Sunday, June 7, 2015

I'd Take Paris...Again!

Our second and last day in Paris began with that oh so boring bus tour that I spoke about in my last post, you know, the one that put us all to sleep.  Well the snoozefest part wasn't only because of the monotone-voiced tour guide, I have to admit.  We'd had a late night the night before as Ivan allowed the kids to have some comfort food...AKA McDonalds...after seeing the Eiffel Tower and we chaperones were probably up a bit too late, as well after having dinner so late.  Anyway, once the that long tour had finally finished, it was time for the rest and the best of and furious!

This is why I must visit Paris...and Amsterdam...once more.  Our visits to these awesome places now seem but a blur to me, but still I wouldn't have traded any of it for the world.

By the time we'd gotten dropped off from the bus tour, it was time for some free time along the Avenue des Champs Elysees (pronounced "shom-ee -lezay").  Think Fifth Avenue in New York.  This beautiful thoroughfare was lined with shops and eateries, department stores, and more shops, and it was framed at one end by the iconic Arc de Triomphe.  We were lucky to  have a couple of hours to explore here, and it was the first time I went off on my own.  Other than enjoy the cool atmosphere, and of course the cool le Arc, the shopping was really the best thing to see and do here, and soon enough we were off to the Louvre.

Now, the Louvre was one of the places I had kind of dreaded.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, an art aficionado, and this place has got a lot of art!  With over 35,000 works of art, it is said that you could spend about three months, 24 hours per day, looking at each piece for about a minute or two. Well that's great if you like that sort of thing, but as for me, I'd rather be exploring.

Francesca and Joanne outside the Louvre

The grounds to the landmark museum are gorgeous, with gardens everywhere, and a mini-Arc de Triomphe at the center.  The building itself is a former palace of Louis XVI, and a cool glass pyramid sits at the center of its U shape.  Though I could've skipped the museum altogether, I opted to check out at least some of what it had to offer, and it was indeed a cool place.  I probably would've regretted it anyway if I had not seen the Louvre's most famous work of art, the Mona Lisa.

By the time we'd gotten to the Louvre, there was not a lot of time left in the day.  We had dinner reservations sometime in the early evening and so we only had a couple of hours left in Paris.  The next morning we'd be leaving for Zurich, Switzerland, so this was pretty much it.  I followed most everyone towards the entrance of this immense museum, and my pal Joanne, myself, and a group of about ten to fifteen kids set out in search of Mona.  Poor Audrey got stuck with one of the girls, who just happened to get sick...poor things!

From the maps and the various markers we looked at, it seemed as if she wasn't too deep into the halls of this ginormous place, but she was.  Ugh, having to push through and maneuver around the crowds of people seemed to take forever, and finally, after about another ten or fifteen minutes, we finally reached the room where she was.

I've said it before and I'll say it a thousand times over again: what the heck is so special about the Mona Lisa?  I'm sure somebody knows the answer.  To me, it isn't that special, really, but it is famous, and so there was a wait and I had to patiently wade through throngs of people just to get near her.  By the time I was close enough to take a quick pic, I was done!  I mean really, there were so many other pieces of art that were more beautiful in this place, but ah well, I got my shot.

By the time I'd seen the great Mona Lisa, our free time at the Louvre was up, and the rest of Paris that I got to experience that evening left me wanting more.  The Bridge of Locks was a cool thing...that, we had learned about on our bus tour earlier in the day, and we paid a visit, as some of the kids wanted to leave theirs in addition to the many that had been left by lovers past.  The guardrails of this particular bridge is simply covered with padlocks, those which people have left to profess their undying love for another. Though I'd never heard of it, the tradition has undoubtedly caught on, as we were told that the bridge had to be reinforced because it became too heavy.

Me n Audrey on the Bridge of Locks

Other than a short walk around town by the Opera House, which I enjoyed, that was it for Paris.  Our next stop would be Zurich and Lucerne in Switzerland, but I left Paris with a yearning to do it again...

Check out other posts on my trip to Europe and stay tuned for more:


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