As required for his graduate school applications, Steve wrote the GRE this past Saturday. After studying obsessively for over a month and filling every inch of scrap paper with equations, it came time to book the test at one of the official testing centres. Paris or Geneva. Geneva would have been great, but Paris was cheaper, and then I could also go :)
We stayed with Steve's cousins, who were extremely hospitable. Little James is such a cutie.
As Steve wrote his exam on the saturday, I got the chance to wander and explore the city. I didn't take a lot of pictures, I actually walked many many streets without much of interest, and eventually just got too tired to carry the camera anymore and brought it back home. (it's not much of a shopping companion anyway)
The Galleries Lafayette are a chain of department stores in France, the best department stores. Think Dior, Chanel, D&G.... The one in Paris is of course the biggest, and was fully decked out for Christmas. The building itself used to be an opera hall and is stunningly beautiful.
After exhausting myself by walking 7+ hours in the city, we had a great Indian food and fun conversation with everyone at the house. Fell asleep quite easily.
On Sunday we headed to get the essential Eiffel tower shot. We wandered a few markets, had a picnic in a park with our findings, then wandered some more and found some flea markets. The environment of the flea market is a bit different here - of course there are the booths of random junk, unfashionable clothes and old VHS tapes. But, maybe the French value things more, because the prices are high, and things I would normally collect at flea markets (vintage enamel flower brooches) are strictly reserved for antique sellers and cost well over 20 times what I pay at home. We each found a treasure though - Steve a vintage Chinese propaganda poster, and me, a fashion magazine from April 1912. We lost track of time and wore ourselves out before even beginning the walk to the tower.
We stumbled across a Starbucks and rested for a while. This was a treat for Steve. There are no Starbucks in the South of France and he was happy to have his 'usual.' Something extra exciting about Starbucks when it has this view out the window.
Finally we hiked the rest of the way to the tower. It's a long walk. It was cold. We sort of just wanted to get the picture and then leave. ha ha. Snapped a few and grabbed the metro home. End scene.
Overall a nice weekend. Cannes feels really warm in comparison. And we can visit again soon! We'll be staying at the same apartment for Christmas, while the cousins visit N. America. Brilliant!