Arrived in Paris at around , I managed to get some sleep on the night train. We purchased the 4 day metro pass, which grants you unlimited travel for 4 days and discounts on entrance fees.Dropped off our things and freshened up before heading over to the Lourve. The first Sunday of every month, most of the museums are free to the public. The Lourve is HUGE, there are 3 wings full of so much art. Picked up a map and audio guide and headed straight for the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa was surrounded with people, everyone was taking pictures of it and it was insane. I thought you weren't allowed to take pictures inside the Lourve, but everyone was taking pictures of practically everything. The ironic thing is that when we were in Berlin we saw the replica of the Code of Hammurabi and you weren't allowed to take pictures of it, but you could take pictures of the original one at the Lourve.
Psyche and Cupid
The Mona Lisa was a lot smaller than I expected.After staring at it and taking a few pictures of my own, I wandered around looking for other famous pieces.There really is a lot of see; I was getting a bit overwhelmed with everything.I tried to focus on the items highlighted on the map.I managed to find the other 2 unfinished sculptures by Michelangelo, which were a lot more detailed than the 2 at the Uffizi.My favorite piece would have to be the sculpture of Psyche and Cupid.It captures the moment Cupid brings Psyche back to life with a kiss after she opened a vessel that was too powerful for her to see.Cupid’s wings and Psyche’s arms are placed in a way that forms an X, it’s a very lovely piece.I spent the entire day at the Lourve and tried to see as much as my brain would allow me to absorb.I totally forgot to look for the inverted Pyramid, next time.
The next day, I decided to do the free walking tour offered by the New Sandeman group.
Our tour began in front of the fountain at the Place St. Michel.We crossed the SeineRiver for a great view of the Notre Dame, which was made famous by the book called the Hunchback of Notre Dame.Then we walked along the SeineRiver where our guide Alex gave us a history lesson on Paris.We walked across the PontNeufBridge toward the Lourve.
Alex pointed out that the bridge was used in one of the scenes in Sex and the City, when Mr. Big goes to Paris to win back Carrie.Alex was full of movie references; it made the tour more fun.At the Lourve, we learned that the pyramids were designed by a Chinese American and the smaller pyramids were later added because there was excess material.We then proceeded to the RoyalPalace and Opera House before stopping for some lunch.After lunch we walked through the Tailerie’s Garden and toward the Obelisk and Arc di Triomphe.On the way, Alex pointed out the fountain that was pictured in the Devil Wears Prada where Anne Hatheway tosses her cell phone.There was a great view of the EiffelTower from here and we learned that it was built for the World Fair as a welcoming to all.
It was suppose to be taken down, but the architect convinced them that the tower could also be used as a radio tower.This was the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower since arriving in Paris and it was absolutely wonderful, I couldn’t wait to go up to the top.Our tour ended at the steps of the Grand Palais.After the tour I decided to check out the Arc di Triomphe and go up to the top.In order to get to the Arc, you need to go through the underground tunnel that takes you to the roundabout center.Located under the Arc is the eternal flame that burns for the Unknown Soldier.I climbed up to the top for a great view of Paris, its worth checking out.It was really cool to see all the streets connected to the Arc roundabout, I think if you watch long enough you’re bound to see an accident.There was also a great view of the EiffelTower, I wanted to stay to watch the sunset, but I also wanted to go on the Montemartre Tour.
Hopped on the metro and headed to the Moulin Rouge, which was the meeting point for the tour.The tour guide from this afternoon was also leading this tour.This area was once inhabited by Van Gough, Picasso, and several other artists.We start the tour by walking up the street to Café des Deuz Moulins, which was the café used in the movie Amelie.Then we visited the former apartment of Van Gough and his brother.Then we walked past the last surviving windmill in Paris, Le Moulin Galette.On our way up the hill, Alex pointed out some space invaders on the side of a building.Apparently there’s this guy that calls himself the invader and he goes around to several cities and glues these tiles onto buildings.It was fun trying to spot them along our tour route; we managed to find a few of them.Next we stopped at the La Maison Rose, which use to be Van Gough’s favorite restaurant.We finally make it to the top of the hill, which was where the Sacre Coeur is located.There were a bunch of creepy guys hanging around the steps and drinking wine, I would not suggest going there at night by yourself.
Arc di Triomphe
We made our way back down the hill, passing the artist’s square and Picasso’s old studio.We also passed by the little market stand that was used in Amelie.We ended our tour at the bottom entrance of the Sacre Coeur, overall the tour was very informative and fun.I probably wouldn’t have been able to see this part of Paris at night by myself, I’m glad I took the tour.I met some girls who were staying at the same hostel and walked back with them, safety in numbers.
Today I made a trip to Versailles to check out the famous palace.I purchased my ticket at the tourist office in order to jump the queue, totally worth it.Picked up my audio guide and proceeded to the royal apartments.
View from the Arc
I walked through magnificently decorated rooms filled with portraits and various pieces of artwork. For some reason, they decided to display the modern pieces of Jeff Koons in all of the rooms.I personally didn’t think they fit in with the rooms surroundings, it was kind of weird.One of the pieces was a giant pink balloon dog in the middle of this grand room.There was even a sculpture of Michael Jackson and his pet monkey Bubbles, really weird.The Hall of Mirrors was really cool; the mirrors were placed opposite the windows overlooking the amazing garden.It lite up the entire room and made it seem bigger than it really was.After finishing up with the royal apartments, I made my way to the huge garden.The garden was full of fountains, statues, and this huge lake. I grabbed some lunch and sat by the lake to do some people watching.After lunch, I walked over to the Grand Trianon to check out the former apartments of Marie Antoinette.It was a smaller version of the palace; I believe it was used mainly in the summer.
View from the Arc di Triomphe
I wander through the rest of the garden and stopped at various fountains and statues highlighted on the map.A lot of the statues were covered up and some areas were closed off, probably due to cleaning.I wandered around the garden until sunset and headed back toward Paris. The plan was to see the major monuments at night, first stopping at the EiffelTower.The EiffelTower was amazing, I loved it.The tower was lite up blue and had a circle of yellow stars on the front; representing the European Union flag.
Every hour there’s a cool light show and the entire tower glitters, it’s really pretty.I decided to take the elevator instead of climbing up the stairs; I did so much walking already.I got onto the elevator that takes you up diagonally to the second level.The view up there was freaking awesome, now I know why they call it the city of lights.You could see everything up there, the Arc di Triomphe, Notre Dame, and the lovely Seine.I checked out each side of the tower before taking the elevator to the top level.It was a lot higher than I expected, it just kept going up higher and higher.The view was even better on the top, but it was super windy and cold.It was so windy that I had a hard time walking on one side; I stayed on the less windy side.I think I was up on the tower for about 3 hours (I saw the light show 3 times), I could have stayed up there longer but I was getting hungry and it was cold.Next I stopped by the Arc di Triomphe and the Lourve to get some pictures at night.
Both sites were pretty empty, it was the perfect opportunity to take some action shots in front of the Lourve.It was magic at night, definitely worth checking out.
Today was the day that America got a new President.I watched CNN during breakfast and found out the results, I also saw several newspapers and magazines with Obama on the cover.My last day in Paris, I tried to see as much as I could starting with the Notre Dame.The cathedral was cool, but it honestly didn’t amaze me.There were a lot of interesting decorations along the cathedral walls and the gargoyles all along the edges.I wanted to go up to the top to get a better look at the gargoyles, but it was too cold.
Cafe in Amelie
Next I went to Saint Chappalle which was really cool.It was like being inside a giant Kaleidoscope; it probably would have looked even crazier on a sunny day.The stain glass was amazing, it covered every single wall.Then I headed over to the RodinMuseum, I really wanted to see the Thinker.I enjoyed the museum because it was nice and small, I wasn’t overwhelmed.With the last few hours of the day, I went back to the EiffelTower to see how it looked during the day.Headed back to the hostel to get my things and then to the train station to catch the night train to Madrid.
Paris was awesome; there are still a lot of things that I want to see.I most definitely need to go back to Paris in the future; it really is a magical city.