mardi 13 décembre 2011

Christmas Lights on the Champs-Elysées

Last Sunday evening I had the opportunity to see the Champs-Elysées all lit up for the traditional Marché Noël.  It was magical.  I'm not going to write much on this post, because I think it's best to just let the pictures do the talking in this case.

All the fountains in the surrounding area were decorated like this, with fake snow sprinkled around so it looked like a wintery fairlyland.

These brightly lit hot wine stands were all over the place, all festively decorated in a sort of Germanic style with lots of garlands and vintage style Père Noël posters.  Apparently the Marché Noël in Strasbourg is amazing, so maybe that's where the Germanic inspiration comes from...
Another common feature are roasted chestnut stands ("Marron" means chestnut and "chaud" means hot).

Some may say that this picture didn't turn out very well, but I like to think of it as an artistic portrayal of the hustle and bustle of the Champs-Elysées during Christmastime.

Do I need to explain what this is?

This was taken while literally standing in a crosswalk in the middle of the Champs-Elysées with traffic rushing past on both sides.  It was such a perfect perspective I had to get a picture.

dimanche 4 décembre 2011

Noyon Photos

I realized that if I kept waiting to have time to create an organized post with all the stories I want to eventually include I would never get the most important part (photos) posted.  So here they are, some photos from the Noyon trip which I will talk about more later!  Basically, we saw the (fairly famous) cathedral of Noyon, where Charlamagne may or may not have been crowned.  I'm not yet sure on that one.

Me, Haruka (Japan), Cathedral

Here you have the whole spectrum of emotions, starting with Amanda looking joyous and friendly and ending with me looking grim and forbidding.  I promise, I wasn't looking that way on purpose.  I guess my face just goes that way when I'm not thinking about it.

Some details of the Cathedral- by the way, those large chips you can see on the stonework aren't just from  age, they're bullet marks from WWI.

And here you can see one of my favorite aspects of French cathedrals- the gargoyles, or gargouilles as we refer to them here.   These guys are there to conduct the run off from the roof, so when it rains all the water pours out of their mouths. One thing I really want to do is go to Notre Dame de Paris when it's pouring rain, because apparently with all the gargouilles there it's quite a sight.

(P.S.  These are off Facebook, I didn't take them.  Credit goes to Amada Leibel for these.  I'll post the photos I took along with the organized post, when it happens)

100 Days

And after posting the banque alimentaire post I glanced at my countdowner widget and noticed that it said it's been 102 days since I've been in France!  So here's a little post celebrating the 100 day mark, although a bit belatedly.  It's gone so fast!

Banque Alimentaire

...Or food bank, for those of my readers who don't speak French :)

The Friday before last, I participated in a food drive with the Rotary club at a local grocery store.  We stood at the door and passed out bags to shoppers entering the store, which they would use to carry a few extra nonparishable items which they bought during the course of their normal shopping.  When they exited the store, we would be waiting with specially marked shopping carts in which they could put their contributions to the food bank.  I stood behind a shopping cart and said the phrase "Merci beaucoup, bon soir!" more times than I ever have in my life.

It was nice to do something for such a good cause, and I wanted to share my experience and a photo (below) on this blog to show that being a Rotary student isn't just about hanging out in Paris and eating lots of delicious French food, it also means contributing to your host community.  Any future exchange students who are reading this blog should know that your experience will be so much richer if you get involved with your community and always be conscious of the fact that you are a citizen of the world, and as someone living in a foreign country and town you should do something to give back to that country and town.

At the banque alimentaire, with some of the Rotarians I worked with.
...And I promise I will have the pictures up extremely soon.  Promise.