Saturday, 11 July 2015

June 25, 2015- Around Paris, The Louvre, The Top of L'Arc de Triomphe

We are Run Down from the "Relaxing" Cruise, We Eat a Delicious French Breakfast at Home, A Walk Down to the Louvre, Lunch at the Louvre, the Louvre, After the Cruise, McDonald's- I'm Lovin' It,  Champs-Elysees, L'Arc de Triomphe, the Metro

This morning we were exhausted and chose to sleep past our alarm. Bill went to the neighbourhood bakery and obtained baguette, croissants, and pain au chocolat. They were excellent and such a treat after the "food" we endured on that cruise. We have never felt such relief in our lives over the end of a portion of our vacation as we have with the end of that cruise. We were determined to salvage what was left of our long awaited European vacation.

We walked down from our place in the north of the 9th arrondissement to Place de Concorde where an ancient Egyptian obelisk stands in the middle of traffic and one can view many other landmarks of Paris in the distance. We walked through the Tuilleries Garden and ended up at the Louvre. We had the Paris Museum Pass (we chose the Six Day Pass so we would have plenty of flexibility and time to view the many sights of Paris which Bill had never been to before, we bought this at the CDG airport when we first flew into Paris) and were able to walk by the giant lineup of people and right up to the entrance (there were some dirty stares). We obtained a map and had lunch in a restaurant in the Louvre. It was an indifferent Cesar salad and some fries that we shared, but still better than anything we received on the cruise (ice cream excluded).

We went to the Dutch section first and April realized that she would have to return to Amsterdam to enjoy the best of the Dutch Masters again. We walked around the Renaissance section and for a giggle viewed the Rococo section with its myriad of gilt, chubby cherubs, and frolicking couples. We looked through the Middle Ages section for a bit and then did the mandatory walk by the Mona Lisa. Bill had never been to the Louvre before and was more interested in the hoards of people jostling to get a picture of or with the Mona Lisa or a selfie in front of it than the actual Mona Lisa itself.  We also swung by the statute "Winged Victory" which was also a mob scene. We saw a lot of antiquities in the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman sections. We admired the beautiful tiles and wood carvings in the new Islamic Art section. We looked for the Mesopotamia section, but even after asking for directions were unable to find it. The map provided was more confusing than illuminating. We ended up seeing Venus de Milo and then we staggered from the Louvre, spent.

We sat on the steps and had our leftover half a baguette from breakfast and some water, watching idiot tourists posing on posts in front of the pyramid at the Louvre, trying to get their hand placement just right to look as if they were touching the top of the glass pyramid or pinching it in the photo being taken of them. It's amazing how being a tourist can steal your brain and make you behave in a way you never would at home. We just hoped we weren't appearing that way to everyone around us. But we probably were . . .

Since it was close by, had bathrooms, and we hoped free Wi-Fi, we went to McDonald's for an early dinner. We couldn't find Wi-Fi, but we did eat, drink, go to the bathroom. The menu had no regional specialties like it had when we were in Japan so Bill had McNuggets and April had the McChicken Burger. Everything was pretty mediocre, but it was still a nice change from the frozen and boxed pasta and meat aboard that cruise.

We left refreshed enough to walk to L'Arc de Triomphe. We walked up the Champs-Elysees and watched the tourists blowing their money in the posh stores. We used the bathrooms at the Westin and looked in Sephora briefly, but April determined that there were really no deals to be had. We arrived at L'Arc de Triomphe and bypassed the line again with our museum passes. We climbed to the top on old worn stairs (near heart attack in the summer heat of Paris after a day of sightseeing!).

The view from the top was breathtaking. There are no tall buildings nearby, so you can easily see all over Paris and since it's in the middle of a star-like flare of roads, you can see down all the boulevards. The panoramic shots were amazing. We could clearly see Sacre-Coeur high on Montmartre where we had been standing the previous evening. We used our "selfie stick" (yes, we bought one for the trip, how embarrassing) to capture ourselves kissing with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Shameless.

Bill was exhausted, so we took the metro home. We stopped by the grocery store and then returned home to sleep exhausted.

16.58 km walked today.

Eglise Madeleine in Paris is Gorgeous

Bill throws centimes into the fountain at Place de Concorde

Bill at Le Louvre

We're in the Egyptian section at Le Louvre and we're really tired and crazed by now . . .

Our finest Mona Lisa smile while she looks on over the hoards.

Lions, lions, lions, lions oh my!

Socrates, Plato, Artistole, and Bill, the great thinkers of the world . . .


April with another cynic.

Octavius Caesar


Babies riding lions. Why can't kids today do this?

Why don't birds ride lions anymore?

View from the top of L'Arc de Triomphe

Under L'Arc de Triomphe

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