I received an extremely crucial (and insightful) piece of advice from Meg not so long ago. No nonsense, eye-to-eye, I-know-what-I’m-talking-about words of wisdom: “Figure out what your priorities are for the rest of your time in Paris and DO them… the lab is not going to love you back…” Her blunt honesty stunned me into several long seconds of silence, followed acceptance of the truth and, finally, by a slow, affirmative (and still silent) nod: Yes.
Don’t get me entirely wrong, I have been working hard on (and still love) the science (especially now that the countdown is always ticking in the background) and I’m not about to toss my lab coat in a corner and never look back. However, there is a lot of Paris, and France (possibly even further afield in Europe) that I have not yet seen. Knowing that I am easily caught up by my overdeveloped sense of obligation, I need to be sure that I set aside time for me, in addition to the lengthy (always growing) list of experiments.
To that end, I am currently writing from a hotel room in Caen (one of the larger towns in Normandy) where I am taking in the sites with visiting family. For the first time in almost four years, I have taken a week off of work and stayed here. I am giving myself the time to get a bit more organized, see the sites and enjoy the time I have with my family on this side of the world. It is glorious.
As both a way to hold myself accountable and get the word out to my Paris friends, I thought I’d post my ‘to-do for FUN’ list here and keep track of things as I see them (and write about them, of course).
So, here is my dream list of places to see and photos to take before I depart in November. I would also really enjoy hearing your suggestions – food, landmarks, museums and/or views that are wholeheartedly recommended as ‘can’t miss’ when visiting the City of Light. Please, give me more ‘work’ to do!
Paris (and vicinity)
Musée Rodin (27 July 2012) Musée des Arts et Metiers (26 July 2012)
Espace Dali (this is embarrassing as it is around the corner from my house)
Jardin des Plantes/Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle
Musée Dupuytren (yes weird, possibly disturbing, but still fascinating)
Musée Carnavalet (did this past weekend-post forthcoming!)
Madeline (did this past weekend – post forthcoming!)
Opera (the building definitely, but also – if I’m lucky – a performance?)
Galeries Lafayette (for the building this time, not the shopping – I am on a post-doc salary, a French one, no less…)
Versailles (I have seen the gardens, but never the chateau)
Arc de Triomphe (29 July 2012)
Tour Eiffel (yeah, have not done this yet, shaking my head in shame)
Tour Montparnasse (top of)
Dome of Basilica Sacre Coeur
Towers of Notre Dame Cathedral
Montmartre (28 July 2012)
Normandy (23-25 July 2012)
Mont Saint Michel (24 July 2012)
Omaha beach (25 July 2012)
Yeah, so remember I did say dream list. However, please do suggest other things I may have missed. And, Paris peeps – let me know if you want to join the adventure(s)!