The Straight-Backed Tourists of Notre Dame

There’s no hunchback outside Notre Dame.  This may be starting, but it’s true.  I’m slightly disappointed and also see a business venture for a street performer who wants to take pictures with Disney-enchanted tourists. I walk past Notre Dame practically everyday, which is startling.  Notre Dame!  I’ve learned about you in AP Art History, seen you in movies, but here you are, just there, just this building I need to pass in order to get where I’m going (which may or may not be Starbucks).  Massive cultural landmarks are always startling.  And on a beautiful, breezy Friday in Paris, casually walking by one is absolutely perfect.

Friday morning, I headed out with a friend to find the Museum of Jewish Art and History.  (Be proud parents, I decided to do something Jewish all on my own!)  Similar to the hipster canal, it’s nice to see evidence of your own kind in a foreign place.

We stopped on the way at a salad bar, like nice Jewish girls do.  However, this was unlike any salad bar I’ve been to before.  Romaine, iceberg, and pasta sat on the shelf as starters.  Pasta.  Yes, PASTA.  Oui, the French are known for many things, but pasta is not one of them, and I’ve begun to experience serious withdrawal.  Parisian salad bar, I love you so.

After a hearty meal of pasta and salad dressing (no way was I compromising this experience with vegetables), we headed out to the Marais.  The Jewish Museum is located inside of an old mansion, and features similar exhibits to the Jewish Museum in New York such as old ritual objects, religious items, and Jewish-inspired artworks.  It was nice to be in a place that felt familiar, where I understood the cultural references and recognized what I was seeing.  The audio tour was a bit much, but overall, the museum was worthwhile to visit.

Photography is forbidden, but I was lucky enough to snap this shot of old circumcision tools….

The medieval Sukkah, a hut built for a festival in the fall, was by far the coolest part of the museum.

After our cultural duties were fulfilled, my friend and I split ways so I could go thrift shopping and she could seek out pastries.  Many of the stores I found too overwhelming or pricey, but on my way out of the Marais, I stumbled upon a shop selling boxes of clothing for 1 euro!  Three stylish-ugly polyester button ups later, and I was set for Parisian hipster style.

I headed back to Reid Hall for my class’s salon: a weekly event with wine and cheese that allows the students in my workshop to share their work.  It’s like, so avant-garde.  I read my first blog post aloud and laughter ensued.  Yes, I am funny to some people!

Salon ended and we headed to W.O.S. or Wide Open Spaces, a nearby bar that broadcasts the Euro Cup, or more importantly, attracts Parisian students.  The bar is named after a Dixie Chicks song, so, it was hard to resist.  Plus, pints of cider.  The bartender was impressed that I automatically recognized his accent as Scottish, but I only have Lip Service to thank for that… Trashy TV is raising my cultural awareness, happy hour to happy hour!