“Yes, death. Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace. You can help me. You can open for me the portals of death's house, for love is always with you, and love is stronger than death is"
- Oscar Wilde, whose words speak to me in a way few can.
6 April 2018
My inner childhood princess was in heaven. Walking through the theme park, the energy is vibrant—it feels like the happiest place in the world. Whilst it is not somewhere I would go back to (unless I have children), it gave me the chance to embrace being a child, and allowed me to feel the freedom and innocence of being a child once more.
'Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.'
- Walt Disney
4 April 2018
When walking the streets of Paris, it is easy to forget the graveyard that was built under the city. The Catacombs of Paris were not as eerie as I had imagined; the fascination grew with each step, as you realise what each bone symbolises. Along the walls, in neat rows, are femurs (thigh bones) and skulls—from people who died during Medieval Europe. Being able to witness how many people were taken during the Black Death was humbling—thankful that modern medicine means this is something I will not see again in my lifetime. Whilst there were a few rude tourists (who surprisingly appear to be British, not American) that can put a damper on the experience, it is definitely a place where you are reminded of the extensive interesting history of France.
'Is she smiling?'
Simply, the Louvre was incredible. The entrance through the glass pyramid into the foyer was magnificent. Walking through the Louvre, you journey through the history of human kind. With a significant number of artefacts from ancient times - including a mummified body - you get lost in your imagination, dreaming of the lives these people led. Other famous work included, of course, the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Hermaphrodite. Despite there being a number of tourists (the kind who go to concerts just to film it on their cell phones), I could have easily spent a day there and still not had enough time. Yet, this time would not just be spent looking at each piece in the museum, but also the architecture of the Louvre. Built in medieval times as a fortress to protect the city of Paris, the building itself is an important part of French history.
'Learning never exhausts the mind' - Leonardo Da Vinci
Admittedly, I had never heard of the Luxembourg Gardens prior to reading 'A Moveable Feast' by Ernest Hemingway (a memoir of Hemingway's time in Paris as a struggling author). The way in which he writes about the inspiration he drew from the Gardens guaranteed that I would be making a visit. Whilst Paris has just come out of winter, and the trees were bare, there was still something so inspirational about the Gardens. The tranquility, the calmness, the peace--the qualities of the Garden that make it an ideal place to write. Walking through the Gardens, there were people playing tennis on the courts, hanging out with their friends and watching, or spending time with their loved ones whilst watching the water feature in the middle. The surrounding views of France truly allow you to feel as if you are in a special place of the city-- a place sacred to the tranquility required to achieve the inspiration Hemingway writes about.
3 April 2018
When you study the French Revolution, the Bastille becomes significant. Even though it was not even close to what we expected, it was still breathtaking. Thinking back to 1789 - only 13 years after Australia was discovered by Cook - you truly remember the history that defines Paris. Throughout the city, the three words that the French Repbulic is based on--liberty, equality, fraternity (although in France, they use the French spelling off the words). With our desire to be in Paris stemming from our love of studying the French Revolution, we were finally able to see how it's significance of France. Remembering back to my Year 12 days where Mr a Roberts first introduced me to the philosophies of Voltaire and Rousseau, it was astounding to stand in front of their tombs buried below the Párthenon. Their philosophies are still read and studied today.
'Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains'
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Whilst walking from Luxembourg Gardens to the Parthenon, we decided to visit the campus. We didn't speak--too scared that someone would notice we were imposters. Needless to say, we were very surprised when we were offered free cans of organic Red Bull--in French. Thankfully, they just laughed and one girl translated for us. Review: organic cola Red Bull tastes like cheap 99c cola. Drinkable, but not by choice.
Our first glimpse at the Eiffel Tower confirmed we were in Paris. Yet, it's not the most breathtaking part of Paris thus far. The Parthenon--built to honour Saint Genevieve (the patron saint of Paris)--contains countless artwork commemorating the French Revolution and other influential people from France.