All over the Place (Days 13 and 14)

Eglise Saint Paul Saint Louis
Eglise Saint Paul Saint Louis

After class on Tuseday, I went walking and found another beautiful old church, Eglise Saint Paul Saint Louis.  I also finally went inside of the Panthéon!

I had passed by the Panthéon I don’t know how many times already, but it was always closed or I had my tripod with me (tripods aren’t allowed).  The crypt level of the Panthéon holds the tombs for notable French citizens.  Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Louis Braille, and Pierre and Marie Curie are buried there to name a few.  Marie Curie was the first woman to be buried there for her own achievements.

Marie and Pierre Curie’s tombs in the Panthéon
Inside the Panthéon
The Foucault Pendulum in the Panthéon

There was this huge pendulum in the middle of the main level of the Panthéon that was really interesting, it was Foucault’s Pendulum.  It was hung from the dome of the pantheon and swings in the center over numbers that are used to tell the time.  The rotation of the earth causes the direction of its swing to change 11 degrees each hour.

Les Invalids
Les Invalids: Cathedrale St. Louis des Invalides

On Wednesday, I went to the CEA headquarters after class to book a flight to Barcelona, Spain for this three-day weekend, and ended up getting help from another student for about an hour and a half.  One of the students in our program, Guillaume, is from Canada and he speaks French, so he helped me figure out the notes I’ve been taking in class!
After I left CEA, I went back to Les Invalides to look around inside.  Napoleon is buried in Les Invalids, and there is at least one museum in the complex and a chapel.

Les Invalids: neat windows!
part of the Pont Alexandre III bridge
Pont Alexandre III bridge across the Seine
Grand Palais
Petit Palais

After Les Invalids I walked out toward some other buildings that I had seen during the bus tour the first week I was here.  On the way, I crossed Pont Alexandre III a very ornate bridge across the Seine that was built for the Universal Exposition of 1900.  The buildings that I walked to ended up being two more structures that were built for that event, the Petit Palais and Grand Palais.  By the time I got to them, it was closing time, so I didn’t get to go inside.

Grande Arche de la Defense, Notre Dame could fit inside
La Défense: view of the Arc de Triomph
La Défense: Gig ’em!

I was thinking about going home when I went down into the metro, then realized I could use the daylight that was left (since even though it was 5 o’clock, I had five more hours of it!) to go see La Défense.  As my tour book puts it, La Défense is Paris’ response to the New York City skyline.  The coolest thing to be seen at La Défense is the Grande Arche, a structure that is almost a cube; it’s big enough that it could fit Notre Dame inside (again, according to my tour book)!   It lines up with the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, to make up the Axe historique of Paris.  There was a lot of modern art around La Défense.  I found one statue that I was particularly fond of!

La Défense: interesting buildings

La Défense: Camo buildings

La Défense: the strange footbridge

The area was really interesting, it seemed like it was all raised above the ground.  The ground in the area around the Grande Arch, metro, and surrounding buildings was made up of big concrete blocks that weren’t sitting on solid ground because you could hear that it was hollow beneath when you walked on them.  Behind the Grande Arche, there was this really long footbridge that went for a long ways and then just stopped without a staircase to get down.  It had at least one staircase along the way but still, I couldn’t figure out why it was there.  It overlooked a cemetery and the outskirts of Paris.

Frozen balls of spinach??

When I got home, I tried out a recipe that I had gotten from my study abroad program, CEA.  That’s a big deal for me.  I can’t cook at home, so here it’s even more of a challenge since we have limited tools and a micro..oven..thing.  I made the recipe titled “CREAM SAUCE! Salmon, Spinach and Cream Pasta.  You can do it!”  It was a success but without the right spices to fix it up, it didn’t taste all that great.  But the main point of the story is: Lauren cooked and didn’t burn down Paris.  Whoop!

Finished product

Now I have a LOT of spinach left over!  They only had really big packages of it for sale at the grocery store.  The weirdest thing to me when I opened it was that it was frozen in balls!  I used at least 11 of them in the recipe, and I think that was less than half.  Ugh.  No idea what to do with the rest of it and it’s taking up a lot of room in our tiny fridge!

A little after 10 pm, I went to back to the Eiffel Tower to take pictures.  Ended up staying until 11:30.  We’ve had really dreary weather lately with lots of rain and cloud-covered skies.  I’m dying for it to be pretty out so I can get some great sunset shots!