Here it is, day three of Katie’s Semi-Grand Tour. Today we took on the Louvre (ooh, ahh!) and the Galeries Lafayette and Montmarte, Sacre Coeur and the red light district (should one capitalize “red light district?” one thinks not). It was a lot of ground to cover, but by gum we did it! And we arrived back at the apartment tonight to find – ta da! drum roll please, a repaired elevator!
We got off to what seemed to us a late-ish start of around 11:30am but turned out to be fine. The good news is we all slept well and were feeling pretty acclimated. First stop was the Louvre where we bought what has turned out to be the second smartest purchase of the trip. The first smartest purchase was the seven day Pass Navigo Découverte – this magical card has a chip in it that works like a dream in all of the metro stations and also covers all of the RER trains – it event covered the funicular railway up to Sacre Coeur!. Worth every penny – we bought ours at Roissypole (way less hassle than Charles de Gaulle, something we learned during our volcanic trip). And let me just say: what up America! Why no smart chips in credit cards? Do you know how much easier all of our lives would be if we stepped up and behaved like the big kids? But I digress.
The second smartest thing we bought were the Paris Museum Passes. these handy suckers cover everything from the Louvre to Versailles to Notre Dame and a whole bunch of stuff in between. We used it a lot today, bopping from the Louvre to the Galeries Lafayette to Montmarte and back and it all worked flawlessly.
The last time I was inside the Louvre there was no pyramid outside the Louvre. In other words, it had been a while. The insides are quite different and most of the art has been relocated (though the Mona Lisa is as small as I remember and still behind bulletproof glass). I’m still trying to figure out the point of the pyramid (though i think it looks cool and it all makes me really want to watch The Da Vinci Code again). We hit the highlights: the Venus De Milo, Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa and assorted Madonnas and children. And is it me, or do a lot of those stutues seem pretty strangely current? From the cloud surfing little angel that was freaking the beejesus out of some Renaissance so-and-so to the random Greek guy looking for 3G in a pre-mobile world to the Greek guys with their tiny twisted… well, anyway, there’s a lot of really awesome art in the Louvre!
After the Louvre we went to the Galeries Lafayette which was easily the largest mall I have ever seen full of more expensive clothing and shoes than I could ever afford to buy. Happily outside the Galeries the street vendors were another story and I bought a nice scarf to help hide my hopeless American-ishness.
From the Galeries we moved along to Montmartre and took the funicular railway up to the top to visit Sacre Coeur then walked down into the Moulin Rouge area. It was still daylight when we got there so it wasn’t as exciting as it is late at night but it was still pretty fun seeing it again. Of course, Katie was seeing it all for the first time which has made it a lot of fun for us old cynical travelers.
We wrapped up the day with dinner at what we now consider one of our neighborhood joints and enjoyed French pizzas and a nice Bordeaux and a really drunk French guy who didn’t give a crap that we didn’t speak any French. I gleaned enough to understand that he and his wife were on the outs. “nuff said there! But anyway — that repaired elevator! Life is really good!
Tomorrow is all about dead stuff.