Sunday, November 06, 2016

France&Fez Day 15: Paris Pt 3

Our last full day in Paris, we headed straight to the Louvre (after a brief stop at the RER train station at Luxembourg Gardens to make sure of our connections for our way to the airport the next day.)  The palace is huge and beautiful, the building itself still containing amazing architectural features, decorated ceilings, and huge spaces.  It became readily apparent that we could easily spend years exploring this amazing place!

The Louvre also had LOTS of people, though I am sure this was not a particularly crowded day.  This was really my first annoying experience with phenomenon of the selfie.  It is now not enough to take pictures of the Mona Lisa.  Everyone must take a picture of THEMSELVES with the Mona Lisa.  There is a whole different blog meditation needed on that one... Suffice it to say, the practice is extremely irritating in a  crowd!

But what amazing art and history!  In addition to the Louvre's perhaps most famous inhabitants (Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Nike of Samothrace) we saw Botticelli frescoes, and more famous paintings than I can name, more of Egypt than I am likely to see again, and many cool and beautiful artifacts, like Persian walls.

After a full morning of wandering and only seeing a small portion of this amazing museum, we crossed the courtyard to the Tuileries Gardens, where we had a delightful picnic and stroll.  

From the main path in the Tuileries, you can look down to the place de la Concord with its Obelisk, and beyond down the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.  (The white tents on Place de la Concorde were for a running event taking place the day before.)  But before we headed onto the Place de Concorde, we turned aside to the Orangerie, the lovely post-impressionistic museum. It was originally built to shelter orange trees, but Monet redesigned two of the rooms to make oval galleries for his eight huge "nympheades" or "water lily" paintings.

The other Cezannes and Van Goghs were lovely.  But the water lilies were sublime.

Then we crossed the Place de la Concorde, where Madame Guillotine did her most famous work during the Revolution, and caught a bus up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.

The traffic circle around the Arc is the largest in the world.  And a tunnel leads under it to the Arc.  Then, up almost 400 spiral stairs, and you reach the viewing area up on top.  The clouds that were gathering and darkening as we rode towards the Arc decided to begin drizzling while we climbed the stairs, and we came out on a gray and wet Paris-- apparently a very typical view!  It was a lovely way to end our Paris visit!

We caught the bus back to apartment, and stopped at the frozen food store for shepherd's pie for dinner.  France has "frozen food stores", where everything that can possibly be frozen can be found!  Lots of high quality foods, like entrees and appetizers, and fresh frozen herbs and spices, can be found there along with the frozen fruits and veggies one would expect.  We spent the evening repacking, and got to bed early since our trip home was going to start early the next morning, and would be a very long day.

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