Saturday, December 10, 2011

Notre-Dame and the Louvre, oh my!

Today was quite the busy day. 

We woke up to a beautiful albeit chilly 4 degrees and walked to the local coffee shop and bakery for breakfast.  I think by tomorrow they should have our orders memorised :)

We decided to go straight to Notre-Dame Cathedral and take advantage of the first sun we've seen so far in Paris.  Notre-Dame has always been one of my favorite places and remains one of the most impressive churches I have ever seen. The architecture and all of the Gothic design elements are quite literally impressive.  We walked around the church and got different vantage points of the beautiful church and wandered around the very eclectic and artsy streets that surround it.  We even had a Parisian-style lunch of a panini on the go, purchased from a restaurant window on the restaurant alley beside the Notre-Dame. 

After a few hours we decided to make our way to the Louvre by foot, it was a beautiful day and it's not that far.  Surprisingly, for a Saturday, the line-up at the Louvre wasn't bad, we only waiting about 10 minutes at the main entrance and no wait at the automatic ticket machines. 

We only wanted to spend a few hours and really only wanted to see one part of the Denon wing of the museum, we wanted to see the Mona Lisa, the Wedding of Cana as well as the Venus of Milo.  I must admit, we aren't good museum visited, we glances at paintings and sculptures and really just paid closer attention when something that pleased our eye caught our attention.  Or sometimes when something was really bad (to our eyes) we wandered over to see whose masterpiece we were witnessing.

I was happy to see the Mona Lisa with more mature eyes.  I was 14 when I first saw her and I remember being very disappointed. She's not quite as small as I remember her being but she is surrounded by as many people. I believe they've moved her since I last saw her because she's now in the same room as the wedding of Cana which is still as impressive as the first time I saw it.  It takes up a full wall and you could easily spend hours interpreting the details and the subtleties of the painting.  I noticed that only two characters are looking directly at the audience, Jesus and a women on the left of the painting, I wonder who she's suppose to be given that Mary Madeleine is on Jesus' left. 

Venus of Milo

Veronese's Wedding of Cana

You can't get a good picture of the Mona Lisa who's behind 6 inches of plexi glass and behind a barricade 10 feet away!

We saw a lot in the three hours we were there and was quite satisfied with my visit to the Louvre.  I was even happier when I found a Starbucks in the Louvre.  What better way to end an afternoon like we had then with a tall vanilla latte???

The metro ride home was quite the experience.  I thought yesterday was an adventure this evening was even worse.  If ever you're in Paris at rush hour, even on the weekend, and are at a station with plastic wall barricades along the track be forewarned, the platform will get full and the train will arrive at full capacity.  It's every man, woman and child for himself as you try to negotiate for a place on the train.  I wish I had been able to take out my camera to take a picture because I don't think I could ever draw an accurate portrayal in words.  Dad and I squeezed into the train that was already full much to the dismay of the people already on the train, but then 5 more people threw themselves onto the train.  The guy closest to me was less polite than I was last night when I backed in with mom.  He used his elbow as he literally plowed in.  I was already sandwiched against the other people on the train  so this literally knocked the wind out of me.  My yelp of surprise and pain did little to stop him, he kept pushing until he was certain that he was staying on the train.  But I think the most surprising to me was at the next stop.  As we waiting on the platform that filled with people, two older Chinese ladies that were about 4foot8, 80 pounds dressed to the nines and all made up, came up along side us.  When the train arrived, full of course, and people jostled to get on, one of them literally pushed me into the train, it was like I had a 200 pound linebacker behind me!  Even once we were on the train and sardined together, I guess she wanted more room for herself because she planted both her hands on my lower back and pushed.  I really couldn't believe the moxie, and to think, I almost offered them help on the platform because they looked a little lost.  I don't know how Parisians do this every day without getting into fights.  I can't see people getting away with behaviour like this in Montreal, there would be brawls all the time.  It's way too stressful and physically demanding!

We decided to have a night in the apartment so we ordered pizza from the restaurant next door and bought a bottle of wine for 3.8E that was really quite good and had mille-feuilles from the local bakery.  Overall, an excellent way to end the evening.

No comments:

Post a Comment