Oof! Finally back in my room after a long, long morning/early afternoon of metro-ing and walking what certainly felt like miles of Parisian streets. Now that I’m relaxing with my Orangina (et sa pulpe! Exclamation point, as though I’m meant to be excited about that…I don’t even drink regular orange juice with pulp. But at this point I’m so thirsty I don’t care much.), I can recount today’s adventures.
Anyway. I need a French phone, so I walked over to Porte d’Orléans to take the number 4 métro (it’s magenta! There are so many train lines in Paris that they have to get creative about colors!) to St. Placide, where there’s an FNAC–sort of like a French Best Buy. I ended up leaving the store without a phone and still unsure about what I wanted to do–but let that pass. I then wandered around for a bit, window shopping on the fabulous Rue de Rennes. Finally, I went down into the Montparnasse Bienvenüe métro stop, where the machine decided I wasn’t cool enough to go through, even though I had a cachet of ten métro tickets that I bought yesterday.
I ended up walking a few more blocks in an unknown direction till I found another Montparnasse Bienvenüe entrance, bought two more one-ride tickets, walked about three miles underground, and then hopped on the number 6 (mint green!), got off at La Motte-Piquet-Grenelle (had to look it up just now), then switched to the 8, where I finally saw the light of day again at École Militaire, intent on finding the American Library (Bibliothèque Americaine). When I got off the train, I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of the street the library was on (Camus? Callou? Caillou?), so I bought this:
Having inherited excellent map-sense from my grandfather, I managed to make my way to the library, but not before I saw this peeping through the leafy branches and gorgeous Parisian buildings at me:
This is something I remember about Paris from last summer. You can be walking around, minding your own business, looking for something totally unrelated, when all of a sudden, there’s the Eiffel Tower, or Notre Dame. On my taxi ride back from the airport, I was looking out the window when suddenly from behind an unassuming apartment building loomed Sacre Coeur.
But I digress. The Bibilothèque Américaine was nothing like this. I was actually forced to put away my panini half-eaten because I couldn’t hold a sandwich and the map at the same time. The street I was on changed names (despite having walked on it for about twenty minutes and bought my lunch on it, I can’t remember the name, but it was called Avenue Rapp when it changed), and I had to backtrack. But finally I made it to Rue Camou (aha!), where this incredibly welcome sight awaited me:
It will surprise nobody reading this that I got a library card before I got a phone number. And checked out books, because I finished the ones I brought with me (Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome and The Artificial Silk Girl by Irmgard Keun) last night.
And then I wended my weary way back to École Militaire, where I took the number 8 (lavender!) to Strasbourg-Saint-Dénis, and from there I got on the 4, which took me all the way back to Porte d’Orléans. I took a few pictures of the surroundings here at the Cité Internationale Universitaire before my Orangina and I came upstairs.
This is the Maison Internationale, where there’s a bank, a restaurant, and various other things I haven’t discovered yet.
En face (across) from that is our RER stop–Cité Universitaire!
And à côté (next door) to the Maison Internationale is the Fondation des États-Unis, my home sweet home.
And with that, I’m going to finish up my Orangina (et sa pulpe!!) and try to practice. My room is carpeted and curtained, so I don’t have high hopes for the acoustics. But it’s cozy.
ETA: Also, on my train to Saint Placide, there was a guy playing “Sous les ciels de Paris” on an accordion. I didn’t think I could imagine anything cooler until my train home when a different accordionist played “Hava Nagila.” I gave that guy a euro.