I’ve been so busy recently. I’m finishing up my research project here in Montpellier, both working in the lab and trying to do my statistical analysis of the results and write it into a paper. As always, I’m dealing with my supervisor being on vacation or otherwise not shouldering her share of the work. I also have to write a proposal for my next research project – in fact, I should have done so already. In between all of that, I have to make the time to both get a work permit to go to Switzerland for the summer, and to renew my French visa for the fall.
It’s tough to take a day off in the middle of the week to deal with visa issues, but that’s what I had to do: travel to Paris, a three-hour train ride, to go to the Swiss embassy. As much as it was an unaffordable pain in the butt, I had never been to Paris before, and I was so excited! Unfortunately, I also had to get up at 4:15 in the morning to walk to the train station (no trams that early!) and so for most of my time there I was a little bit of a zombie.
I’m afraid I don’t have the time to do my visit the justice of a full write-up, but suffice it to say, I now understand why people talk about Paris in mystical and mythical terms. Having only about six hours to explore, I eschewed all the museums and anything you might have to pay for and perused many of the gardens and the streets of the Latin Quarter. The embassy was just next to Invalides, so I wandered from there to the Grand Palais, through the Tuileries, around a neighborhood (with a quick stop at a fancy chocolate shop) to the Palais Royale, then across the river into the Saint Germain neighborhood, through the Luxembourg gardens, and back down the islands in the middle of the Seine. It’s amazing how nonchalant people are as they pass amazing bit of architecture after amazing bit of architecture; around every corner, it seems, is something so spectacular to people who live anywhere other than Paris.
I finished off my visit with the obligatory trip to Notre Dame, which is a true marvel. And, finally, a visit to Berthillon ice cream. I figured I should treat myself to one suggestion from David Lebovitz; he said this was the best ice cream in Paris, and I trust him on not only all things Paris but all things ice cream. The Gianduja a l’Orange was to die for. Then, it was back on the train, back to my little bed (which felt so great after such a long day) and my lab and my papers.
Without further explanation, here’s a dump of photos. It sprinkled rain off and on, so I only had my camera out about half the time – imagine all the things I didn’t photograph! Click to enlarge any photo, and then you can scroll through the gallery fuller-screen.