Day 8 | Paris
We didn't make it up in time for breakfast this morning -- or I should say, the children and I did not. My husband, naturally, did and did not wake any of us to join him. We headed to the subway to get to the Louvre. On the way, we found a Starbucks and I needed some coffee. My husband was ticked because the children were hungry and wanted something to eat. He felt they should have been up to get the free breakfast at the hotel . . . yet, he did nothing to assist in this matter. (See my growing impatience here.) He huffed and puffed and finally handed over some money to me for my coffee and the children's rolls. We were off to see the Mona Lisa.
Musee du Louvre WAS PACKED! Insanely packed! It was also a GORGEOUS day outdoors! Finally we were seeing some sun in Europe! The louvre is not only one of the world's great museums, it is one of the world's great historical sites. The palace was home to medieval kings and to Emperor Napoleon III. Although there are no longer any monarchs residing there, it has retained the impressive art collections of tits former residents. Thousands of beautiful and historically significant works of art are on display inside the Louvre.
The guards gave my husband some major grief about his backpack and made him check it. It was quite strange because there were other people being admitted with bags larger than my husbands. I think there was a bit of prejudice there towards us Americans! Needless to say, my husband was pissed and this issue just put him in an even worse mood.
We were off to locate the Mona Lisa as this really was the only painting the children wanted to see. The Lourve is so gigantic it literally would take days and days to view everything. We had only set aside a couple of hours and needed to hustle. It is extremely difficult to zip through a museum that is packed with thousands of people intent on wrecking havoc on your agenda!
After we finally located the Mona Lisa, we saw a couple of other interesting main oints inside and then left to explore the outside area and the city.
The crowds inside the Louvre are quite daunting, but this museum is not to be missed. It is worth wandering around the outside of the building to enjoy its elegance as well. We walked through the Jardin des Tuileries gardens and sat down and enjoyed the surrounding area and the sun and regained some strength in our legs from the power strides through the Lourve.
NOTE: use the entrance at the Palais-Royal Musee du louvre metro stop instead of the main visitors entrance! The fountains in the ocurtyard were not on yet as we visited in March, but I know my kids would have loved this area on a hot day.
We bought hot dogs, waffles and crepes from street vendors and ate on the curb.
We walked the Avenue des Champs Elysses - - all . the . way . to . the . Arc! We enjoyed the stoll down this tree lined street, past chic shopes, restaurants and cafes.
We were awed by the size of Napoleon's triumphal arch over the Etoile.The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Napoleon I and this monumental arch at the northwest end of the Champs-Elysees honors those who fought for France in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
The construction of this arch began in 1806 and the 162 foot tall arch was completed in 1836. The six reliefs on the upper facades represent significant moments of the wars. The arcades are decorated with allegorical figures from Roman mythology. Above the frieze of soldiers are 30 shields engraved with the names of the major battles. The inner facades of the smaller supporting arches list the names of 558 French generals.
Climbing the stairs to the Arc de Triomphe nearly killed me! I had to use my inhaler for almost 5 minutes afterwards to revive me. My husband thought we would be visiting the emergency room, but I finally was able to breathe. Not good! But we all enjoyed the view from the roof.
We then walked to the Eiffel Tower. The children were exhausted as we had been walking ALL. DAY . LONG! My daughter refused to take the lift to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The lines were INSANE anyway, so there really was no way were were going UP to the TOP of the Eiffel Tower. She has a strange phobia with elevators and there was no amount of pleading that was going to convince her that she needed to visit the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Gustave Eiffel built the lofty, cast-iron structure for the 1889 Universal Exhibition on the centenary of the French Revolution. Constructed from more than 18,000 pieces of iron held together with 2.5 million rivets, it was due to be taken down 20 years later (CAN YOU IMAGINE?) The advent of radio transmissions saved the Tour Eiffel! More than 120 years later, the 1063 foot high tower has become one of the world's most recognized structures. The tower has three viewing platforms, none of which we were able to see!
We located the subway and made our way back to the hotel. The sun was setting and my husband's theory of being indoors at sunset was instituted. Everyone slept well again this evening and jet lag had finally left us all.