Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mon Week-end à Paris

The first thing I thought when I arrived in Paris last Friday was that I belonged there. I felt so comfortable, with my little black travel bag and hand-made black heels. I realized that heels weren’t the most practical item to wear for a day of traveling, but decide that as a young woman on a solo weekend, I should pretend that I wasn’t traveling. I casually approached the Metro auto machine, attempting to blame the machine for taking so long to figure out what type of tickets to purchase.

So I get off at the Pyramides stop, and stroll along Rue L’Italienne, peering into shops that I pretend I can afford. Then this small gallery catches my eye, filled with large, colorful paintings, most of which were centered around a woman’s face, colorless save for her lips or eyes. She would be surrounded by bright candies, shoes, rubix cubes, and vehicles, symbolizing commercialism and excessiveness, etc etc. I rather fancied a painting or two, and, equipped with my little black travel bag (courtesy of Florence) and my zippy new shoes, give the owner my best French accent and inquire about the pieces. He answers me in French, then quickly resorts to English (how do the always know!), and gives me an offer in relation to a particular piece: a colorless woman, with purple lips, a star-shaped mirror under her left eye, with smokey purple rubix cubes floating beside her. I tell him that I adore it, and wonder if there is a smaller version available, blaming my (non-existant) apartment for being too small to hold the ten-foot version. “Yes, madame, I can contact the artist, and for 5,500 Euros, he can make you a smaller one. We can ship anywhere you like. And you live in Paris?” I almost said yes, but figured he’d find me out soon enough, so I said I live “In the South.” We went about the gallery together for a good fifteen minutes, while he explained certain pieces and pointed out particular moments in each. I don’t know if I actually fooled him, or if he was just really trying to sell, but either way, I scored a free catalogue and told him I’d be back. I decided that the 8 1/2 by 11 inch pages were perfect, and that I’d frame the catalogue at home.

I continued along on through the neighborhood, stopping in at Gucci and Yves Saint Lauren. I’m not sure what gave me the balls to even go into those shops; perhaps it was the interactions with the gallery owner; perhaps it was my shoes. Anyhow, I finally ended up at my previously-decided upon destination: The Louvre. I slowly passed by tour groups, which were spouting off details like “The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world!” and “Did you know, that if an individual spent 30 seconds at each exhibit, for eight hours a day, it would take him thirteen months to see every exhibit?” So, I wound through the check points, and get to the ticket line, where I was cut several times by loud Italian families. I’m not sure why it was okay for them to just casually step to the front like that, nudging past myself, who was getting more and more irritable in the stuffy-as-hell entrance way. I imagined telling each of them individually to piss off, then running out, stealing their stupid tour books on my way. Then I decided that it’d probably be worth standing in this horrid line once I got in. And it was, completely. I spent over three hours wandering about the west wing (that reference was for you, Bronwyn), taking several breaks to sit and enjoy a particularly intriguing piece, or to write in my journal (which was now filled with humorous complaints about the morning’s escapades). I’m sure I looked somewhat pretentious sitting there in my cardigan, stoned-faced and stand-offish, with my leather journal, which happened to match my shoes. Whatever, I loved it.

So, that evening I made my way to the hostel I was staying at, and after depositing my bag in my bunk bed (top bunk!!), I made my way to the café to order a beverage, then waited for someone to be my friend. I made note of another single girl, then quickly dismiss the possibility once I realized she was puffing a fake cigarette and had leg braces. I mean, don’t slow me down. So I order this great 6 euro dinner, which wasn’t half bad, and ask the waiter what I should do that night, and he points me to two guys who apparently asked him the same question. “Hey fellas!” He shouts over to them and points at me, saying “This young lady is looking to do something this evening!” Excellent, thanks.
I smile sheepishly then accept their offer to sit with them. They were two blokes from New Zealand, who were full of good humor and intellect. I decided to wait a good twenty minutes before asking if they enjoy Flight of the Conchords. They immediately bust out a “foux de fa fa!” reference, and twist their fake staches. Score!

Let’s just say, that the rest of the night consisted of constant absurd, likely offensive references to Frenchmen and somehow, to Ricky Gervais. We got called out once or twice, after busting out “mmrra hahahaha!” (what, that’s how the French laugh) and laughing and pointing every time we saw someone with a baguette (which, was a freakin lot of times).

The rest of my weekend was spent just happily wandering Paris, writing in my journal, and trying to track down a hostel with a bed for the night. I suppose Paris kicked me out, because I never did find a place, and seeing as how I can’t afford to stay in a schmoozy Paris hotel, I took the train back to Geneva and called it a night, vowing to soon return to gay ol' Paris.