Day 191, Friday 13 July 2012 – Paris
Again it was another big day planned, there is so much to see and do in central Paris, even in a week I will only barely touch I want I want to see and some of those visits will only be short as well. Today we had three things to cover, Arc de Triomphe, Avenue des Champs-Elysees and the Louvre, an iconic (and big) list.
After a bit confusion in the Gare D’ Nord (again) we did find the right train to take us to the Arc de Triomphe (AdT). It was a wee bit wet when we left, which was great as it seemed to have put off the worst of the seething masses and we had a relatively pain free hike to the top of the Arc. The views over the city were just awesome.
Over the Avenue des Champs-Elysees
The Eiffel Tower (obviously)
We also had a good view down on to that most famous of Parisian roundabouts. I have no idea how cars get out, or why they would choose to go in, there were not many cars when we were there, but you can see the chaos – can you spot the cyclist in the middle ?
After AdT we took a walk down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees (ACE), which has to be one of the worlds more famous streets. It is a couple of kilometres long and seems to have all the major brand name stores, including a few low-brow ones as well !
The whole of ACE is covered in pedestrian barriers, assuming in preparation for the formalities and parties happening during Bastille Day tomorrow. Sadly most of Place de la Concorde is closed off to the public and seating and army vehicles have surrounded it.
We stopped for lunch in a cafe in Jardin des Tuileries, just outside of the Louvre. It was an entertaining meal, the waiters were constantly arguing, I think over tips as one of them pulled out a wad of cash and thrust into the hand of one of the others – ah the French !
The queue for the massive art gallery that is the Louvre was surprisingly small, under thirty minutes, which was fabbo as we missed the rain entirely during the wait. We entered the museum through the glass pyramid and the ticket counters and entrance point for the three main wings are all underground.
We started off with the ancient Egyptian collection and then worked our way around through the various painting and sculpture collections.
I loved this beautiful little wood carving, gorgeous.
The biggest tourist attraction at the Louvre has to be the Mona Lisa, as everyone who has seen it has said, it is surprisingly small. I could not be bothered fighting my way through the hoards to see it.
I am not big on painting, especially the classical, romantic and renaissance periods. My tastes tend to be from the impressionists onward, so the art collections at the Louvre, amazing as they are, were not studied at length. Though there were of course, many pieces I did like, especially this one by Luis de Morales from 1565.
One of the things that did impress me about the museum was the ornateness, detail and beauty just contained in the room construction, of course most of the rooms were bare gallery, but some were stunning to look at.
And of course there are the Napoleon III apartments, he must really have suffered !
I also quite liked this piece from Henri Bellechose from 1415 (man that is a long time ago!)
And I really liked these too, but forgot to write the atist details down, they are some of the very few paintings behind glass.
And minute compared to these bad boys.
It was drizzling again when we left the Louvre and started a slow walk back to the hotel, my feet were knackered after another few hours of tromping around and I was looking forward to shoes off and a lie down…
Looking over the Pont des Arts to the Institute de France.
We crossed the Pont Des Arts over the Seine, with its thousands of padlocks that young (and I guess not so young) lovers leave on the wire.
Walked along the side of the Seine, looking at the house boats, I liked these letter boxes on the river bank for the houseboats.
Dinner was trusty old bread, cheese and wine in the hotel room, it was raining again and my feet went out on strike !
I would loved to have spent more time in the Louvre, but it is a huge day…