Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ah Paris!

I’ve been meaning to post about Paris for over a month but it’s been so hectic around here that I haven’t had a chance. Not to mention it’s hard to put the trip into words. It was a great but very busy trip. It was also so different from the last time I was there. Here’s some back story. I went to Paris twice during my solo backpacking trip a couple of years ago. The second time around a relationship I had been putting a lot of energy into saving came to a disastrous end. That, added to my homesickness helped cause a breakdown that took months to recover from.

Returning to Paris has always been something I felt I needed to do. I didn’t want my last memories of the city to be calling my sister in tears from the train station because she’d be the only one awake back home (she keeps odd hours). This trip certainly did an excellent job of overshadowing the less pleasant memories. The most important thing for me about this trip was going to the Orsay. It’s the museum I have wanted to visit more than any other and it is also the one I didn’t visit because I was too much of a mess. It was absolutely worth the trip. I saw paintings I’ve admired in books for years and discovered new ones. I got teary a time or two. Art galleries can have that effect on me. We spent four hours there and I give Andrew many many kudos for not wanting to rush through.

Even though I’d been to Paris before, there wasn’t a lot of repetition on this trip. I’d been to Notre Dame before but never climbed the towers (amazing view). I never went to the top of the Eiffel tower (worth doing once, probably not twice). And I probably wouldn’t have chosen to visit a few of the places we did but I enjoyed them.

Versailles was the other highlight besides the Orsay. The Chateau is nice but very crowded but the rest of the grounds were really, really nice. It’s too bad so many people focus on the Chateau. My favourite part was the little hamlet Marie Antoinette had built. It has all these quaint little houses. It was very beautiful and even better, we mostly had it to ourselves.

I visited two yarn stores while we were there: Cat’Laine and La Droguerie. I was at La Droguerie on a Saturday which may have been a poor choice. It was very busy and their system was confusing to me. You line up and wait your turn for someone to help you. They’ll help you choose your yarn and get it for you. You can’t take something from a shelf and go buy it like I’m used to. I guess it was a bit of LYS culture shock. I did get some nice alpaca and some linen yarn though.

I did bring knitting and had no trouble knitting on the plane in either direction. In fact, I went through security three times. I went through in Vancouver on the way to Paris with my bamboo DPNs and an addi circ without incident. On the way back I opted to take only my sock in progress on bamboo DPNs because I had read on Ravelry that metal needles can be a problem at Charles de Gaulle. I got my bag searched in Paris but they were more interested in the chocolates than in the needles. The screener didn’t say a thing about them. We had to claim our bags in Montreal to go through customs so I had a chance to reclaim my addi needle (and the hat on it). Once again it wasn’t a problem.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a whole lot of knitting done. I made some progress on a sock on the flight over before my needle broke. I tried to knit a bit of Empoisonnee but ended up ripping it all back. I’m pretty sure there’s an error in the pattern but I haven’t seen any errata for it yet. On the way back I started another koolhaas, for me this time because it’s getting cold.

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