Wednesday, December 7, 2011

sunday in paris


couldn't be happier :)

Because I live so close, it's completely normal to simply head into Paris for a Sunday afternoon. Just for the afternoon! So that's what I did last Sunday! This trip had two objectives: visit the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (National Library of France) to see an exhibit on Casanova and find Sugarplum, an American bakery in Paris. Both missions were very successfully accomplished!

I hopped on the train into Paris in the afternoon and made my way to the Bibliothèque Nationale to meet Faustyna, who was already in the city. I had never ventured out to the Bibliothèque before, and I wasn't quite expecting what I found! Basically, it is the hugest library I have ever seen.

1 of the library's 4 towers filled with books

The Bibliothèque Nationale was founded centuries ago, but the current building was finished in 1996, and is home to over 10 million documents.

Not only does the library boast four huge high-rise towers that take up a whole Parisian city block, but in the middle of it all (or I should say underneath it all...) there is a whole forest surrounded by a number of subterranean levels with huge museum-like exhibition halls, study rooms, bookstores, and more book collections. Frankly, I was stunned. Even though the library has essentially the same design concept as the Undergrad Library at U of I (underground), and therefore isn't particularly novel to me, the sheer grandeur of the place is too impressive!

the underground forest at the library

We managed to find the exhibition on Casanova that we were there for, but I could have spent all day simply walking the halls of this enormous institution! The exhibit was really interesting; Casanova's personal manuscripts were recently acquired by the Bibliothèque and so they are hosting a huge exhibit dedicated to his life. It was really interesting learning more about this mythic figure, seeing his own personal, hand-written autobiography, and discovering more about French and Italian history.

Our next stop was Sugarplum. I had heard about this American bakery on different blogs, and every American expat living in Paris raves about this bakery/coffee shop that makes authentic treats, just like home! Sugarplum is owned by three Anglophones (two Americans and a Canadian) who bake cakes, cupcakes, rice krispie treats, cookies, cheesecake, brownies, pies--you name it--just like in America. French pastries and cafés are, of course, incredible, but there is something so nostalgic about baked goods like I am so used to. We treated ourselves to a little dessert for dinner...double chocolate cake and blueberry-lemon cake with ice cold milk and hot chocolate! I was so content :)

our treats--so so so delicious!

After our sweet treats, we headed back to the train station to catch our train back to Evreux. We got to walk through most of the city and see plenty of Christmas decorations! Paris knows how to celebrate the holidays. All the shops are decked out, especially the famous department stores. Les Galeries Lafayette, for example, is covered in lighted, Moroccan-inspired designs that are constantly glowing. It's so magical to walk around Paris at Christmas!

galeries lafayette, deptartment store, lit up
pax christi.

No comments:

Post a Comment