Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day 2 - June 18

Robert met us at our hotel this morning and of course I was running late because my legs are dog tired. You had better make sure that you are a little fit (which I thought) but my legs are sore and my feet are well worn from the walking and the stairs that you will have to climb if you want to go anywhere or see anything.

Things you should know about this place...Paris, France:
Yes, there are cobblestones in the tourist areas but not really on the walks in between the areas because of lots of paths and roads. It will slightly rain here..annoying rain (not hard just light but sometimes often). If you look like an American, the gypsys will pick you out and "try" to scam you. More on this in just a bit! To get to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, catacombes, top of the Notre Dame, around the Louvre and about the town in and out of Metro stations...there are stairs! The people are nice if you are nice to them. They are sometimes short with you if you don't know what you want so step back and decide first then you can engage. Learn a "little" French before you come here. Just the basics like how to get to the Toilettes and how to ask for tap water. Then you will really like this place!!

As we head out of the hotel, we grab a pastry and a soda and down them before heading to the Metro. Did I mention that we are right near a Metro station and it has been a lovely thing!?
First thing first, we get off the Metro and walk to the Place de la Concorde. This was the place where the housed a guillotine and beheaded Marie Antionette and Louis XVI among others. Now there are two fountains and an obelisk of Luxor (sister to the obelisk behind the one at the Met in NY). This obelisk honors the Louis XVI by his brother. This site is a major intersection for traffic, one way looks towards the Arc de Triomphe and the other towards the Tullerie Gardens and the Louvre. ONWARD, we cross the major street towards the Tulleries.

On our way to this site, by the way, we were stopped by a small innocent looking girl that looked like she just picked up a gold ring on the street. Looking lucky, she asked if she had just found this ring and if it could be real. Not knowing anything, we actually took a look a the ring and told her it looked to be authentic so she indeed was lucky. She then said that it was too big for her so that we should just take it. We took it (yes, we did :P) and started to walk away and then she try to stop us and ask for a little money since we were lucky. Hmmmmmmmm!@ We just gave the ring back and walked away! BEWARE!!! THis will happen many times and so you should grow a skin and just ignore them. Damn Gypsys!!!! Arg!

On to the Tulleries:
Vast open space with lots of gravel (packed, kind of like packed crushed granite), some statues and a few grassy areas surrounded by squared off trees. This is a really long area that leads you to the Louvre. Well worth the walk! It is filled with a couple of fountains and a couple of places to lunch. If you come here, pack a picnic.
After the Toullerie Gardens, we head up to the Louvre. Here Robert says goodbye but we will see him soon enough in the next few days. Justin and I go through a checkpoint in a side door of the Louvre (highly recommend buying a Museum Pass before you come and a Metro Pass..the Museum Pass gets you ahead of the large lines). We are in awe of the glass pyramid and the very large Museum that they call the Louvre. Again, pictures do no justice.

There are four sections to the Louvre and there is no way in hell that you will be able to finish this place. Pick your favorites and head directly to them. You will wonder off at times, some rooms you can't take pictures in and they police these very well and fuss at you if you try (hehe, so I tried) but get back on track. We discovered that the Monna Lisa is packed full of people looking at her but she is still worth it! We still managed to see Napoleon's apartment (very opulent), French scupltures, the medieval Louvre (the original part of the Castle that is left before the Louvre was built on top), Winged Victory of Samothrace, Raft of Medusa, and some Crowned Jewels. Much more things were covered but you will have to see the pictures and do some research because there was soooooo much here! Unfortunately, Aphrodite or otherwise known as Venus de Milo was being moved but we are probably going back just to see her.
After getting tired, which you will do, we head to the Cafe on the 1st Level (really the 2nd) to grab some lunch on the veranda looking over the courtyard. We had to wait a bit but the views were the best to relax at. This cafe is located in the Richelieu wing of the Louvre.

We walked around a bit more and decided to go back up to the Champs Elysees, right past where we started at the obelisk. It starts with a little park and then connects to part of the avenue filled with shops much like New York but with larger sidewalks. The major difference was that they put car shops here! Yes, Mercedes and Peugot were selling their cars in what looked like a major mall. Really cool! You should know that all of the shops that are in the states are here also, just that your money doesn't go as far so you can wait to buy many things. DON'T miss out on the food, atmosphere, drinks or attractions. Use your money wisely and you will have much more fun! We are spending a ton but not really!

Ok, so we finally reach the Arc de Triomphe, whew!

Deciding to go into it after this really long walk, we head towards the underground passage way that leads you under the traffic only to be stopped by Police. Not what you think though. They just finished elections here and they were honoring their veterans today. We were told that we would have to wait until the commencement was over. Ug!
Not giving up, we go to the nearest Cafe and grab food and drinks to listen to the band and watch a little of the parade. This was neat but I didn't get a chance to take much pictures here.

Ok, so we ended up giving up and headed back to the hotel. We decided that we should get to the Arc first thing in the morning. For now we will take a quick nap after the exhausting walking that we have done.

---We woke only to walk around in our neighborhood, grab some quick snacks and go back to the hotel to sleep. By now it is already 3am and we probably should go to sleep.


Pandora said...

Yep the people can be a little annoying... And you are not kidding about the walking and the stairs!
I loved the view from the Eiffel Tour, but I think the Arc De Triomphe was my favorite view.

Wow that gypsy story sounds practically just like the one David told, but it was an old lady. I was never approached by them when in France, but sometimes I feel like I am just in my own little world anyway. ;)

I was not impressed with the Tuileries too much - preferred the Jardin du Luxembourg much more.

My experience at the Louvre with David makes me really dislike it. How many hours did you spend there?

Wow it sounds like a long and somewhat frustrating day! Hope you enjoyed yourself mostly. Love you and reading your updates :D

SheRoan said...

I really have had fun. Justin and I are in agreement that David makes you go really too fast through everything to take it all in. This would be good if that was your style but it isn't ours. We have spent 2 days in the Louvre (including going back today) and it is well worth it. Some of the rooms are so outrageously adorned, I love it.
The top of the Arc was wonderful just as much as the Eiffel, it is hard to choose. We will probably end up back at the Eiffel tonight to take pictures.
I agree with you about the Tuleries. They were not striking and I thought that there was not enough grass.
We are getting rolling this morning so I will catch up with you soon. Love you!