Europe 2008 (Paris) Day 18 – June 11

11 06 2008

Today was the Louvre day.  We headed out after our usual breakfast and got to the museum around 1000.  We were overwhelmed by the size of the place.  It was huge.  There were so many people milling about lobby area. 

Overall impressions:

  • Huge
  • Need 2 days to see it properly
  • Incredible collection of antiquities and works by masters.
  • If you’re smart you can tag in behind a tour group and hear what the guide is telling them about particular masters or their paintings.
  • Don’t forget the Renoirs, Venus de Milo.
  • Cool Egyptian relics from 3000BC!

We saw the Mona Lisa.  It’s a bit anticlimactic.  You have built this painting up in your mind for all these years and you get to the room where it is.  There is a throng of people pushing to see it and take photos.  Flash bulbs are popping right left and centre.  We worked our way in the crowd to the front of the mass.  It certainly wasn’t a time to quietly reflect on the asymmetry in her arms or to see if the eyes followed you.  You couldn’t move anywhere.  We took our pictures and spend a good 10 seconds admiring her before letting someone else push their way up to where we were standing.  We stood off to the side and enjoyed watching the crowds, probably more than we did the Mona Lisa.

Now… why does the Louvre not worry about camera flash and its UV destroying the delicate masterpiece that is the Mona Lisa?  Is it because by being behind glass most of the UV is cut out?  Why?  This pictures/no pictures thing gets kind of annoying.

The Louvre is housed in what was previously a royal palace.  They have reconstructed many of the rooms to be as they were back then.  The dining room which seated about 30 of your closest friends was amazing.  The chandeliers extravagant.  After this and the visit to Versailles, it wasn’t hard to see why the peasants killed them all.  They lived so excessively over the top, all from the money they extracted in taxes.  If I was living in dirt and barely eating any bread, I might be inclined to pull the rope on the guillotine myself.

Our only other task for the day was to head back to Louis Vitton to get Eddie’s wallet.  We took the metro a couple of stops and popped up right at correct intersection.  One small problem.  We hadn’t eaten since breakfast and we’d been on our feet for the whole day!  Another 15 euro meal?  This was going to cost us an arm and a leg.  Nope. We hit McDonalds.  Yes, McD’s  in Paris.  For those of you out there that are Pulp Fiction Fans the quarter pounder is really called Le Royal.  LOL!  At 6 euros for a combo, it made for a pretty pricy McChicken but it was good.  Honestly we were pretty hungry and sawdust probably would have tasted good. 

Having brought our energy levels back up from zero we headed over to LV.  We went over to the men’s section and asked for Eddie’s wallet.  This was going to be quick and easy.  Then the dreaded words came from behind me, "Do you have a similar wallet but for women?"  WHAT????  Could that really have been my wife’s voice?  I turned like in one of those action films where the hero sees his love interest being shot.  A second seemed like an eternity.  My mind reeled, "Noooooo!!!!!!"  but it was too late.   The snooty salesman was more than happy to help.  We spent another 30 minutes looking at overpriced means of holding that which you wouldn’t have if you bought one of them.  Sigh.  Women.

Having done our shopping for others, it was now time for us to do something for ourselves that we could afford.  Laundry.  We had one more load of laundry to do and we’d have enough clean laundry to last us until the end of the trip.  From looking at $1000 wallets to washing your undies in a laundromat.   Heh.  Life’s funny how it reminds you of reality.  Tonight we went over to the "Fran Prix" supermarket and picked up some Camembert, ham, salami, wine, water and grapefruit juice.  We had the meat and cheese and wine for dinner along with a baguette from the neighbouring bakery.  Cheap.  Good.  Oh so French. 🙂

Up to the lobby again later to try and find a place for post-Normandy.  I found a Holiday Inn express in Amiens.  Booked.  The post Paris landscape had been reshaped.  We were going to hit the beaches of Normandy on the day between the two nights in Caen.  We would hit Dieppe from Caens to Amiens and then Vimy from Amiens to Calais/Heathrow.  Much better breakdown of driving all ’round.  Some things are just fall into place to make it all work better I guess.

Tomorrow we will be leaving Paris.  What a wonderful city.  Full of so many incredible sights.  I could see living here.  As long as I had an income to match the spending levels that are required.





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