It's official. I have literally walked my arse off. My legs are now connected directly to my back.
European Centre for Photography. An inspiring exhibition that I had to drag myself away from as I had been invited to lunch with friends of friends of a friend. Soon forget all about exhibition, thanks to lovely conversation, a plate of duck, a great glass of red and an invite to a private tour of Versailles tomorrow afternoon. Back to photography exhibition. Buy baguette and eggs on the way home. Omelette for dinner followed by a very disturbing film about a guy who gets his hand caught under a rock in some canyon and has to saw off his own arm with a blunt pocket knife to save himself from certain death caused by dehydration and probably a bit of shock I would imagine. Bad dreams about small homeless puppies and being in unbearable pain.
Coffee, baguette and then hit the streets in intolerably cold, semi darkness. This is my great plan to avoid getting caught in the queue at the much anticipated Pompidou. Stand in intolerably cold and long queue at Pompidou for 45 minutes. Stand in front of a Picasso. Stand in front of a Dali. Stand in front of a pair of trousers pegged to a little clothes line with ivy growing out of the pockets and then this,
'...the work seems to contain a latent violence, yet a violence transfigured by the beauty of the materials.' I am done here.
I have left just enough time to reach the Versailles connection. Unfortunately, I don't factor in the time it takes to get me out of this industrial maze of a building. Every direction I take sends me back up the same escalators I just got off. Around and around I go, playing the clueless tourist, shamelessly. There is much exasperation expressed through eye rolling, audible sighs and eventually a loud WTF. I squash my face up hard against the massive wall of glass. I can see the chalk artist on the street below where I need to be, I can smell the pastries, I just...can't...get...out...
Versailles. It is absolutely no wonder that the people living in poverty around this outrageously opulent residence rose up and trashed the place. A most extraordinary display of the most extraordinary wealth. Also, a most extraordinary preservation of history.
I stood in Marie Antoinette's bedroom, trying hard to grasp that all of the furniture here was original, I was struck speechless by MA's own private theatre, complete with balcony seating.
My new friends, Marie and Emmanuelle, tell me that MA loved the theatre and often popped herself in a play or two. She also loved old farms so she had one built just across the pond from her residence. None of the quaint little houses on this farm ever served a purpose though, they are all empty. The stairs were purposely knocked down to give the farm that worn, romantic feel and the sheep that she had brought in were combed every morning by her sheep people, who also used to tie ribbons in their wool and around their ears.
It is truly gruesome that they cut off her head but I just don't think you can behave like that and not expect some sort of reaction.
I walked with Marie and Emmanuelle for hours about the massive manicured gardens and through the marble clad, gold guilt buildings. Their commentary was by far the best audio tour in Paris, and I should know, I've heard most of them.
On the way back to Paris, we talked about some of the gruesome acts committed during the Revolution, the French version of superannuation, contemporary art, what is it?, why people in Paris don't eat and walk at the same time and some of the gruesome acts committed by the early pearlers of Broome.
We stop in at Anne's apartment, an old friend of Marie's and a new friend for me. We drink champagne and eat sausage. Then when I think I cannot feel anymore saturated in French-ness for the day, I am whipped off to a little cafe and fed snails.
Just for the record, they do not taste like chicken. I was told they are farmed especially for eating, however I absolutely stand by my assertion at the time, they do taste a little bit like a garden.
Oh! And did I mention that the waiter asked for my number? No?... The waiter asked for my number.
When I eventually curl up under my 5kg doona, I decide that this has been my favourite Paris day so far. I dream about the exciting adventure I have planned for tomorrow, the last day.