Saturday, September 26, 2009

Walking Tour of Paris

We started off at Notre Dame. Daren, Justin and I had been here before, but it was closed. This time we got to go in and it was pretty fantastic.
The shear mass of it was spectacular. Construction was started in the 1600's!! We just don't build buildings to last like we used to I guess. It was also really fun to come here after having read the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The tour guide told us that this book really saved Notre Dame. Victor Hugo wrote about the church at a time when it had been abandoned and was falling into decay. The city was considering leveling it, but after he wrote his book and it became world famous people began visiting it. So they decided to repair it. Thanks Victor!

We walked along the river Seine. I have noticed something very healthy about the French. They relax! All along the river and the parks and everywhere we went there were people just sitting and talking or relaxing or whatever. I think we could take a good lesson from that. From what I gather they are not a slothful people, they just know the importance of doing nothing some times.

Alond one of the bridges over the Seine you can see all these sort of horrible faces. The guide told us that one of the King Henry's....can't remember which had a huge party one night where he and all his friends got drunk. Toward the end of the night he had a sketch artist come and draw all of his friends and comissioned someone to carve them all into this bridge. Not sure if I would want to be immortalized in that state...
One little intersting fact about this building. In one of the Bourne movies Jason Bourne is running between some tall white lettering....well that's it there.

We walked over the oldest foot bridge in the city. Which is aparently the most romantic bridge in Paris. Couples have started engraving padlocks with their initials and locking them to the bridge and throwing the keys into the Seine. We did see some of those and they were alsoo having a unique art display along the bridge. All artistically designed refrigerators....que romantico.... haha.

Then we wandered through the Louvre. The tour guide told us that there are 35.000 pieces of art in this building and that if you were to stop at each piece of art for only 30 seconds it would take several months to see it all. Yikes! Daren....remember how you got kicked out for taking a picture of the Mona Lisa? Well I guess other people had made attempts at damaging her, including one English woman throwing a tea cup (how rude!) and so now she is behind bulletproof glass.

This little beauty is on one of the arched entryways. The tour guide told us that each cheribum representes earth, wind, water and fire. But most people just call it the barfing babies!

Next we walked through this big park. I really wish I could remember the name, but French is a little tough for me to remember. Around this huge pond are all these fantastic marble statues. Mom....what do you think are the chances of us getting something like this in Visalia???

We walked down a long grassy, tree lined lane to the other end of the park. Again you see more Parisians sitting around just taking in the day. No wonder they sit around! They have such fantastic places to do so. I can really see how you could get lost in this city and just sit around and philosophize in your journal and drink tea all day.
Then we came to this beautiful sight. The Eiffle tower. In my opinion eye sore by day but beauty by night. These fountains here are really beautiful as well. I think they may have been the ones featured in "Sabrina". What do you think mom?

This ancient obelisk stands in the middle of the square. At one point during the Napoleon dynasty he took over Egypt. He said it was a gift from the Egyptians but they are pretty sure he just stole it. They are still trying to get it back.
And the Arch de Triumph....another monument to the successful battles of Napoleon Bonepart. This guy was a trip! I am going to try and go to see his grave. He is aparently interred there in seven boxes to make him look bigger. He was only 5'6" and he looks like kind of a weenie.

After a big day here we are on the metro. I love the metro!! It is set up the same as the one in Washington DC. Great memories. The only thing annoying about this ride is that it was taking us back to our hostel....just a few blocks from the Moulin Rouge...sketchy! We pretty much had to run from the train stop to the hostle door while tons of loitering guys from middle eastern countries yelled stuff that thankfully I didn't understand. The hostel was fine, but getting there was a little unnerving. We are going to try and figure out something else for tomorrow night.

This video is of a chellist outside the Lovre. So magical!

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