Arrête! C’est ici, l’empire de la mort.

I did some more touristy things last week with my visitor. We went to see the Cité de Science – the Science museum. After visiting a decent number of them, the visual proof that a2 + b2 = c2 doesn’t excite me as much (though it is cool). They had an exhibition on cats and dogs that was cute, but a bit too childish, even for Gergö and me. There was an indoor garden that looked promising but then didn’t deliver. I think it’s used for teaching.

On Monday we visited the museum of the middle ages, mostly because they exhibit a tapisserie “The woman and the Unicorn”. It’s their most prominent exhibit. I sadly forgot to take a picture of a unicorn wearing headphones. It’s what they use for the audio guide. Unicorn Headphones would be a good album title for my imaginary band, though.

Another day we visited the catacombs. When we tried that in summer the line was huge, basically once around the entire building that houses the entrance. February is good for impatient visitors, because we waited for zero minutes. The catacombs are really interesting. For one there’s some information on the strata that make up Paris and how they were formed. Then some history on the catacombs and finally, “The Empire of Death”. Lots and lots of bones and skulls. They are stacked along the path in alcoves based on the cemeteries they were dug out from.

Watching thousands of bones while an unidentified liquid drips on you is a bit creepy, I can tell you. It was raining outside and according to an attendant, the rain water filters through the ground and then drips on everything. There were even tiny stalagnites on the ceiling.

We rounded off our day of the dead with a visit to Père Lachaise cemetery. The weather was fittingly grey and dismal. The cemetery is big and old and still in use. Lots of famous people are buried there. The most famous is probably Jim Morrisson, who we visited as well. According to the Internet(tm), the grave is also one of the most popular tourist spots in Paris, but again, not in February.


Untitled

We went to Paris today, to check out the mall underneath the Louvre. What can I say, I felt like doing something touristy. We walked to the Louvre along the Seine, where the book sellers have their green stalls. It was so foggy, the Eiffel Tower was missing its top.

The Carrousel du Louvre mall is famous for the inverted pyramid:

The inverted pyramid is impressive.

and I have to admit, it is pretty impressive.

It’s also famous for its upmarket designer stores. Gergö questioned my wish to visit the printemps store with the designer handbags. Once a year I feel like confirming that I don’t like designer bags, shoes and accessories, even if they weren’t out of my price range.

Afterwards we wandered through the Louvre and the Tuileries garden, where there are statues and well kept bushes and an arc. I was quite surprised how inefficient Paris is. So many empty square metres that could be covered in Christmas market stalls. If this were Vienna, there would be a market in every courtyard and one along rue de Rivoli for good measure.

20151213_145033

It’s definitely not the Arc de Triomphe, so I guess it must be the Arc de Adequacy. (insert rimshot here)

 

"Is this Rodin, what do you think?", Gergö asked. "Looks more like Pilates, actually." (I'm on a roll here)

“Is this Rodin, what do you think?”, Gergö asked. “Looks more like Pilates, actually.” (I’m on a roll here)

We made our way to Angelina, the famous café that serves the best chocolat chaud of Paris. Last time the queue was so long we gave up. This time, the queue was much shorter, but we still gave up and bought a chocolat chaud to go. It’s very thick and chocolatey, and remained tongue burningly hot the entire time.

20151213_150338

English spoken. Man spricht deutsch.

20151213_145653

I really enjoy walking around Paris and I’m slowly starting to connect the dots of Metro stops to an actual city.

This week we also visited a square that has 4 bookstores (Gibert Jeune), each with a different focus. We had coffee in a hipster café that roasts its own coffee. We also had beer on the traditional terraces of Paris, which are now enclosed in tarpaulin and heated.

Oh and we bought lots of food to bring to Austria for Christmas: crème de marron, caramel au beurre salé, saucisson sanglier, and nougat (the white one that’s made from honey and nuts). The fromage will be bought at the airport. Now is a good time to state your food preference :-)

No news on the health insurance front: on Friday I was told that it would all happen automatically once my micro-entreprise applicatipn goes through. I don’t believe that for a second but at least that means there’s nothing for me to do but wait.


Une excursion à Fountainebleau

Wednesday was Armistice Day, which is a holiday here in France. I read about British people wearing poppies and thanking veterans before but never stopped to wonder why Austria doesn’t commemorate the end of World War I. I guess we are sore losers.

Gergö had the day off from work and his friend from work suggested an outing to the château Fountainebleau. It’s a huge castle with old parts dating from the middle ages and newer bits added on by various French kings.