Did you hear that?
That was the sound of all the cash I’ve dumped in Paris this week! Ooh la la – la shopping!
I went to the Musee D’Orsay today and it’s a sin that you can’t take pictures because let me tell you…it’s absolutely stunning in there. It was orignially supposed to be a train station (Rodin originally designed the Gates of Hell for it’s entrance) but as the steam engine went out…there wasn’t enough room for the new trains. So it sat empty (a pity for sure) until the French government turned it into the musueum it is today. Seriously, it is stunning. The lighting is fantastic, the mix of painting and sculpture is incredible and aside from the fact that it holds the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist work in the world (my favourite), the environs alone is a beautiful space.
After a few hours spent touring the place (can I live there please?), I did some shopping in the bookstore there and dumped a ridiculous amount of money on books for my students. They are awesome! I reigned it in and didn’t touch the Katie series (Katie and the Impressionists, etc.) because I know I can get them from Amazon at any time. I decided to have lunch in their sumputous dining room ( wish I could take pictures of the ballroom next door – amazing!) on the third floor.
In summer, Parisians drink chilled Rose wine (that’s rose with an accent but still haven’t figured that out and I’m not writing this in Word first, sorry!). I don’t know who started this or how it started but it’s bloody brillant. It’s all I drink here. Even the cheap stuff is really good to my undeveloped palate and I’ve always been happy. I can almost drink a carafe and not be loaded.
After my gorgeous risotto and then tart with cafe creme, I realized that I was drunk. Not really drunk, but certainly buzzed and a bit embarassing for a grown woman at four in the afternoon. You know how you suddenly now you’ve had too much to drink, but short of turning back time, there’s nothing to be done about it? So, hoping to keep my dignity intact, I paid the waiter (btw, great service there as well as good food) and left. But not before the maitre’d ran after me, as I had left my bag of children’s books at my table.
On my way out, I realized I had missed the second part of the bookstore. In I went and ended up spending another boatload of cash on books – but these are for me! Books on history and art – yum! At the counter (my french is improving – ever so slightly) I was speaking to the cashier and mentioned I had already bought books today and how heavy they would be on the plane. She asked to see my reciepts and announced that I definitely qualified to have my tax returned (if you spend a crapload of money at one store, the French government will reimburse your tax for you. Of course, as par for the course with the French government – there are eighty-seven forms to fill out).
As I was waiting for the ladies to figure it out (they have a new system apparently) a very handsome and charming gentleman was waiting with me. He’s from Philedelphia. He’s actually been to Calgary. Once. For a convention. (He may not have been as handsome and charming as I thought – I was still tipsy). Anyway he speaks even less French than me (read – barely says bonjour) so I explained what was going on. He thought he was in trouble! I eventually got the form and all the receipts etc. and made my home with about 100 lbs of books.
Current plans to get all this crap home:
A) put heaviest stuff in carry-on and hope no one at security notices I can’t lift it to get it scanned or in the overhead bin.
2) ship it home in a gigantic box, offering up my first-born child as payment
3) discreetly bake dozens of loaves of bread with a book in each and send them to all my friends and family – one book at a time.
4) screw it – pay the baggage overage fees and pimp out Margarita to pay for it (we really need to re-negoiate those right of refusal terms!)