Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Paris: Day Two
Of course, it was early and still dark, so many of my pics are dark and I couldn't use a flash. The staned glass wasn't lit, so it was hard to see, but for that, the pictures of St. Chapelle later on will more than make up for it.
On the way to Notre Dame, we passed this bizarre courtyard Christmas display featuring some igloos (if you're looking at the pics and wondering what the heck was going on.)
Notre Dame was beautiful. We had a mamorable exchange outside with a guy who only spoke French, and when he asked us if we were Catholic, I said, (unthinkingly)"No, we're Americans." This cracked us all up.
There's a gorgeous Nativity scene within Notre Dame that I got a picture of- there were already parishoners there, so I couldn't take flash pictures, so there are very few pics of this place.
We were disappointed to see that the baby Jesus had been removed from the manger, and outside, people had stripped the ornaments from the Christmas tree as high as they could reach, despite barricades placed around it.
We finished up after hearing the introductory Mass and the beautiful, ethereal organ music. Then we headed to a cafe for breakfast.
French breakfast (petit dejuner) is basically the same every day. The meal consists of- croissant, tartine (a slim baguette) served with cream cheese or butter with jam, cafe au lait or hot chocolate, and orange juice. Needless to say, it's Dr. Atkins' worst nightmare. I loved it.
Off to the Louvre!
The pictures don't do the place justice. I should say (in my defense) that the rooms were HUGE, it was still dark out, and a lot of my pictures are incredibly dark. We were also prohibited from using flash or even taking photographs in a lot of areas- including those with the Mona Lisa.
So my photographic documentation of the Louvre is a lot of the outer areas, the Egyptian exhibits and the sculpture. But like I said, it's dark.
We had a truly vile concoction in the Louvre, known as a Croque Monsieur, which would probably have been decent if it hadn't been previously frozen and then partially reheated. This was during our break halfway through- the Louvre took most of the day to see everything.
We nibbled at our nasty sandwiches and I filled out postcards to send to the addresses that I could remember off the top of my head. Thus fortified, we went off to see the rest.
Around four, we ended up back at the hotel with our feet killing us, and we actually took a nap. Reviving around 8PM for dinner, we headed out to the Eiffel Tower at night to take the elevator to the top.
I should say (for those of you who don't understand the blurry photos) that I am an amateur photog, at best. And surrounding all the Parisian attractions there are- well, people. Tourists, regular Parisians, and-
Well, I am guessing the people who were rioting a few weeks back. While I was trying to snap the nighttime shots of the Eiffel Tower, there was literally a guy behind me in the bushes, who was (from the sound of things)peeing.
The rest of these random people were pretty agressive, trying to sell souvenirs to the obvious tourists among us (of which, I was one).
If you stopped for a minute, there would be a guy accosting you and trying to sell you a light-up eiffel tower or keychains, saying things like "Lady, Lady! Wait- You are American yes? Look- Il s'illume! ("It lights up!")Look- Bling bling!"
Yes, I swear to god, they said bling-bling. I got a lot of mileage out of pretending to be blind and deaf and saying, "Non, merci, je ne comprend pas", which neans no, thanks, I don't understand.
I have to admit, I was definitely underwhelmed by the journey to the top of the Eiffel tower. It probably would have been better during the day, although seeing the lights of the city at night were impressive- but at night, it was freezing cold and windy, and full of incredibly rude tourists.
Would you believe me if I said that someone literally used her four-year-old child as a battering ram to clock my Buddy upside the head and take her spot? Because that actually happened!
We were exhasted at the end of the night. Pictures to document the day's adventures are here.
What a long day.....but we had to build up our strength, because the Next Day- DISNEYLAND. Paris style!