Travel

Paris 2011 day 3

On the first Sunday of every month the museums in Paris are free to enter so we planned to visit the Louvre and spend most of the day there.  First we got up and packed and then took the metro to Garre du Nord to leave our luggage in the lockers there.  We had breakfast in the station and then headed back into Paris.

Kayleigh and Aimee went to look at a church with beautiful stained glass windows which we had tried to see yesterday but it had been closed.  Harry went off to look at stamps in the stamp quarter.  Liz, Helen and I went to a market near the Bastille where we looked at all the lovely food and then ate some.

We had arranged to meet back at the Louvre at 2 and when we arrived the others were already in and gave us some insider information that allowed us to not queue for hours in the hot sun.  The underground entrance near the Arc had no queues at all while the one to enter by the glass pyramid stretched all round the square!

The Louvre is enormous!  We spent ages wandering round before we saw anything other than statues of Mary with the infant Christ!  There is such a huge variety of beautiful things here that it would take several days straight to even glance at all of the interesting stuff.

We started off looking at statues and carvings and marvelling at just how old some of them are and then headed towards the paintings as we had arranged to meet the others in the room with the Mona Lisa.  The Mona Lisa itself was very disappointing, you couldn’t get close to it because of the security measures and the massive crowd pushed up against them but even if you could have got close, I’m not sure what the fuss was about.  At least now I can emulate Marvin the Paranoid Android: “I’ve seen it; it’s rubbish”.

We split up again and with Helen and Liz I headed out through the painting galleries looking for the state rooms.  The place is so massive that Liz had to give up and sit down before we had even left the galleries (she is pregnant so had been struggling with the amount of walking and climbing we had been doing all weekend).  Helen and I bravely carried on alone and bravely spent some time heading the wrong way after being confused by the layout of the galleries.

Eventually we found our way to two sets of staterooms which were beautifully decorated.  The second of these had been used by Napoleon.  We then headed back down stairs to see more sculptures before heading out to meet the others under the Arc.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around Paris before heading back to the station to head back to the UK.  We crossed the Pont des Arts which is now famous for couples attaching padlocks to the railings as a symbol of their love.  We spent a while reading the inscriptions and taking photos.

All too soon it was time to head back to the station and back to England.  After an uneventful journey, we were back in London at Aimee’s place.  Helen got a few more birthday presents and then we all went to bed.

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