Paris Day 2
Paris Travel Blog› entry 8 of 15 › view all entries
I got up early and went off to beat the crowds at the Eiffel Tower. So much for my navigation skills - I though I took the same metro stop as yesterday, but when I reached the surface I was in a different spot than I thought I should be. No problem - just walk towards that big metal sculpture in the sky. My legs hurt from all the walking I did yesterday and the lines for the steps were just as long as those for the elevator. So I got in the elevator line. I was fairly early, but the lines were almost as long as yesterday's and the weather was much crappier! I couldn't even see the top of the Eiffel Tower through the low clouds. I had to wait in line for about an hour just to ride the elevator. It was a long and boring wait because I was by myself and everyone around me was speaking French or some other language I couldn't understand.
A bunch of us squeezed in for the ride up. And then we all piled out and rushed to the edge for the view. I could see the Arc d'Triomphe and the bridge I crossed to get there. It was a nice view, although somewhat gray. I went down to the first platform just to see what was there. And oh look! There's an ice skating rink! And people are actually skating on it! If my legs weren't so tired - and I had someone to go with - I might have joined them.
What else to see? How about Notre Dame - that isn't too far away by metro. As it was near Christmas time, they still had the life-sized Nativity scene set up. That was really neat. The figures were life sized and bathed in the glow of soft colored lights. It was tranquil. People generally speak in hushed voices in a church, and even with so many people in there, there was only a soft murmur of voices. And then you also have your people that go in to light candles and pray - you know the ones - not usually tourists. I paid 50 cents and lit a candle for my Grandma. I'm not Catholic, and I don't really understand what it means, but I just felt like it is something you should do when visiting a church.
Okay - the Louvre isn't too far away. I need to see the Mona Lisa. I wish I had read the Da Vinci Code before I got there. I'm not sure it was out yet, but it would have been fun to look for those features that were written about in the book. So I got in line for the museum and made a mad dash to that famous painting. Well, you couldn't go straight there. All the short-cut routes were blocked off and you had to weave your way through the museum. Which is just as well, because I wouldn't have seen most of that other stuff otherwise. The Mona Lisa is about as far away from the door as you can get - or so it seemed. I knew I was getting close when the room got packed with people and you had to stand in line to shuffle past it.
With that out of the way, I wandered through the rest of the museum - or at least some of it. I loved the floors there. Many of them had geometric shapes inlaid with different color/types of stones. (I like rocks). Some rooms had the ceilings painted - very ornately with lots of gold accenting. A couple of rooms were creepy - there were a bunch of heads mounted on pillars and eye level.
The Louvre closed at 6, but the Musee d'Orsay was open late this night (I can't remember what day it was - Thursday maybe?). So I went over there. The museum used to be an old train station and you can really see it in the main hall. There are a bunch of smaller galleries on the wings on the museum. I finished going through the museum with an hour or so to spare before my night train left, so I just sat on a bench and relaxed. I figured it was better than waiting at the train station.
I shared a sleeper car with another woman and got a great nights' sleep. I love night trains.