November 5, 2014

Act 3: The Palais Finale


Bonjour, L'Opéra Garnier!
The majority of our week was spent walking around the 8th arrondissement (district) of Paris. My wanders took me around new corners, under beautiful fall leaves, and up to sweeping rooftop views.

Church of Saint Augustin with its unique red crown.
Favorite cat and window combination.
The 8th is full of the "grand boulevards" of Paris that Baron Haussmann implemented into the city layout in the 1850s and 1860s. If you have ever wondered why Paris is so incredibly beautiful, it's because the apartment buildings are gorgeous (in contrast to the 1960s-style apartment buildings in Rome, for example). And the apartment buildings are gorgeous because of Baron Haussmann.

I needed to go to the brown café on the right.
"Café ~ Thé ~ Chocolat" was too hard to resist!
Aunt Daphne, Marc, and I met up for lunch on Rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissement. It's a bit tucked away on the metro line 7 from the main tourist attractions, but if you want a street with great Parisian everythings...Rue Mouffetard is the one!

Chocolat viennois at its finest.
Marc cut us loose to go see the Picasso museum, but when we got there, it was still closed for renovations - until Thursday! That's the second time this year I've missed a museum by days (Musée Maillot was the other one during my first weekend back). Now I'm going to be super paranoid and check, double-check, and triple-check that these places are open! 

This is my chic Aunt Daphne.
Best thing about the closed Picasso museum? It is right around the corner from my classic go-to, Musée Carnavalet! I was so thankful to spend a lot more time with my Aunt Daphne in my favorite museum, but especially in her favorite world of art.

After we exhausted every room and hallway of the Carnavalet, we started the trek back to our hotel via a few shopping stops to get ready for our night at the ballet!

I could do this...everyday.
Thanks for the perfect dress, Daphne!
It was another perfect setup when my coach decided we would practice Monday, but not Tuesday, like we normally do. 

Mike and Daphne invited us to [enjoy the premier of the ballet Rain at] the Palais Garnier

The bracketed information was mostly irrelevant. Any chance at going into the opera house was a no-brainer.

Daphne and Mike looking stunning (and small)!
Marc and I have really learned to appreciate the athleticism of dance because of the show "So You Think You Can Dance." I started watching it during my college vacation days (dorms were closed!) when I would stay with my volleyball coach, Kristine. She would play back every dance for however many dancers were in the routine so she could just watch one each time. It was a really intense way to learn about dance, but I've watched nearly every episode since, so it clearly left an impression!

Rain was a contemporary piece with ten dancers and an enormous backdrop curtain of cords. The performers sprinted, leaned, jumped, twirled...maybe every verb you could imagine molecules of rain creating? The costume colors went from shades of light pinks to bright fuschias to neutral tans. 

There wasn't really a storyline; a story wasn't necessary. This choreography centered on the beauty of movement, and how that related to the magic of rain. 

We can learn a lot from this kind of choreography; we don't always have to create incredible adventures in order to make great memories. The adventures can even come to us on their own, like Mike and Daphne did during their Europe trip. 

We will do well to remember that the rhythm and cadence of everyday life can be just as beautiful (if not more) as the spectacular high and low points.

"Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don't need to escape from." - Seth Godin

My "vacations" don't really fall into the "escape" category, but I think this quote I came across on Twitter can really hit home for a lot of people.

This European life is that life we don't ever need/want to escape from (or leave, for that matter).

But you're more than welcome to join us on any leg of the journey.

We would like to extend a special thank you to Uncle Mike and Aunt Daphne for loving Paris with us!!!

The Complete Mike & Daphne Series:
Act 1: Paris Sets the Stage
Act 2: Symphony and Sport