I can now cross two more items off my bucket list, and I am happy to do so – I’m sorry to say this but being a tourist when you live in a city often feels like a chore, and as much as I would love to feel the same zeal I did at the beginning, I just don’t. Shaun and I decided to check out the Petit Palais today, one of Paris’ 2 fine arts museums on Winston Churchill Avenue (off the Champs-Elysees) that were built for the 1900 World Exhibition. While I was disappointed by the overall collection – especially after having to pay 5 Euro for entrance – I was overly impressed with the temporary exhibition on Pierre and Alexandra Boulat, a father and daughter who have both worked tirelessly as photo-journalists. While Pierre Boulat’s photos focused more on daily life, society, and Paris, his daughter’s had a heavy focus on women and on the Middle East. The exhibition alone was worth the entrance fee, and I would highly recommend it.
Since we had a little time before our plans for Fajita Night with some other friends, Shaun and I decided to check out la Grande Arche at la Defense (metro line 1). All we knew was that it was a modern interpretation of one of France’s classic arches. It was incredible. It is stunning – in a classy, modern way that is completely surprising and totally unexpected. The skyline was unbelievable – fog hugged the tall, futuristic buildings like a warm blanket, and the grey sky made for the perfect backdrop to the monstrous glass skyscrapers.
And of course, I couldn’t resist a little sugary goodness:
Generally, I think the most interesting part of the day was seeing 2 completely different sides of Paris: nostalgic, old, and beautiful; and modern, industrial, and still beautiful. I often forget that Paris is a modern city – most of the city is so old, and so beautiful in such a uniform way, but seeing la Defense reminded me that France is not just our cliche view of it. It was rather refreshing.