Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Best Till Last: Monet's Garden - 6

The day we visited the Eiffel Tower was technically our last day of the trip. But I just had to save the best until last : Monet's Garden. As we arrived, we were each given our own beautifully designed ticket, allowing us to visit his home & garden.

We explored the front garden first and even though it was huuuge, every single detail was attended to, with several volunteer gardeners working away happily. The flowers were so beautiful, I could have sat there and sketched away for hours...

Below: Libby, myself, Louise & Safa
(Notice how I decided to bust out the floral shirt? Ooh yeaaah)

After our first explorations of the garden, we entered the house. No photos were allowed but it was incredible. One of the rooms was filled with around 50 very real replica's of Monet's work & it was awesome. The colours were so pretty & to be able to be where his paintings took inspiration from was such a privilege.

Louise & I stayed in that room for aaages, it was incredible. It was also interesting to see how many Asian images filled the house, their style very different to his, but beautiful nevertheless.

As we came out of the house, a little more exploring of the first garden was in order. In our venture, we discovered some unusual chickens residing in the grounds & a little girl with this beautiful (very fitting) umbrella to shade from the sun.

Louise & I agreed it would be so perfect to volunteer as a gardener here. Every single day you'd get to see these surroundings & have the privilege of being here.

Cheekily, I asked a gardener if I could do a little gardening. He agreed happily & kindly explained how the tools worked to me, so I could do my not-so-touristy photo for the album.

The garden in two main parts. For the second part, you had to go underground in a little passageway. The second garden is the water garden, where Monet got his inspiration for his most famous pieces.

When we got there, Louise decided to do some fishing.

On the other side of the iconic bridge below, we found a couple of benches & grabbed them.

We got our sketchbooks & watercolours out to paint the beautiful scene. Passers by were really lovely as they 'ooed' and 'aaahed' at our work, and an elderly couple we had made friends with earlier on in the garden even went as far as calling me 'Claudette Monet'. I was pretty chuffed.

We were so happy to be in this charming garden, we couldn't help but skip our way along, with huge grins across our faces.

At one point, we slipped away to a less hectic part of the garden & found a spot to quickly dip our toes into the river. (It had to be done...)

This also had to be done.

Monet's Garden concludes our Parisian adventures. I would go back in a heartbeat, especially here.

Listening tooo: Bastille's album - 'Bad Blood' (This sounds amazing with good bass!)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

I Spy an Eiffel Tower - 5

After our day of visiting museums & eating pizza, we made our last stop of the day to the iconic Eiffel Tower.

For our tickets, everyone decided to walk to the first floor. Burning off the pizza, right? It was a long, long, long way.

Just when we thought we'd arrived, it turned out we were only half way there...even longer.

But it was worth it. The view was beautiful, it was so much better than a cramped lift, there was a little breeze helping us along the way & we got to enjoy the full experience this way!

Above: Libby looking lovely in her tourist photo.

Below: Louise clinging for her dear life. We only discovered her fear of heights here, on the Eiffel Tower.

The lower floors are both great & if you want a good view, they're probably the best. Everything just looks like teeny tiny dots from the top floor! 

Nevertheless, I wanted to experience something I'd never done before, so we parted with Louise (she was utterly terrified by now) and queued for the lift to the top floor.

It was a long queue. But we all made it up there, in one piece. Phew. The lift wasn't even that scary.

We rushed around excitedly at the top, taking crazily excited photos of each other & spotting which dot was what.

Before we knew it, it was time for us to hurry back down to the coach (we were only about an hour late... whoops) Walking down was much easier than walking up, other than getting lost for a little while.

Once back to the coach, we guzzled down our leftover pizza & took to the congested roads for a tour of Paris by night. Our tour ended at a beautiful viewing point to the Eiffel Tower where we danced, twirled & jumped the evening away.

Listening toooo: Amanda Palmer's album: 'Who Killed Amanda Palmer' (Specially requested by Louise - this was our favourite for the coach journeys)

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Dipping & Dining in Paris - 4

From the Pompidou, we walked / dodged from shadow to shadow across the short & sunny stretch of Paris to the Musée d'Orsay.

On our walk we crossed a bridge. But not just any bridge.

Spencer & Lucy from MIC kissed on this bridge, woaaaaaaaah... As you can imagine, we were really excited about this, so I took a photo of Louise to remember this historic moment. (Don't worry I'm not really thaaaat obsessed...only a little bit)

We then arrived at the Musée d'Orsay. After climbing the thousands & thousands of steps all the way to the top, we arrived at the most famous floor.

It was a-mazing. Louise & I tagged along to a guided group to listen in on what each sculpture / painting meant, it was really interesting. 

My favourites were Monet's pieces and Degas' sculpture of the little 14 - year old dancer. I have a book about her at home and it was incredible to see her in real, ribbon and all! 

No photos were allowed so I made do with this sneaky shot.

After this, we did even more walking, through the famous 'Jardins des Tuileries', to get to our restaurant for the evening. Louise joined me in my quest for shade this time, it was so so hot!

I had a little dip in the garden's big fountain, then we resumed our walk, walking past Le Louvre on our way.

The restaurant was gooood! Turned out it was a pizzeria & we all devoured our food. After all that walking can you really blame us?

It was delicious & pretty central so it was nice to see the hustle & bustle of Paris as we ate outside. Cheers Louise!

Above: Aaron & Safa

Below: Myself, with a knife in my Orangina glass, attempting to de-fizz it. I thought this was a pretty normal thing to do but there I got quite a few odd looks...

I had a sizzling hot marguerita. Look at it ooze with delicious-ness. Mmmm yeah.

The meal was really tasty & amongst the people walking past, there was an awesome guy who had given his dog dreadlocks. Yes, dreadlocks.

It was really cool when the dog jumped, showing off his locks.

Our pizza feast was so tasty that we asked to take our leftovers back with us. (No use in wasting, eh?)

Listening toooo: 'Young And Beautiful' by Lana Del Rey & 'Alors On Danse' by Stormae.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Paris's Great Glass Escalator - 3

One of the most interesting places we visited was this beast of a building - Le Centre Georges Pompidou.

Escalators on the outside & art & cultural things on the inside. Before we went in, we had a little time to wander the surrounding shops (and cling to our valuables - there were loads of pickpockets)!

First up, after I had walked right into a bollard, grazed my knees & sorted out the bleeding, we ventured into a vintage shop. Having never been in one before, the racks of countless Levi's & tie-dye tops were uber exciting. 

Pretty much everyone tried things on - what do you think of my bomber jacket? Phwoar. I actually really wanted to buy it... 

Safa, a super dooper lovely person we met from the other school on the trip, got right into the French spirit & tested the beret.

The rest of the shops were all a bit too touristy for my liking, but Libby found love in one of them (teehee):

Then for the actual Pompidou. Once again I was happy to bust out my French, asking about tickets and all sorts to get our schools into the centre. And look how awesome the signs are?!

We then got to use The Great Glass Escalator, I had a very Roald Dahl childhood...

The gallery was like being in an art book, except all the famous paintings were there for real. Quite a surreal experience.

There were also some pretty cool sculptures outside, so I snapped away at Libby snapping away.

There was a lot of snapping.

We couldn't resist this photo with so much blue around.

On the balcony, we had our first proper glimpse of the Eiffel Tower on the trip, what a view.

Above - Louise & myself.

Below - Me, Chioma, Bethany, Safa & Lousie (in order). Other than Louise & I, they were all the lovely people from the other school.

It was so sunny as we sketched on the balcony, so we coudln't resist a photo.

There were loads of interesting (& also bizarre) paintings. I'd studied Otto Dix in history a couple of years back, so seeing his work was interesting. I also saw some of Picasso's & Kandinsky's work (crazy eh?).

However along these works of art there were also some very modern pieces: A box of scrap metal, a totally blue canvas & 3 white ones. Clearly they required some deep studying.

I'd like to know the meaning behind them all as I'm not totally into this side of the whole modern scene yet...

The Pompidou was a big mixture of the very modern & very famous. I liked it a lot.

And getting to every floor is a cool experience too.

Listening tooooo: 'On Top of the World' by Imagine Dragons & 'Mr Blue Sky' by the Electric Light Orchestra