Day Twenty/ Louvre & Montmatre
Trip Start Dec 17, 2011
25Trip End Jan 14, 2012
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We got up early, because we planned to go to the Louvre, the largest museum in the world, and a former palace. We had driven past the museum many times, and seen the crowds queuing for hours. I mentally prepared myself to do the same, but this turned out to be not the case. We took the subway to the station, and the station turned into the base level of the Louvre. We bought our tickets from a vendor, and were allowed straight into the exhibitions; no waiting.
The building of the Louvre is a masterpiece in itself. It was an old palace, and was going to be demolished at one point, until someone suggested that it could be turned into a museum. The corridors seem endless, and the cornices are so delicately designed.
We went straight to the Mona Lisa
We walked around, and checked off all of the 'must-sees' as we saw them. We saw the 'Winged Victory of Samothrace', a headless statue of a winged woman, 'the Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon', a floor-to-ceiling painting of Napoleon's consecration, and the 'Wedding Feast of Cana', a similarly large painting of a wedding, where Jesus and Mary were guests. We also saw the famous 'Venus de Milo' statue, which was armless, and some Michelangelo marble statues. It was all really impressive, especially so when you see the originals of the paintings and sculptures you had heard and read so much about.
We went into the permanent Egyptian exhibition, which I swear has more ancient Egyptian relics than Egypt itself. Each room I assumed would be the last in the collection, only led to more and more and more. We saw whole tomb entrances (no idea how that fit through the Louvre doors) to sculptures, to mummies, to hieroglyphics
We also had a quick look in the temporary Forbidden City exhibition, and it made me smile to know that I had already seen everything there, having visited the real thing more than three times.
We finished up with the Louvre, and went to Starbucks for a sit down. It was a little exhausting to walk around for hours without a break, and Nanna certainly needed one. We relaxed, before going to find our hop on hop off bus again. We went through a beautiful park to get there, which was filled with more statues. It had a huge fountain in the middle, surrounded by chairs to admire it. This was the fountain that a man made a video of, and sent it in to Funniest Home Videos, and won $250,000. He arranged his seat, so it appeared as if the fountains were coming out of him. Dad and I both tried the same thing, and without much effort, got the same effect. If only we had thought of it first.
We found the bus stop, but it was so close to a beautiful church, that we decided to look in there first. It was the Eglise de la Madeleine, a huge, window-less Church looks like something out of ancient Greece, with its large columns out the front. It still holds regular masses each Sunday
We got some sandwiches at a little kiosk, from the nicest Parisian that we have met so far. She gave us an extra cookie and chocolate croissant for free, and was very helpful with dealing with our 200 euro note.
In Europe, they still print a 200 and 500 euro note. We have a 200 euro one, which we have found acts like a poison. You bring it out, and all the shopkeepers shriek in fear. No one will touch it. I don't understand why they continue to print it, when it is basically obsolete. We found out (via the sandwich lady) that the post office is obliged to take it if you buy something, so we bought a stamp, and thankfully got change, We were worried that we would return to Australia with this useless note.
After lunch, we got back on the bus, and took a trip to Montmatre. This is a suburb on the edge of metropolitan Paris, that is home to many artsy types. It is also home to countless burlesque clubs, and is known for its electric nightlife. It was a really interesting looking place, very trendy and quirky. One street contains 18 cabarets on its own, which I'm sure attracts interesting people at night.
We even passed the famous Moulin Rouge, which could almost blend into the background of other cabarets if you weren't concentrating.
After freezing on the top of the open-air bus, we returned home to rest. At 7pm, we ventured out again, sans Nanna who had walked enough, to try out a new restaurant we had seen on our travels. It featured a special of an entree, main, dessert and drink for 11.90 euro, and we thought it was worth a try. The food was very generous, and probably the best meal we have eaten out at in Paris. It was definitely worth the trip out. The people were friendly, and it was nice to see the nightlife around the center of Paris.
Paris is really quite magical at night, with the lights on, and sparkling everywhere.