“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.”
I am reminded of Anaïs Nin’s words whenever I write. It brings me great joy to travel, study and volunteer. By recounting these experiences on this blog I re-live these moments, and am left with consolidated memories that become more precious with time.
I am particularly grateful for this as I remember a weekend in Paris.
With Birmingham International Airport less than 30 minutes away from my house, and due to the availability of cheap (~50) round-trip tickets, it’s been hard to resist traveling on my time off. As such, for my twenty-fourth birthday I visited Paris for three nights. This proved to be an ideal location to meet my Maastricht/MSc friends, and travel to this region was particularly relevant due to the ongoing French elections.
Besides taking in the tense political climate, we visited museums including Musee D’Orsay, the Louvre, and Musee de l’Orangerie. It was surreal to see famous artwork such as “Starry Night,” Van Gogh’s self-portrait and Venus de Milo first-hand. (Although I must admit being under-whelmed by the Mona Lisa).
One of my favorite exhibitions was in the Musee D’Orsay, called “Beyond the Stars, The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky.” A video of this exhibition can be found below. I also really enjoyed the neo-impressonist work in this museum, for example pieces by Paul Signac.
Of course, we didn’t spend the whole weekend inside. Places like Sacre-Coeur, Notre Dame, and of course, the Eiffel Tower, were also on our list. We spent hours walking up and down the Seine river, looking at monuments while eating bread and watching street-performers. Street-performers were everywhere. For example, near our apartment in Montmartre we saw a tight-rope walker, and walking down the Seine we stumbled on a teenage open-mic night.
Beyond the art museums, on Saturday night we went to Le Caveau de la Huchette, a famous jazz club made even more popular by its brief mention in “La La Land.” It was packed full, and curiously the main act was a band from Ireland.
Finally, I can’t end this recount without discussing the food. I didn’t go a day without eating bread. It was delicious! Apart from this and crepes, I also had a great brie-apple open sandwich, made particularly appealing by the addition of apple sauce (??).
As a birthday present, one of my friends gave me Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast.” I’ve been eagerly reading it over the last week, and being reminded of the Parisian streets and neighborhoods which we (however briefly) visited. By writing this blog post, and reading “The Moveable Feast,” I can “taste life twice” (and a fourth/fifth time), and for that I am very grateful.