Busy day! Where to start!
This morning Henry and I ventured out and were FREEZING. It’s very cold here. Beautiful, but blisteringly cold. I dragged Henry (and by dragged I mean that I pestered him to show me) to the Bastille monument so we could take a photo. We both are pained and nearly numb but I thought it would be nice to have a photo next to the namesake of where we met.
Tonight was the night of our hipster date night and I was having a hard time. Henry and I have been around each other non-stop for months. Traveling together is but also IS NOT romantic. I was feeling gross, a little sick, and wearing the same pair of pants and baggy gray shirts every day left me feeling dumpy, unfeminine and generally unattractive. I, unlike Henry, was having no luck finding something nice to wear for our date and the prospect of another twenty days wearing the exact same thing feeling the exact same way was making me feel weary and downtrodden.
But I found a dress! It’s black (of course) but felt French and romantic and certainly feminine.
We then wandered off to the Louvre and took photos of the scenery and incredibly romantic sky. Wandering through the statue garden and taking in the view heightened both of our moods and as the sun was starting to set, we got tickets for the Musée de l’Orangerie to see the huge canvases of Monet’s water lilies.
I took a few photos before sitting down on the bench in the center of the room to take it all in. They’re massive, vibrant, full of movement and feeling and Henry and I were entranced.
Except I soon got distracted. Every single person who came through had out their cell phone or their camera and was either taking selfies next to the paintings or only seeing the masterpieces quickly through a screen before moving on to photograph the next thing.
It left a bad taste in my mouth.
What was the point? Why pay money to come see these paintings just to take a selfie next to them and leave? What good is taking a picture of it and simply moving on when it’s easier (and much cheaper) to just look at photos online? Why do we have to prove that we experienced something, anything, online, always? I felt sick about the trip pictures I had put on Facebook and thought very seriously about taking them all down (I’m actually still considering it. The only thing stopping me is that, as the photographer of the trip, I am providing Henry’s family a chance to see what he’s up to in Europe). I regretted taking any photos in the museum. I wanted to take the phones of the people taking selfies and throw them out. What’s the point of proving you saw the painting if you never even took five minutes to experience them?
I’m having a crisis about it.
After almost an hour of taking in 8 paintings, Henry and I wandered back to Chinatown to get ready for our date. There’s nothing quite like clean hair and a skirt to make me feel human again.
We took an obligatory elevator mirror selfie (crisis…crisis…crisis…) before making our way to le Bistro d’Henri for an incredible meal; thank you for the recommendation, Tia! The front of the restaurant was packed and we were led to the back which seemed to be the “non-French” portion where they stuck tourists together. We didn’t mind too much as the food was incredible. We shared some pesto peppers and had some wine before Henry’s duck and my spinach ravioli arrived. We ate every last bite and ordered two deserts—I’ve warned Henry and our future does not include shared crème brûlèe.
Exhausted, stuffed and very content, we opted against any post-dinner wanderings as it was far too cold. Turns out dates are still important, even (and maybe especially) if you see each other every day.