I mentioned in my last post that I still had quite a few things to see here in Paris. Here is my (incomplete, I’m sure) list, as scribbled into my notebook during History of Versailles lecture last week:
1) Hôtel des Invalides
2) Bastille/surrounding area
3) Jardin des Plantes
Centre Pompidou (though I’d like to return)
5) Musée Cluny
6) Musée Rodin/gardens
7) Musée L’Orangerie
9) Top of Notre Dame
9) Top of Arc de Triomphe
10) Basilique de Saint-Denis
11) Market/church one Sunday (Perhaps Easter Sunday, as the Catholics do?)
12) Learn to Vélib (more on this later)
13) Lots of picnics
14) Go back to the Louvre
15) La Bibliothèque Nationale
Les Egouts (sewers)
19) Cimitière Montparnasse
20) Parc des Buttes Chaumont
And there you have it, my to-do list for the rest of my time in Paris. I made it last Friday, and I already knocked three things off the list since then. I do need to get moving, though, with less than two months left here. I also have to consider that I’ll be out of the city from April 14th-27th, visiting Florence, Venice, Budapest, Prague and Berlin for spring break(!!!!!!!!!). Expect a couple blog entries during that time.
In other news that I feel necessary to be shared with the blogging world, I had my worst RER experience to date this afternoon. For those who have been fortunate enough to never have heard of the RER, it’s the regional rail system that runs through Paris and out into the suburbs. I live across the street from the Cité U stop, which is on the RER B. To put it mildly, you get some “characters” on the RER B.
I got on the RER around 5:30 today at Chatelet-Les Halles, one of the largest underground stations in the world. I usually go to great lengths to avoid Chatelet, especially at rush hour, but there I was. I squeezed onto the train with all the other commuters, and found myself sandwiched between two people who I would spend the next 20 minutes getting to know very intimately.
Just across from me, there was a man surrounded by a ring of people burying their faces into scarves/coats/bags/anything they could. He looked and was dressed like a totally normal guy, but the smell emanating from this human being could have killed a small child. The woman standing directly behind him was, no joke, gagging the entire time. I thought she was going to throw up…and every time I caught a whiff, I thought I might as well.
I’ve smelled my fair share of icky individuals on the RER, but this dude took the cake. It was one of those little things that reminded me of the joys of public transportation, and really made me miss my red Hyundai…