Thursday, September 24, 2009

Les Journées du Patrimoine

Last Saturday, Jon and I decided to take part in the festivities surrounding French Heritage Days. Les Journées Europeans du Patrimoine take place one weekend each year during which many of the national buildings and places normally closed to the public open up. This means that historic mansions, laboratories, museums, and government buildings hide all their secret stuff and invite we mere plebeians in.

Our plan was to visit the Elysée Palace, which is the French equivalent of the White House. This is as close as we got- La Grille Coq.

By the time we arrived at the president’s house at noon, the line stretched down the Champs-Elysees and into the Place de la Concorde… this is a ridiculous length. A person near the head of the line told me she and her friends had already been waiting FIVE hours!! So, we grabbed a shot of the coq and left.

On to Plan B. The Moulin Rouge was participating in the festivities by offering tours of all the behind-the-scenes areas of its historic site. We were promised glimpses of costumes, dressing rooms, catwalks, the works!! But, alas, this plan too was foiled by crowds. By the time we got up to Pigalle, there were HUGE bouncers standing at the doors looking staid and grim. They said nothing (of course- they needed to look intimidating). It took a few minutes for a small lady to come out and announce that tours for the day were over. and that we should all come back tomorrow at 7 am to try again. It was 1 pm. No thanks. So, again I was forced to snap a photo of the famous windmill (not so cool looking in the daylight) and off we went.

Plan C? Luckily our third time was the charm. Abbesses was holding a little autumn festival, and since we were already in the Montmartre area, we thought we’d check it out. At the Place des Abbesses we found a brocante. The antique and random stuff sellers were scattered around the pretty square.

For me, it was SUPER fun! I dug through jars of old buttons, piles of old linens, boxes of old costume jewelry and silver tableware.

For Jon, well, let’s just say he didn’t think it was so much fun. He was a sport though, and let me do my rifling, after which we headed back to our hood.

We tried to visit an advertised wine festival over by the Ecole Militaire, but it was an almost non-existent affair, so we walked home instead. At the Champ de Mars we did stumble upon a Diversity Festival, complete with rock band, which struck us both as odd, seeing as how the French are some of the most “non-tolerant of those with disabilities” people I’ve ever met.

Perhaps they’re trying to change this, because the festival area was full of Parisians with varying mobilities and abilities. It was refreshing.

Later that evening, we managed to find a bar showing the FLA-TENN game. For the first time this season, we got all dolled up in our Gator gear and headed out to see our boys play.

It was great fun, not least because we kicked some Volunteer ass. We also drank Budweiser and ate chicken wings. It was very American of us, and I’m okay with that. Sometimes it’s nice to just be the loud, exuberant, and a bit dorky individuals we are. Maybe we added to the spirit of diversity in the air???

1 comment:

  1. Atta Girl! Show those Frenchies what the Gator Nation is all about! BTW, love the shirt and the button :-)