Paris 2 - Day 33
Paris Travel Blog› entry 20 of 30 › view all entries
Monday, august 25, we ate breakfast with Nicole. We walked to a post office to send some things home, then metroed back to the Louvre. This time we had plenty of time to explore what really is an incredible museum. We walked around an enormous atrium-like room full of ancient statues, then walked around one of the painting areas. There are some huge oil paintings in this part, some as big as the huge walls. Then we saw the famous Mona Lisa, where we had to crane our necks around a giant crowd of people to see a rather small painting. Not sure what the big deal is, to be honest. But fun to see nevertheless. Some more exploring, but eventually you become so numb to such an extravagent and crowded place, so we decided we had had enough.
On our way to Notre Dame, we came across some booths set up next to the Seine river where art was sold. Beautiful paintings by real starving artists were for sale, and for surprisingly cheap. As an example, fairly large oil paintings could be had for €30-40, which would be something like $45-60. We perused for quite some time, and were tempted by several pieces. Showing some real restraint we only bought one, which was actually relatively expensive at €110, but still a complete robbery if you ask me!
Next stop was the Ile-de-Paris, the small island in the seine river that is the historical center of original Paris. Here is the cathedral Notre Dame; another impressive sight to behold. On the inside when we walked in, there was an actual service taking place, but was open to the public. We sat and watched awhile, then continued walking around to see this incredible cathedral. Returning to the outside, we admired the ornate carved front facade, the flying butresses, and of course the gargoyles hanging out on the towers. We next wandered around the small island, and eventually had dinner at a fancy french guide-book suggested restaurant. Very good food. Afterwards to home, and to bed.
Next day we went to Montmartre, the hilltop area that is the historical artists' neighborhood. The guide book lent to us by Nicole had a walking-tour section that included this area, so we followed that. We saw Sacre-Couer, the large dome cathedral, and also several ex-apartments of famous artists like Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Erik Satie. We had lunch at a little side-walk cafe in this area, then we headed to Parc Monceau. Here was another of the guide book's suggested walking tours, so we explored this beautiful place of nature and peace (although it too was crowded) within the urban craziness of Paris. The tour then brought us from a park entrance to another section of Paris that is laced with fun facts and interesting buildings, finally leaving us at another impressive cathedral (can't remember the name). Here also is a famous copper statue of Joan d'Arc, atsride a horse and brandishing a sword.
Near to this area is the Hotel des Invalides, Napoleon's burial spot and military museum. As night had fallen, it was closed to visitors, but we walked around the outside and admired the beautiful Dome Church all lit up at night. After having a quick beer at a side-walk cafe, we next went to the Eiffel Tower. This structure of course requires no description, other than it is SO much bigger in person and up close. It is massive. After a quick deliberation as to whether we really wanted to climb the 700-some stairs to the second tier (we were getting tired!), bravery won over wisdom and we began the journey upward. Resting a moment at the first level, we continued on to the second. Here was a stunning view of Paris all around, which was lit up at night. Taking the requisite pictures, we began the dogged trek back down. Upon reaching the bottom, we decided we had had enough. It was already after midnight, after all. Pausing for a quick crepe at a street vendor, we climbed aboard the metro and went home. Sleep came quickly this night.