My Travel Philosophy

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sightseeing in Paris

I always underestimate jet lag! I had special pills to take on the flight over that would help with jet lag -- and maybe they helped a little as I felt pretty good yesterday. Made it to 9:30 last night! Woke at 11 a.m. this morning, though, so I clearly needed the sleep.

My leg and ankle were incredibly painful when I got up and through much of the day. (Not the best picture, really, but it captures some of the swelling and bruising.)

The beautiful Venus de Milo sculpture
Even though I slept late this morning, I wanted to catch some of my itinerary so I headed straight for the Louvre, which is within walking distance of my hotel. And a beautiful walk it is, too, through the Tuilleries. The weather is absolutely beautiful here -- a bit warm really, so it's hard to dress without being uncomfortable. Then, inside the museums it can be quite warm. That said, I thought I was going to be sick for a while as I was walking through the museum, but I made it to the big 3:  Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo (pictured), and the Winged Victory. I had seen the Mona Lisa and Winged Victory the last time I was here, but I finally found the Venus de Milo hidden away in a little niche. I also took time and walked through the former apartments of Napoleon. Once again, I'm awestruck at the size of this former royal palace. Kind of makes me understand the reason for the Revolution!

One of the rooms from Napoleon's former apartments in the Louvre -- his former palace 

One of the unisex bathrooms
I've done some reading and know that most of the art in the Louvre was taken down and hidden from the Nazis during WWII. After walking through only part of this enormous place, I can't help but wonder how long it must have taken to crate up and move everything.

Interesting note: in various places in Paris there are unisex bathrooms. I was quite startled the first time I walked in and a man followed right behind me. Got used to it after a while, but it was a bit odd at first.
The center of Paris
After the Louvre, I thought I'd try Notre Dame again -- and the line was considerably shorter today. I had an audio tour on my phone that was really informational about the carvings on the outside of the cathedral and also talked about a plaque in the square in front of Notre Dame. That plaque marks the exact center of the city so, if you stand on it, you're facing all parts of the city at once.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame is really, really beautiful all the way around the outside of the building -- I walked around it several times. There's a lovely garden in the back and the famous flying buttresses are hard to miss. The church is especially beautiful from the opposite bank of the Seine where you can see the entire structure.
Notre Dame Cathedral from the Seine

I was less impressed with the interior -- maybe after seeing all of the huge cathedrals in England and St. Patrick's in New York I was expecting more. It was lovely, but I was more impressed with the exterior.

Upon my return to my hotel, I stopped at a little market and bought some lovely biscuits, cheese, grapes, and wine for a feast in my room. I have a small refrigerator and it really made for a perfect end to the day!

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