Thursday, Oct 6
Monday, Oct 17 - Paris!
Saw lots of Paris today! The weather couldn’t have been better. Got a croissant for breakfast and took the Metro (subway) down to the Louvre museum. We spent three hours there and still didn’t make a dent. Saw the “Mona Lisa” and the “Venus de Milo,” as well as a million other paintings and sculptures. We enjoyed the sculpture the most. Also saw Michelangelo’s “Dying Slave.” Went through the Egyptian and Roman and Greek exhibits. What an enormous museum! The building itself is a work of art.
Ate lunch in a café in the Louvre, then walked down the Avenue des Champs-Élysèes and through the Tuileries Gardens. This was like a huge park, with flowers, grass, fountains and benches, and a few small cafes. We walked past a man who had tamed a bunch of songbirds, and they flew right down into this hands, landed on his arms and even let him pet them.
We continued on to the Arc De Triomphe, which is probably three miles from the Louvre, down the Champs-Élysées. Then we proceeded to walk up what felt like three million stairs to the top of the Arc. I about keeled over. But the view was unbelievable! Paris is much bigger than I’d thought, it goes on for miles to every horizon. We could see all the major landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower. It was breezy up there, which was nice after climbing so many steps! While at the top, I looked down and watched a car hit a motorcycle. The rider got up and walked, but his motorbike was a bit mangled.
We decided to try to see Sainte-Chapelle cathedral before we went to eat dinner near the Eiffel Tower. The stained glass was supposed to be unbeatable. But they closed it up 10 minutes before we arrived. So we took the Metro to the École Militaire (military school) exit and got to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up right after sunset.
I’m glad we saw it at twilight, it was much more dramatic. We watched joggers and people walking their dogs on the Champ-de-Mars. There were also several bats swooping overhead, and we were entertained watching some dogs try to chase the bats. They looked like they had gone crazy. Could they hear the bats’ echolocation, I wonder?
We had dinner at a café. Pat keeps complaining that I’m too lucky in ordering just the right thing, but he’s right! I had a beef rump steak that tasted just like filet minòn. We shared a crème brulèe for dessert – YUM! – then took the Metro back to our hotel. Pat fell asleep in the bathtub! His back was hurting from all the walking.
The French seemed very friendly, and the language is enjoyable to listen to, if somewhat mystifying. Many people speak some English, but not all! I thought my Italian was bad, but I was lost with French, it doesn’t sound anything like it’s spelled. They skip over letters, especially the last three or four, as if they can’t be bothered with them.