has stopped looking like a word to me)

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Aug. 6th, 2011 | 11:57 am

Am I doing this? I am. OKAY, onto part 3 of... I don't even know anymore.





My brain is too tired to go into crazy detail on these, so I'm going to try and make this as short as possible (it won't be short at all).



Before heading to Paris, we decided to hang around London a bit more. By which we meant hang out in seedy (possibly literally. ew) alleyways in Soho. I was already ruining my reputation just by being there, so I figured upping the creep factor and taking a photo wouldn't make things less awkward.



Some wall art in a place called Snog. They sold ice cream or frozen yogurt or something. I didn't want anything but this photo. That is some awesome stuff.





More London stuff.



I really, truly want to believe that whoever made this sign had the best intentions and just didn't understand what they were doing wrong, but I don't. All I can see when I look at it is this.




If you weren't expecting every dude on the trip to go in there and get a pair of those boxers, your guy friends might be way more conservative than mine. This resulted in some, uh... interesting pictures that I, fortunately, didn't have to take.



After a bit of ridiculousness we made it to the Eurostar station and got on a train to Paris. I took a picture of my lunch (a chicken sandwich, vegetable sushi-style rolls, and JAFFA CAKES) because for a bunch of cheap food I randomly picked up at Marks and Spencer, it was wonderfully delicious.



A view out of the train window. Look, it's just like Midwestern America! Derp.





A postcard I got for Jess and one that was given to me by John as a joke (I totally sent him that card from London, haha).



Our hostel in Paris was called Oops! though fortunately it wasn't a mistake to stay there. It was surprisingly decent and in a nice location! Also very modern. If you ever find yourself traveling to Paris and in need of a cheap place to stay, I highly recommend it, especially because right down the street from there is the most amazing Indian restaurant I have ever been to in my life. Everything on the menu was delicious, and they even gave us complimentary glasses of wine to start us off.

I figured the niceness of that place was something unique (shows I don't get out much, yeah?), but that wasn't the case. EVERYTHING in Paris is crazy delicious. I don't know how everyone in Paris manages to look so good when they're surrounded by culinary magic every day. And the French sure love their food:



Look at the portion sizes of everything in that machine. That is like buying two regular-sized bags of M&Ms. Or two chocolate bars. Or if you're feeling cheap, you can get a fucking vending machine waffle for one euro. Why? ...Why not? Didn't compare in any way to a freshly cooked waffle, but it wasn't too bad.


Now for a bunch of photos of the EIFFEL TOWER:























It's impossible to take a photo of the Eiffel Tower that hasn't already been taken in some (much better) form, but without seeing it up close it's hard to appreciate it as more than just an icon. None of the iconic photos really show the insane level of extravagance and tiny details that went into this thing - my photos don't show it very well, either, and I don't think any picture I could take would ever quite convey what it's like to be there in person.

The tower totally sparkles at midnight, by the way, which is why there are little glittery white lights in some of the photos :D



Rudy wanted another waffle on the way back, but this machine ate his money. It also ate the money of a couple that tried to use it after we did. Unfortunately I warned them too late (I also warned them in English, which was stupid). Rudy left this convienient note on the back of an old shopping list of mine to keep anyone else from getting suckered. Or to keep people informed about what they need to buy in case they want their own crested gecko.

Paris: Day Two was the day where we tried to do everything all of the time.



For some reason that involved a dumb picture of the subway. I don't know why I'm wasting space with this crappy photo, but here it is anyway.






We went to The Louvre first, where some people from an organization that may or may not exist tried to get me to "donate" money. Fortunately I got out before they got me.











This was outside in the courtyard. Underneath, it looked like this:





Lots of sculptures in this room.









Bunch of dudes staring at their junk? Sounds about right.















Sorry I don't have much to say about these - we went through the museum really quickly (not my choice, but there was a lot of stuff everyone wanted to do that day) and I've pretty much forgotten the details of most of what I saw by now, unfortunately.



The Louvre's giant collection of art continues in the back.










This I do know something about. Nike of Samothrace is one of my favorite sculptures, so seeing it in person was so amazing for me. None of my pictures will make it look as awesome as it really is (as usual, most things are better seen in person). There's so much movement in it even with parts of it missing - I have to wonder what it looked like whole and if it would be even more beautiful then.





Then we got to some paintings. I don't really have the time or want to put in the effort writing about every single one of these, but the artist/piece title is in almost all of the filenames if you want to look it up yourself! This is my personal sampling of what I saw in the Louvre (which still wasn't enough, haha).





The room all these paintings were in.







If it's not already obvious, there are lots of Mary and baby Jesus paintings. That was kind of a Big Deal during the Renaissance, as well as the life of Mary/Christ and the saints. It was a subject frequently commissioned by churches/religious people, usually in the form of devotional paintings, which is probably why many of them look so similar. Botticelli did most of my favorites (I posted his right before the picture of the room).



Here's some da Vinci. Couldn't get a good photo of his St. John the Baptist, but it was there right next to this one!



Went into another room, and...





...it's the Mona Lisa! Not as impressive with crowds of people standing around to take a photo, so I took a photo of the crowd instead, because that did impress me.







There were a few people doing the same thing this guy was but with different paintings.





Lots of John the Baptists in here, too. This one's pretty grim.





It was hard to get even halfway decent photos of a lot of the things I liked.



Some I got close-ups on, though.



There were four of these, one for each season.





The composition on this one is pretty fantastic. I like the colors, too.











I think I posted one other picture by Guido Reni, but they had a lot of his paintings in the Louvre. I've seen this one reproduced/copied countless times, though many other artists did paintings with this same theme (...eyes looking up, mouth hanging open, head tilted slightly to one side).











This is one of the few American paintings to make it into the Louvre (the artist is Benjamis West - yeah, the same guy who did The Death of General Wolfe. Wouldn't have guessed that without the name, but I never knew he did anything other than war paintings. I'm finally seeing his other work now, and I like it a lot more). I'd never seen this before, and if you can't tell from the fact that I took a whole bunch of pictures of it, I think it's amazing. I love the colors and subtle linework and details and all of those horses. This one is called Phaeton Asking Apollo to Drive the Sun Chariot, which explains a lot, really.

Not in the Louvre, but he also did this bad-ass painting of Ben Franklin flying his kite. A true American painter, indeed.



I am ending this post with another American painting, though I thought this one was super creepy instead of super awesome. My crappy picture of it certainly doesn't help, though I don't think anything could make those disturbingly soulless children less disturbingly soulless.



Still to come: More paintings, architecture, and a very special street in Paris.

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