Friday, March 11, 2011

Touristy Stuff

(Monday March 7, 2011)

Today my alarm went off at 7am and I was up and out of the Hostel.

I got up extra early to make sure I got a locker for my bags. They were just a tiny bit too small to fit both bags in one locker, so I am glad I was up early enough to get two.

I hopped on the Metro and headed down to the Arc d’Triomphe. I arrived in the middle of rush hour, I have never ever seen such insane traffic. Ever.

Arc de Triomphe

Before figuring out how to get across the roundabout to the Arc I needed some breakfast. I found a cafĂ© that looked out at the Arc and ordered my Petit Dejuner. It wasn’t so petit. I had a pitcher of water, a glass of orange juice, tea, 2 eggs, a basket of bread and a croissant. I didn’t eat the bread, I was too full.

Petite Dejuner. Not so Petite...

Next I took a walk around the roundabout (at the bottom of the Arc) and finally figured out how to get across traffic. You go under it. There is a staircase that takes you below the street and brings you back up in the middle. I had a wander around the base and got to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then I picked up a Museum Pass which allowed will allow me entrance to a whole bunch of museums for one price. It also allowed me to get up to the top of the Arc. There are 284 stairs and I climbed every single one of them. I know I will be paying for that tomorrow.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
284 Stairs, from the top down.

The view from the top is amazing! I walked around to the other side of the Arc and there was the Eiffel Tower, it was so close! It looks like it is about 2 blocks away, it's not, it's about a kilometer. After checking out the City I headed back down and decided to walk down the Champs Elysees to the Louvre.

This street runs from the Arc d'Triomphe to the Jardin des Tuileries (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site). On the other side of the Jardin des Tuileries is the Louvre. I haven’t figured out why this park is a UNESCO site yet, it is full of dog poop and garbage. Also, the walkways are all gravel and dust so it is actually tough to walk down. I guess we are spoiled to have concrete walkways in the parks in North America.

Jardin des Tuileries

The Louvre is included in my Museum Pass, which I have for 2 days, so I had better make use of it. I was going to see the Eiffel Tower today, but it can wait until after the pass has been used.

The Champs-Elysees was a pretty interesting walk. If you need a Lambourghini, or Mercedes while in Paris, this is the place to shop. I did some shopping on the Champ-Elysees as well. By the time I got close to the Louvre I had a blister and needed some bandaids. I found a drugstore and picked some up. I think that was about the only thing I could buy on this street. I am all stocked up on Lambourghinis.

**Note to self, it doesn’t matter if the boots ‘go better’ with what you are wearing, if you will be walking all day, wear the darned runners!!

Once I was through the Jardin des Tuileries I was at the Louvre. The entrance is in the pyramid, yes, the one from the Davinci Code. As you go into the museum you have to put your purse through a scanner and you walk through another one. Then you are in! I grabbed a map in English and marked off what I really wanted to see. Then off I went to find it…

This inverted pyramid is inside the Louvre

I saw so much! The Mona Lisa of course, Napolean’s Apartments and so much more! I spent hours wandering around and there is still so much I didn’t see. I could spend a week here and still not see everything. At one point I stopped in the restaurant for lunch and to rest my weary feet. The resting part was a bad idea. By the time I got up again I could barely walk, so I got moving. And I didn’t stop. That’s the trick, just don’t stop. After a few more hours I was done. So off I headed to the Hostel on the Metro.

The Mona Lisa is behind so much protective glass there is no wat to avoid glare...

Napoleon's Dining Room. I wouldn't want to have to set that table!
I had a short Skype with Mom and Dad and then off I went to bed with the alarm set to get me up bright and early again.

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