Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This morning started out with miserable weather. Looking out the window of our hotel, I could see Place d'Italie (the major intersection/roundabout that our hotel is on - also our Metro station) slick and shiny from the rain. Fortunately my first class today was in one of the hotel conference rooms! Normally our classes are at the FIAP Center - FIAP are the French initials for AIFS, the organization that has arranged our study abroad program and who's brilliant guides Ged and Sophie do a fabulous job of making our trip go so smoothly. However, this morning, due to the Center being full up, some of our classes were at the hotel and I got lucky having to only walk down two flights of stairs to my class at 8am! My later class, however, was at FIAP which meant either a wet walk or a short Metro ride and a drizzly damp walk (rather than soaking wet if I'd walked all the way).

I surivived the trip to and back, and then planned my journey to the Musee d'Orsay. Rather than figuring out all the different transfers and stops necessary to Metro the whole way, I decided to ride to one of the Louvre stops (there are a couple where the museum is accessible) and walk over one of the 37 bridges that cross the Seine River (and those are only the ones in Paris) over to the museum. Along the way, I got a few glimpses of some of the magnificent buildings of the city (despite the clouds - sorry the photos aren't that great but I'm blaming it on the weather).

Once I got to the Orsay, I panicked because there was a huge line. After my experiences with lines at Giverny this weekend, I hesitated to wait for an hour or more when I knew there was classwork waiting for me back at the hotel. Brilliance struck (shocking, I know) and I saw the advance ticket sales office. Marching right in, I purchased a ticket for tomorrow. That ticket saves me from having to wait in the massive line! Great idea, right?! Sure it's for tomorrow, but I can rearrange my plans, I'm flexible. The idea of standing in a really long line all by myself was not what I was in the mood for, so I figured it was a good plan. And, it is.

Wandering back the way I came, I thought I might check out some of the shops and such that are at the Carrousel where we entered the Louvre the other day. As I walked, I snapped a couple more photos - ones that I didn't have the opportunity to take the other day since we arrived at the Louvre underground. I tried to remember my last visit to the Louvre in 1994 when I was here with a group of fellow high school students, but I just couldn't for the life of me. I suppose that's what happens with memories - you've got only so much room in your brain and so some of them get pushed out!

I walked down the stairs into the shops and all of a sudden it hit me why the line at the Musee d'Orsay was so long! On Mondays in Paris (like in many other large cities) many of the museums are closed, but the Louvre remains open. Conversely, on Tuesdays the Louvre closes and many of the crowds hustle to the museums that were not open on Monday - such as the Orsay. Hence the long line. However, I am still glad that I chose get a ticket for tomorrow...

So, normally tomorrow I would have my two class sessions again, but a couple of the professors have arranged for us to go hear a speaker at the American University in Paris in the afternoon. What is he going to speak about? I have no clue, but I'm sure it will be interesting! The professors seem to be excited about it, which is always a good sign. As a result, they've cancelled our regular meeting times which means I have my morning free - to go to the Musee d'Orsay! See how brilliant the plan really was?!

I made my way back to the hotel and got some classwork done - we have an assignment due tomorrow in my crisis communications class - and managed to thoroughly enjoy myself just doing the stuff that students do. For a while I sat up in the hotel room and worked and when I got tired of that view I made my way down to the lobby where a number of other students from our trip had set up (there's wireless internet in the lobby as opposed to the ethernet we have in our rooms which means only one cable and one user at a time) and did some more work.

The one funny thing was that upon returning to the lobby for our daily happy hour, I ran into some others who had waited in the long line at the Orsay and said that it only took 15 minutes! Oh heck....but how was I to know?! And this way, I'll be able to spend all the time I want...well, all until 2pm when I have to meet the group to head to the speaker. But, then again, I'm in Paris and it really doesn't bother me a bit!

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