A day in Paris
We rose earlier trying to get the maximum amount of things to do in our other full day in Paris.
Paris is so busy and we wanted to beat the queues we had seen just about everywhere yesterday. We went directly to Notre Dame to inspect the inside. It is very beautiful with its delicate flying buttresses and the stained glass particularly impressive. Building began in 1163 and continued up until the 19th century with many additions over time. In fact it was damaged and looted extensively in the revolution and later almost burned down. Fortunately it has survived and it's modifications tie together into the beautiful building it is today. Another impressive church to cross off my list.
From there we headed up to the Louvre. We had done a bit of planning for this and worked out how to skip the queue and our plan worked. Which was good coz it was a warm sunny day and waiting outside in the sun to enter through the glass pyramid would have been tedious.
The Louvre is massive and fairly tricky to find your way around. We had purchased two English audio visual guides to assist which I was very thankful for as all of the signage and interps for exhibits are in French with no English translation. We found this a bit frustrating in French museums. The French are very stubborn in their effort to retain their language, I appreciate this, but for a destination that is visited so widely by international visitors it is a bit silly, especially for the major items. While I am having a whinge the toilet situation was pretty poor too.
On the plus side, many people had told me that the French people were arrogant when dealing with foreigners with little or no French language. I found the opposite. People were particularly helpful and friendly everywhere we went city or country.
So we started with the Greek statues aiming for the Venus de milo. Venus was uncovered by a Greek peasant in 1820 amazing !There were some very impressive pieces and sooo many of them. We moved into the Egyptian section, the mummy was also interesting. From there we spent about half an hour in search of toilets that were open and functioning Family harmony was put to the test here for a while. One less Greek statue and a couple more toilets would def be the go! While searching we zipped through the Mesopotamian section which looked interesting but it was hard to concentrate.
From there we moved into some of the furnishings and the palatial rooms fully furnished in period with their well embellished painted ceilings.
We moved along to some paintings and our focus was on the Italian section heading for the ultimate goal, the Mona Lisa.
The Mona Lisa room was pretty crazy. As expected she is only small and not that impressive but I still needed to see her. It was a mad scramble to get anywhere near the front and for a shorty like me it was tricky to see much! Dave and Holly managed to get to the front and get some pics and it was done and we were out of there. Pick pockets were in paradise and Dave had his man bag unzipped while reaching up to take a photo. Nothing lost though.
The painting in the room behind Mona "the Coronation of Napoleon" was also interesting and quite the contrast to Mona, it being one of the largest paintings in the world.
By this stage the boys were completely over it so we decided to call it a day and find a late lunch. This accomplished we headed to the Champs Élysées to check out the shops. Then headed for home. Once on the bus we got caught in the biggest traffic jam, we were gridlocked. Traffic in Paris is horrendous all day but especially in the afternoon. Our bus got in a tangle when it caught another buses mirror and we were hooked for a while we weren't in any hurry and were just happy to rest our weary legs and watch Paris go by, albeit slowly! The buildings are really something and the city is very beautiful.
Exhausted we finally got home and prepared for the next leg of our journey the Eurostar train under the channel into London.