[ quatre | on continue \ partout ]

Due to a schedule change, we had class on Tuesday and not on Friday. But even Thursday was full of activity, starting off with one of my favorites: Marché de la Bastille. I was mentally kicking myself for not checking this out earlier, but hey, better late than never, right? Marché de la Bastille is one of the biggest and most popular open markets in Paris. It is open Thursdays and Sundays from 7 am to around 1 pm and features everything from rotisserie chicken to fresh fruits and vegetables to cheap clothing to handmade leather bound notebooks. It's easy to find affordable gifts here, whether it be jewelry, scarves, purses, soaps or the typical Eiffel Tower mini statue, the stands here are as diverse as the shoppers. But of course, being an open market, it's all about the specialty stands, the fish and seafood stands, the fruit stands, the vegetable stands, the fresh bread and roasting meat, the fresh cheese laid out on a table, the plates of marinated olives and much more. It's like a farmer's market, but much bigger and more diverse.

They even have random stands selling books and toys! Kind of like a toned-down day time Taiwanese night market...

This would be a great place to pick up some food for a picnic...and then wander over to the Promenade Plantée behind the L'Opéra Bastille. And if you're hungry, there is a stand about half way through the market that sells crêpes and galettes that is completely worth waiting in line for. Walking away from the Bastille, it was on the right side, with yellow and white stripes, and probably a line extending from it. There are two women running it, each stationed at a crêpe griddle and churning out bundles of deliciousness. I opted for the savory saucisse et fromage galette and was mesmerized as I watched her create pour out what seemed to be a whole wheat batter and spread it into a perfect circle. Very satisfying...kind of like a French twist on the hot dog. Why does food always taste better when you can walk and eat? After circling around the marché, we decided it was time for an ice cream break...and headed back towards Bastille for some Amorino before walking over to Musée Carnavalet in the Marais. Musée Carnavalet, the Paris History museum, was just a short walk from the marché through the posh shopping streets of the Marais (and through Place des Vosges). The museum is a bit of a maze, but the workers are super friendly and pointed us in the right direction as we got (free) tickets (thank you, histoire d'art), walked past the gardens, and put our things in the locker. Musée Carnavalet occupies two adjacent "hôtels" or mansions. Unfortunately, this joint structure means that the navigation is a little more complicated but hey, museums are for wandering right? The museum starts off with a room full of old store signs. Back in the day, in order to attract customers (who were often illiterate), they would hang bigger and bigger symbolic signs. Apparently, it got to the point where they were hazardous... The rest of the museum features art, artifacts and models that represent Paris at different periods of history, divided into the various rooms of the museum. Somewhere in the former kitchen (? greenroom?) are the remains of ancient Paris. This small, intimate, old (it opened back in the 19th century!) and quiet (read: chill) museum covers everything from ancient Paris to modern. The people who work there are basically invisible, there were barely any visitors on that Thursday late morning/early afternoon, and the entire place smelled a bit like a grandparents' attic. Oh, and the floors creaked like there was no tomorrow. But all in all, charming. After wandering out of this museum, we wandered back over to Palais Royal area for Taiwanese food. Saint Paul >> Palais Royal Musée du Louvre. And then the thing that was always bound to happen happened. Tourists (and locals) beware! The Paris métro stations feature deathly exit (sortie) doors that slam back as soon as you walk through. The reasoning is to prevent people from sneaking onto the métro through the exits. But in reality it is just a hazard for all. First of all, they are impossible to push open. Especially with wind tunnels coming from the outside world, usually the kind citizens in front will hold the door out in a string of not-so-random acts of kindness so everyone can get out safely. Which usually happens. Except today. When the tunnel blew off my hat and I instinctively turned around to grab it. Except I step approximately half a second too slowly. And the door slams into my heel. The pain was so sharp I barely even felt it at first. Then I was afraid to look. By the time we got halfway through Palais Royal, I couldn't help it...I looked down and realized that I wasn't imagining, it was definitely bleeding. And the door had slammed so hard into my sandal that it broke the zipper and my shoe was essentially welded into my foot. A sweet waitress at a nearby restaurant dug up some wet wipes that I wedged between my foot and my shoe as I limped on. I ended up waiting until after class to literally cut my shoe from my foot. It was a sad day. And then after dinner I climbed 284 steps up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. And then proceeded to walk the length of Champs-Elysées, through the Tuileries to the Louvre and then home, up 97 more steps, one last flight, to bed. 100% worth the view though! And now I know why people make the pilgrimage. And I don't know what took me so long to get my lazy butt over to the top of the Arc.

"I can't believe you wore THAT to the party!"

Basically how I felt the entire time.

Torch of the unknown soldier

Alllllll the way down Champs-Elysées...through Concorde... ...Into the summer fair! And finally, a beautiful sight. Until I remembered the 97+ steps that await. Needless to say, I slept well that night. Three day weekend, three day staycation to come!