Saturday morning Jaclyn and I got up and around and met Harrison at a garden called La Place des Volges in an area of Paris called La Marais. Yes, those of you from Bates Co. that’s like the Marais des Cygnes, it means marsh. That area of Paris used to be entirely marshland, now it’s very historical and relaxed and pretty tourist-free.

Place des Volges

Place des Volges

We enjoyed the park for a few minutes and then literally walked across the street to Victor Hugo’s house. It’s now a museum and the best part about it was the fact that it’s free (just kidding, that wasn’t the best). We got to see his home and his study and several other cool rooms. There’s even a room that was originally in the apartment he kept for his mistress (they had an affair for over 50 years!) and was decorated in an Oriental motif and once the apartment was made into a museum the entire room was transferred from across Paris. Other cool things were his writing desk and all the portraits of Hugo, he could make some interesting faces for sure!

Hugo's house

Hugo's house

The writing desk used by Hugo, it was also used by Lamartine, Sand and Dumas.

The writing desk used by Hugo, it was also used by Lamartine, Sand and Dumas.

After Hugo’s house we headed towards the Picasso museum. Along the way we saw an incredibly long line outside a bakery so we figured it must be good if all the locals were eating there so we got in line. It was so worth it! I got a quiche that was to die for and we all got different desserts so we could share. We went back to the garden/park to eat our lunch and enjoy the amazing desserts, yum!

The Picasso museum wasn’t far and it was so worth it! We had to pay for it but I would have paid double for it! All the exhibits are set up in chronological order, which is fantastic because that way you can really see his progression as an artist. Another interesting thing about the museum were the walls, about half of the walls that didn’t have artwork on them were mirrors. Some were normal mirrors and some were funhouse mirrors. I’m not entirely sure why but it was an interesting effect and it certainly added to the disorienting feeling some of his pieces give. I think the piece that stood out the most to me was one titled “Massacre in Korea.” It was just an incredibly moving painting and I could have spent twice as much time looking at it as I did. Someday I’d love to see “Guernica” but that’s in Madrid, as it only should be.

When we left the Picasso museum we headed towards St. Michel because Katie and Meaghan were waiting there to look for rugby paraphernalia to wear to the game later. We found a rugby store but everything in there was ridiculous, go figure. Instead we decided to just get some food and go hang out at the Eiffel Tower for a little while before we had to head to the stadium. We got there, after a very interesting Metro/RER experience, and claimed a spot on the lawn and Emma came to join us bearing tons of food. We wanted to take the RER so we got on at St. Michel and headed towards the Eiffel Tower. It took off and stopped at Invalides… and stayed stopped. We were sitting there a good half an hour (we were just enjoying the comfy seats and chatting so it wasn’t bad) before it finally started moving again… back to Invalides. We don’t know why it wouldn’t go to the Eiffel Tower but whatever, we just took a more complicated set of Metro lines and still got there to enjoy a picnic with the others. It was delicious and a really fun way to spend a few hours. Martin joined us just in time to head to the Metro.

The stadium wasn’t too far away and when we got there Bertrand, the student affairs director for IES and a really cool guy, was already there waiting. He heard we were going to a game and loves rugby so we got him a ticket. Everyone else arrived and the game started.

I don’t even know where to begin describing the rugby game, it was just awesome! The French team wasn’t the greatest (that’s being kind, they lost by over 60 points) and England’s really good so that was a bummer but it was such a fun game. I have a very basic understanding of the game now, I actually think it was easier to follow than American football. Before the game started they of course played the French national anthem, I don’t know the words (neither does Meaghan or Harrison) so we just stood and hummed, and the interesting thing was they also played the British national anthem. Both sides were very polite all through the game, we applauded the Brits when they had a good play and they cheered for the French when they scored.

They 'politely' suggest you don't hop over the gate, maybe if they were a bit more forceful they wouldn't have had a streaker...

They 'politely' suggest you don't hop over the gate, maybe if they were a bit more forceful they wouldn't have had a streaker...

These guys were beasts!

These guys were beasts!

We all tried to cheer in French but sometimes we just couldn’t help ourselves. I’m pretty sure I was yelling “just pass the ball!” a lot in English, but I got “allez-les Bleus!!” down in French. I’m definitely a little hooked on rugby now, I will be going to MU club games for sure in the fall. While I loved the actual game I might just have to say the outstanding moment was when the man jumped the gate (security is much loser than in the States) and streaked the field. That took a good 10 minute time-out.

The French team, Les Bleus (the Blues)

The French team, Les Bleus (the Blues)

They do lots of running, a bit awkward in style, but still incredibly impressive!

They do lots of running, a bit awkward in style, but still incredibly impressive!

After the game we all (nearly 20 from the program) hopped on the Metro and went to a more active part of Paris to find a cafe to just chill. We found one that had enough outdoor seating for everybody and ordered coffee and beer and great conversations all around. Bertrand is also from a really small town so we chatted about that for a while and he gave us some great traveling advice. We just might be headed to London next weekend now…

When everyone finished their drinks it was pretty late so we all headed home and had sweet dreams filled with brutal tackling and bad singing.

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