Friday, July 29, 2011


Gallery in the Louvre
Paris on Friday was a bit fast paced, but it was an opportunity to hit the highlights in a day.

We started with a two-hour dash in the Louvre. That may sound like a long time to some, but considering the size and the famous pieces that are in the Louvre, it's not much at all. On this trip I came across the Mona Lisa, The Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo, and Liberty Leading the People, just to name a few. Although the Louvre is a huge tourist attraction the only way to really get the history while you're there is to take a guided tour or an audio tour in your native language. I kept trying to check out the placards to get more information on the piece to discover that it was all in French. You might be looking for pictures of these things, and they do exist but they are awfully fuzzy. There are two reasons for this: 1) You're not supposed to use a flash in the Louvre and 2) some were very difficult to get close to.

Once we regrouped, we were off on a tour bus that lets you hop on and hop off at various points around the city. Our destination was the Eiffel Tower, which took about an hour to get to, simply because the route is very circuitous. I was enjoying riding up top taking pictures of the sights. All of a sudden I looked to my left and there was the Eiffel Tower. Even though I was in Paris it was a bit of a surprise, and a reminder that I wasn't in London anymore. Once we stopped it's clear to see how large the structure is. I'm sure the view from the top is amazing, but there was no time on this trip.

Sandcastle along the Siene spotted
during the boat ride.
We hopped back on the bus and headed toward Notre Dame, where we were to catch a boat for a tour along the Siene. This had to have been my favorite part of the day. Riding along in the boat was breezy and there were more opportunities for fantastic pictures. Also, Dr. Everhart and her husband Harry had a surprise for us. They started passing out glasses and Harry popped bottles of Peach Champagne. (We must hunt this down for New Year's next year, it was delicious!). We rode along the Siene listening the tour in three languages and enjoying not trudging around with our full packs.

Following the ride was some free time. I walked around the outdoor stalls with Kalyca and was happy to see that some of them sold maps like one I picked up in Ireland. I didn't have much time to browse before we were due to meet up again for dinner.

Dinner was another best part of the day. We crowded into a restaurant that caters to groups. We each chose a starter, an entree, and a dessert and the wine, soda, or water was as much as we could drink. Wine tastes so much better in France.  All the food was delicious, but this was only the second full group dinner we have had. The first was within the first few days of our arrival. Now that everyone knew each other better, we spent hours eating, drinking and chatting. We were all very sad when Dr. Everhart said it was time for those not staying in Paris to head back.

After finding our hotel, the remaining group conked out for the night. We had all gotten up around 3:30am or so to make our way to Paris by train, which left at 5:25am. The excitement of spending the day in Paris (and the Eiffel Tower keychain salesmen, which I'll talk more about later), were enough to keep us all awake.

It was an extraordinary day in Paris and if I had left Friday, I would have an amazing memory to take with me. Luckily, I stayed so there are more amazing memories to share. There were also a few difficulties during the day. For example, we stopped at a little take-out bakery place to pick up a quick lunch for the bus ride, and when the woman told me my total, I had no idea what she was talking about. They seem to be used that, however, and she just pointed to the register so I would know what to hand over. The other thing is that it is much harder to determine what something really costs (to my American mind) in euros than in pounds, especially since I've been dealing with pounds for the last few weeks.

Viola! The Eiffel Tower

You may be asking yourself, why I've posted pictures of this twice with that title. During our boat ride, the guide explaining various points sent our attention to the Eiffel Tower using that exact phrase. She sounded bored though, as if she had just taken a moment and placed it there merely for our amusement and pleasure.

No comments:

Post a Comment