Last night I sat at my desk, earbuds in, studying French. Paul Noble, the author, narrator, and instructor in the audiobook said to learn it and forget it. Yet, as I studied, I remembered the words from years ago. I thought of Madame Pence with her blond ringlets, belted tunics, and long flowing skirts. She was my first French teacher. We listened to the Beatle’s play Michelle in her class.
J’ai. I have. J’ai visite. I have visited. J’ai visite le Louvre. I have visited the Louvre.
It would be a dream to be able to say that after actually visiting the Louvre.
Before becoming the largest art museum in the world, the Louvre was a fortress, built to protect Paris. It houses the Mona Lisa and I need a picture of myself next to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. I know, so touristy of me.
There’s a story behind why I want the picture:
Two Arabic gentleman used to come into Shenanigan’s, a bar I worked at when I was 18 and say to me, “You are like the Mona Lisa. You smile, but you do not smile.” At the time, my hair was long, brown, and curly. They said this all the time. Once, after they’d had returned to Rochester from being back home, they flattered me by telling me how they’d found a woman just like the Mona Lisa in Rochester. They were so sweet. One used to tell my boss at the end of the night, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” He’d say it over and over again. If I remember right, my boss’s response to it was usually a tired sigh.
Le Louvre, Le Notre Dame, et Paris
Today, as I was doing some research, I learned that the Mona Lisa has been in the Louvre since 1797. I wonder how many people have walked by it. Mona Lisa has seen a lot.
Avez-vous visite le Louvre? Have you visited the Louvre?
If you have, do tell! I’d love to hear your tips on what to see while there. For now the only advice I have is this NYT’s piece Make the Most of the Louvre.
J’ai visite Norte Dame. I have visited Notre Dame. Oui, j’ai visite Norte Dame. Yes, I have visited Notre Dame.
Again, I would love to say that I have visited and have it be a true statement. While some travel websites recommend avoiding mass times, I want to attend a mass. Since Catholic Masses are supposed to follow the same structure and wording throughout the world, I should be able to understand most of what’s going on.
Should the question Parlez-vous Francais? come up, soon I hope my answer will at least be, Oui, en peu. Avez-vous visite Paris? Have you visited Paris? If you have, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and give me your top tips.
This post is part of a series inspired by Eat Pray Love.