Finding Paris in Washington, DC

I've been dreaming of France lately. Specifically, I'm having stress dreams where I'm leaving for my teaching assistantship and I haven't packed or I got the wrong visa or the plane crashed. Minor details.

Anyway, I guess I'm kind of on the lookout for French things, since I like to look for symbols in my life and then pretend they appeared spontaneously, and on Monday, I ended up having a mini Parisian experience here in DC. And it didn't even involve going to L'Enfant Plaza.

It involved going here!

I had a bit of a break from my internship with the DC Grays, so me and my trusty sidekicks, my mom and my brother, went down to the National Gallery of Art. We've been to the upper floors a lot, so we decided to check out the basement level. I hadn't been back there since going to France and learning more about sculptures, so I went a little crazy when I saw all the Rodin work that was there.


I even found some smaller versions of sculptures I had seen (and posed with) at his home in Paris.

Twins! (Photo credit @ Davé)

I also got familiar with Degas again.

I knew he painted and sculpted lots of dancers, but I was not aware of his love of horses. Then I entered what my mom aptly called "the horse room."

Well, needless to say, I like Degas even more than I already did.

There are, of course, more sculptures at the National Gallery than just those made by French artists. My favorite of the day was Venus and Cupid. She actually has water dripping from her hair!!

We also went to some of the temporary exhibits. I recommend The Memory of Time, a photography exhibit. It was really cool to see how the artists used lighting, layering, and exposure to manipulate the viewer's perception of time.

 Read the description of this photo series!

If you're looking for the full French experience, you can go to the main floor and browse the works of the impressionists, or look at Da Vinci's Ginevra De' Benci and pretend she's the Mona Lisa.

She's still beautiful in her own right.

But if you're like us, being gently ordered to leave two minutes before closing time because you thought it wold be open longer, you can just go for coffee a few blocks up at Paul, close to the exit for the Archives metro station.

Paul is a chain that also has locations France, but my host mom advised me not to go there because their bread wasn't fresh. Their bread is probably fine by American standards, so we gave it a try. Plus, there were people sitting near us and waiting in line who were speaking French. If they trusted Paul, I did, too.

First of all, everything, from the food to the decor, looked amazing. Even the tap water was served in huge glasses with handles. And second of all, it tasted really, really good. I had a cappuccino, my mom had their breakfast tea, and we split a tartelette de chocolate. My brother had a croissant, which he had to defend from a few hungry sparrows but enjoyed nonetheless.

And there you have it! An accidental, although not completely accidental, France day right here in DC. If you've survived my first *real* blog post where I talk about my day and give semi-informed recommendations, congratulations. I admire you.

No comments