Friday, July 5

After class I visit Musée Rodin, then spend another nice evening in Jardin du Luxembourg.

Good morning. I've got so many locations pinned with little markers on my Paris map app that I can hardly see the map anymore underneath all the pins. Really need to clean out those pins. Hope everyone had a great 4th. Mine was unusual, but I was thinking of home.

We had to do a group exercise in class yesterday. I was in a group of three. One of the questions was whether anyone in our group had ever kissed a French person. The verb is "embrasser". I had to ask for a clarification on the question of whether or not "faire la bise" counts. It doesn't - only full lip on lip action was valid. Turns out that none of us in my group had ever kissed a French person, so our answer was "no". Amusing. I guess close only counts in horseshoes. I almost qualified, but not quite.

The French very much communicate with gestures, not just words. When I asked my faire la bise question, the prof puckered up her lips and mimed a kiss and said that was a "kiss". Then she puckered up her lips and bobbed her head back and forth as in a "bise" and said that was not a "kiss". Charming.

Interesting class today. We spent the entire two hours analyzing just a single page of text from literature, « Mondo », Mondo et autres histoires, by Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, published in 1978. There were many words that were new to the students. The teacher explained each one in detail and branched off into a discussion of related words and categories of words. It's an interesting way to teach/learn that I've never experienced in my other classes. Our homework for the weekend is to reread the passage several times, out loud to practice pronunciation, and to learn the new vocabulary.

It's almost 1 pm today. Class and lab are over and there aren't any lectures on Friday, so my weekend has already started. I've got homework, but plenty of time to do other things too. I wonder what I'll do? I think I'll go over to Musée Rodin and actually go inside this time.

Had "un café" at "Le Descartes" on the corner (just across from Rollin's Pub on rue Thouin) on my way home from Musée Rodin as a little afternoon pick-me-up. Came home and fell sound asleep. Just woke up. If one of those concentrated little espresso-bombs won't keep you awake, I don't think anything will.

After getting off the bus from class to lab, joined another student who walked instead of taking the bus. We had left and arrived at the same time. Interesting. On nice days walking all the way down Boul St-Germain would not be bad. It's not like it's the world's ugliest street or anything.

Was very proud to know the answer to questions from the teacher about the French educational system this morning. The names of the schools kids go to at various ages:

3-6 years old: école maternelle
6-11: école primaire
11-15: college
15-18: lycée
after 18: université, or a grande école (exclusive)

Just updated FB status to "Lives in Paris, France". That was fun.

Spent another nice evening in Jardin du Luxembourg with wine and cheese, then a random stroll around the neighborhood. The Sauternes is all gone. In fact, all the wine is gone. I'll have to fix that problem tomorrow. Still some cheese left though, a little bit of roquefort and a little bit of the comté.

I love the public art and gardens of Paris the most, I think, plus the architecture, of course. There's new beauty around every corner, often amazing things in totally unexpected places.

A statue in the sculpture garden of Musée Rodin.

Flowers in the sculpture garden of Musée Rodin, with the museum building in the background.

The Thinker (Le Penseur), in Musée Rodin.

A pretty sculpture of George Sand in a corner of Jardin du Luxembourg. There's art just sitting around like this everywhere you turn in Paris. This one's not particularly famous or special or a big deal in the Jardin, as far as I know. It's just one of hundreds scattered throughout the park for people to enjoy.

More flowers. The Jardin is filled with hundreds of beds like this. Well, not like this. They're all different. And the flowers are starting to look much better now that we're finally getting some sun and warmth here.

This small bronze headstone medallion is mounted in a pillar with that sign at the base. It's a sculpture of Stendahl, by Rodin. Out in the open in a park. Not in a museum. No guards. Not prominently displayed as a central feature of the park, just lost off in a corner with lots of other statues and flower beds and gravel paths.

Perhaps I'm suffering from Stendahl's syndrome. From Wikipedia:

Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal's syndrome, hyperkulturemia, or Florence 
syndrome is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, 
dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an 
individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly 
beautiful or a large amount of art is in a single place. The term 
can also be used to describe a similar reaction to a surfeit of 
choice in other circumstances, e.g. when confronted with immense 
beauty in the natural world.

An advertising poster on the fence outside Jardin du Luxembourg. It's a 1922 picture of the Tour de France bicycle race. Even the ads here are (sometimes) pretty! Sorry about the reflections, it was unavoidable.

Part of the facade of the Sorbonne, and it's dome, lit by the setting sun shining through Place de la Sorbonne.

I know it's just a building. But the university has been a part of Paris since 1250. The list of the great people of intellectual history who studied and taught here is endless. That's pretty romantic. The building as it is today is more a symbol of that (for me) than anything else. Plus being a damned attractive building!