Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Paris: Day Two

French Breakfast with Coffee, OJ and Hot Chocolate
Day two in Paris began with a quick walk around the corner to get breakfast.  I ordered the French breakfast and Shari ordered the “American” breakfast.  The French breakfast consisted of one piece of buttered French bread, one croissant, fruit cocktail, fruit spread, orange juice and coffee.  The American breakfast was the same as the French, but with eggs and ham; however, the waitress was gracious enough to substitute smoked salmon in place of ham since Shari doesn’t eat pork.  Since most eating establishments in Paris carry Wi-Fi, we were able to get online to check on some personal things as well as map out our day.
"American" Breakfast
First on the list was a visit to the Louvre.  Paris is fairly walkable, so we decided to forgo the metro ride and headed out for a nice walk.  Before we left Rue Cler, we had to stop off at one of the many fromageries to see what kinds of cheeses we could find.  We walked into a cheese shop right across from our hotel and ended up buying a mixed plate of blue cheese, Brie and some other mild cheese that turned out to be excellent.  It was a great way to stock up before our walk.
Awesome Cheese Stores
Our walk featured more stunning buildings as well as some great photo opportunities of the Seine River.  we also noticed multiple designated areas where you can rent bicycles.  Each area consisted of a kiosk to pay the fee for the bicycle rental and twenty or so bikes locked in the specially designed stands.  What a great idea for an alternative way to get around the city!
More Gorgeous Buildings
Bikes For Rent-What a Great Idea!
As we continued our walk, we passed by quite a few posh clothing and jewelry stores before landing in the Place de La Concorde where L’Obelisque can be found.  L’Obelisque was nice, but after seeing the Washington monument and the Obelisk in Buenos Aries, the Paris version was a little underwhelming.
After crossing a few busy streets, we took a bit of a stop at a large shallow pool with multiple fountains.  There were plenty of green chairs to sit around the pool, so Shari and I lounged for a bit while we eyed the gelato cart on the far side of the pool.
Relaxing By a Pool
It began to rain just when we made the decision to head over for a couple of scoops of gelato, so we grabbed our dessert and found a bench under some trees for protection.  Since it looked like a sunny day, I left our umbrella back at the hotel so Shari began fishing around her purse to find a suitable rain hat.  The cheese store bag was a perfect choice and we laughed as passers by all made comments in multiple languages about the unconventional hat.
Nice Hat!
As we drew closer to the Louvre, the magnitude of the museum hit us-it was enormous and very impressive.  While walking through the courtyard, we were approached by multiple street vendors selling cheap umbrellas for 5 Euros, but we resisted the temptation and found the line to get into the glass pyramid entrance.
Musee du Louvre

View to the Pyramid

The main lobby of the Louvre was packed with art enthusiasts and tourists, but it didn’t take long to get through the ticket line to purchase two 10 Euro entry tickets.

After grabbing a map of the museum, we made our way to the Denon wing to find the Mona Lisa.  Entering the fist viewing room was breathtaking as incredible painting after incredible painting lined the walls, most of them from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.  Heading down the main hallway, we rounded a corner and entered the room where the Mona Lisa is located.  In the Louvre, most walls are lined with multiple paintings, but the wall where the Mona Lisa hung was bare except for the masterpiece.  The painting looked very small hanging by itself on such a huge wall, but there were hundreds of people viewing it and holding cameras aloft in order to try to snap a photo or two.  I managed to get a fairly good shot-I especially like the reflections of the onlooker’s faces in my photo-kind of gives you an idea of just how many people were in that one room.

I can’t say that I “get” the Mona Lisa, especially in the presence of so many incredible paintings, but hey, that’s art I guess.

On the Way to See the Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa
Upon departing Mona Lisa’s chamber, we broke out the map and looked for the location of the Louvre’s second most famous work of art:  Venus de Milo.  This famous sculpture was at the intersection of the Denon wing and the Sully wing so we high tailed it down a few flights of stairs and into the ancient sculpture section of the museum.  Once again, we passed some incredible sculptures before finally arriving at the Venus.  There were not quite as many people around this masterpiece, but it was still awesome to be looking at the actual work of art in person.
Venus de Milo
Once we saw Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, we decided it was time to head over to La Cathedral du Nortre Dame.  Heading along the Seine River, we passed over a really cool footbridge with thousands of locks locked against of the wire mesh of the barrier arms on either side of the bridge.  It appeared as though each lock had lover’s initials written or engraved on them so we assumed this was supposed to signify the key to one’s heart.
The Key to Your Heart?
The crowd and souvenir shops thickened as we drew closer to the famous church and we were again mesmerized by the size of the structure as we got closer to the building.  The spire and entry towers blocked out the sun as we stood across the street at a crepe stand and strained to get large sections of the building in our camera viewfinders.  Standing so close to those crepe stands had us once again Falling victim to temptation as we ordered yet another Nutella crepe and walked around the building with the massive lines of people waiting to get into the church stretched out in winding formations at the grand entry.
MMMM....Nutella Crepes!

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris


MMMM....Nutella Crepe!

After a few more shots, we decided we’d better start making our way back to the hotel since we were going to have to grab our bags and head out on the metro to catch our 9:21 PM train back to Kings Cross. 

We made the Ecole Militaire station faster than anticipated, so we grabbed some chairs at a café and had our last meal in Paris; Shari had a croquet madam and I had and baguette with jambon (ham) and formage (cheese) with a nice beer.  After our meal, we headed back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and a great little gift for our hosts back at Huntingdon and caught the metro back to Gare du Nord in order to catch our train.

Last Meal in Paris

Goodbye Rue Cler
Since the Eurostar was due to arrive in London very late and because the train ride back to Huntingdon was going to cost 44 pounds one way, we decided it may be wiser to book a hotel room for the evening.  We found a nice hotel on the Thames with a view of Big Ben and the House of Parliament and were elated when the front desk attendant agreed to grant us a free upgrade to a suite.
Boarding the Train to London
After a brief meal and a drink in the chic lobby club, we showered and fell into bed at 2:00 AM exhausted but ready to finally begin the London portion of our adventure!
Entry to Our Hotel in Lodon
To see all of the pictures from Paris Day Two, go to:
and click on Paris Day Two

No comments:

Post a Comment