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Saturday, 20 September 2014

My week in Paris: Day 5, Star Wars exhibit, Saint Sulpice church, and Notre Dame cathedral

Hello! Continuing our trip around Paris, France, Juliette and I had scheduled to see the Saint Sulpice church and Notre Dame cathedral. As mentioned last time, Juliette had been promising a surprise event all week, and that event turned out to be a Star Wars exhibit!
A few months prior to our trip, Juliette had been in Paris and had enjoyed a Star Wars exhibit. Known as Star Wars: Identities, the exhibit explored the concept of identity in the Star Wars films. To my knowledge, the exhibit had closed in Paris in the middle of the summer and I didn't think we would be able to view it together.

All during our week in Paris, Juliette had been extremely secretive concerning the event. Never wanting to ruin a surprise, I did not ask too much about it, nor did I allow myself to think about it. Juliette's efforts to maintain the surprise were both adorable and perhaps a little dangerous.

First, I was not "allowed" to look up while in the Paris Metro. Advertisements for the event were posted at most metro stations so, not wanting to find out early, I kept my eyes fixed below mid-level, haha. I took the chance to view and admire Parisian footwear.

The dangerous part occurred one day as we were crossing a street on our way to the metro. Unlike in North America, at least the places I've been to (mostly Canada), pedestrians do not have the right of way, even at crosswalks. While people in Canada, and what little of the United States I have seen, will bring their car to a stop to allow pedestrians to cross, the people in France do not. If there is a streetlight, the drivers will stop, but if no streetlight is present, the rule is "Don't get in the way of the cars." I explain this because, well, it was something I learned very quickly and is surprisingly different, I'm sure, to my North American readers. 

Anyway, so, we were crossing a street, and I was on the lookout for oncoming traffic.  Juliette suddenly let out a shout, jumped, and covered my eyes. We were in the middle of the street! Fearing the worst, I got us to the other side of the street and asked her what was wrong. She told me not to look at the passing bus, because it had an ad on it I should not see. Laughing and shaking my head, I told her how worried she just made me. She apologized profusely, but I laughed it off and said I admired her efforts. It was not really a scary event, and we were never really in danger, but I thought we were for a moment, and that makes me laugh to this day.

So, after all of this, we finally made it to the front door of the event, and I was pleasantly surprised!

The exhibition began by having the guests "check in". Receiving an earpiece and a wristband, we were instructed that the exhibits would be interactive and that we would forge our own identity throughout the tour. Donning our equipment, I was happy to hear that the audio was in French and English!

The first stop requested us to pick our race. There was some supplementary information about each race, but it was unnecessary; Juliette and I both chose Wookiee!

Before moving on to the next part of the tour, we were treated with props and costumes of many familiar characters. Apologies for the blurry quality of some of these, they were behind glass.

Stormtroopers, Juliette's favourite
He is C-3PO, human-cyborg relations, Juliette hates him, and hates that I can do a fairly decent impression of him 
The other Dynamic Duo! 
My impression of R2-D2 is all the better when I rock side to side.
Some character models used for the films.

Subulba, former podracing champion in The Phantom Menace
As we continued, I realized that my knowledge of the prequel trilogy was pretty sparse. I am not a fan of the prequel trilogy and have only seen those films a few times. Still, it was interesting to learn some of the "behind-the-scenes" concerning all 6 films.

Anakin and his podracer
The fluorescent tubes are a nice touch.

Jawa! Jawa jawa jawa!
Maybe he's born with it, maybe he's a Tuscan raider!

Han Solo, frozen in carbonite

So, as I was posting this, I recalled that I have posed with/as Han Solo frozen in carbonite before. Years ago, my friends and I went to the Toronto Metro Zoo. We had our photos taken and after the cursory smiles, we were asked to take a silly photo. Simultaneously, we each said, "Han Solo in carbonite!" and posed as seen below, haha.

Apparently, we remembered the process to be far more gruesome than Han experienced
Continuing our tour...

"Yoda! You seek Yoda!"
I love Yoda so much, and while a blurry photo, it was very cool to see the Frank Oz puppet from the original movies!

Afterward, we moved on to pilots and ships!

Speaking of ships, this pun was so amazing that I purposefully stopped and took a photo:

"You've never heard of the Millenium Falcon!?"

"It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs!"
We saw Han, and the Millennium Falcon, now time for the co-pilot!

Several nearby people congratulated me on my impressive Wookiee growl

All on his own, giving the spotlight and attention he so rightly deserves, Darth Vadar!

My pictures of him do not do him justice. The lighting, music, all added up and made him appear as formidable and impressive as I've ever known the Sith Lord.

As we continued throughout the exhibit, we were asked to make choices centred around identity. How our characters were raised, what profession did we want to have, and each choice discussed the effects these choices and circumstances made on Luke and Anakin Skywalker.

It was very interesting to watch the development of those two characters and how, each faced with similar experiences, made different choices which lead them down drastically different paths.

Toward the end, we were given our final test, whether or not to accept an offer made to join the Dark Side. Juliette and I both refused the offer, and our identities were as seen below.

She being a pilot, and I being a Jedi
All in all, the exhibit was extremely fascinating and fun! We learned a lot about the Star Wars universe from a different perspective, saw a lot of props, costumes, and original pieces, and were able to explore a different side of ourselves through forging our own identity. If the exhibit opens in a city near you, I strongly suggest you go, as I think you'll have a great time!

After this, yes, there's more to this post, we went to the Saint Sulpice church. For those with a keen eye for movie locations, this church was used in The Da Vince Code.

One of the few photos of Juliette she "allowed" me to take, probably because she knew it wouldn't be the clearest photo ever

I know they're fighting, but they also look like they're dancing

Once again, apologies for the blurriness/brightness of the photos.

Avery picturesque church indeed, much more elaborate than many of the others I have seen. Afterward, we walked to Notre Dame, but before we got there, we saw this fountain.

The fountain features Michael, the Archangel, slaying a beast, with 2 gargoyles on either side. In front of the gargoyles, you may notice a golden statue. In fact, it was a person, acting as a living statue, and while he was impressive, I also found him to be a little creepy.

Finally, we had arrived at Notre Dame cathedral.

While Notre Dame was beautiful, I must admit that it suffers from a little bit of popularity hype. I had seen the Notre Dame cathedral in Montreal, Canada, and the Strasbourg cathedral also bears its name. The Paris Notre Dame cathedral is impressive, but not as much as its hype claims it to be. It is nowhere near as tall as I thought, nor as ornate. Still, it was a great way to end the tourist part of the day and I am glad to add it to this year's visits.

And that's it! Apologies to those who wanted more and better pictures of the buildings, I did the best I can, but I am clearly not a skilled photographer. Still, I hope you enjoyed the tour. Stay tuned for my next post which explores the last two days of Paris!

Thanks for stopping by!

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