Paris, the city for lovers! It is quite a beautiful place with the old structures jutting up next to new ones. Before I met up with the walking tour I walked all the “TV” areas (and more) of Paris so I could get some pictures without being rushed and I must admit that when I came upon the Louvre, I got chills. Maybe it was the idea of what it represents as given to us by “The DaVinci Code”; the final resting place of Mary Magdalene. I just don’t know, but it was a bit emotional for me, seeing it for the first time. I made it to the Louvre, the Obelisque and onward to the Charles de Gaulle-Etoile roundabout (which has 14 streets that merge into it and not surprisingly has the highest rate of accidents than any other part of the city) to see the Arc de Triomphe (which I believe there is an Arc in New York City that was modeled after the Arc in Paris) before heading to Place St. Michel for the guided walking tour.
Unlike free walking tours I’ve taken elsewhere, this one was sadly not very memorable. The guide I believe was new, or rather for her sake I hope she’s new. She seemed to make more of an effort in acting dramatically and putting on some sort of theatrical show than telling interesting stories. There were little facts from each place that were interesting of course, but nothing that really stuck in the memory bank as being “really cool” or “oh wow!”. It is really a shame given the rich history Paris has. Bummer! But at least I did get some more exercise during the tour, was shown a few places I probably would not have found on my own and most importantly, learned about the Versailles tour which I signed up for once the walking tour was over.
Pictures taken on the way to the walking tour meeting spot:
Fashion week was in town while I was in Paris and there were many temporary constructions going up to accommodate the event. I never did notice any models or supermodels and what not however, but it was cool knowing it was going on.
The Louvre: home of the Mona Lisa (which apparently is disappointingly small and more famous for it having been stolen for 2 years than for any other reason); there are over 35,000 pieces of art in this museum!! If one spent 8 hours a day looking at each painting for one minute after 2 months they still wouldn’t get through all the artwork! Lesson for visitors: have a plan before you go of what you want to see!
Jardin des Tuileries & the Obelisque: the obelisque is an egyptian obelisk that was originally located at the entrance of the Luxor Temple in Egypt! It is over 3,000 years old and has a twin that is still at the Luxor Temple in Egypt. This particular one was moved to Paris in 1833. Cool stuff! Thanks Wikipedia!
For 80 Euro you can drive one of these babies for a whopping 8 kilometers!!!
Arc de Triomphe: It does have a sister Arc in New York City! I looked it up:)
Eiffel Tower: Not surprisingly when this was first erected the Parisians despised the very sight of it and thought it a scar on the face of Paris. They didn’t see the use for it so the artist, thinking on his feet, said “of course it’s useful! It can be used as a radio antenna!”. It did function as such and apparently did work, as it warned Parisians of Hitler’s approach. I went back to the tower the following day in the evening to snap the other picts as it got dark:)
Walking tour bits: Place St. Michel– a fountain depicting Saint Michael battling demons and keeping Paris safe; Pont des Arts– stop with the freaking love locks already!!! There are apparently so many locks on this bridge that it is making the bridge unstable. There is a movement in Paris to get people to stop adding locks, lol!! So much for true love! Though the bridge is getting unstable, it certainly didn’t stop anyone from walking over it; Notre Dame– Famous church actually located on a teeny island in the River Seine! The gargoyles are there to scare away evil spirits and also function as drains to funnel rain off the roof. Love the double function!
I know I haven’t provided as much information at this location about all the spectacular places in the city, but again, I write from what I’ve learned while there. I could cheat and look things up, but then I wouldn’t be giving you an accurate account of my experiences. Granted I do look up little things here and there such as I did for the Obelisk above (I was personally interested in what it was all about) but I don’t make a habit of it for sure.