Thursday, July 9, 2009

Paris Part One


Paris is a beautiful city all wrought iron and massive wooden doors leading to quiet flower-filled courtyards. Everywhere you look svelte Parisian men and women navigate the narrow streets with either a baguette or a cell phone, or both, in hand. And yes they are impeccably dressed and gorgeous. Here in Paris one would never conceive of going into town in, say, one’s pantalon du jogging. It would be un catastrophe! Unfortunately for me I did not have quite the correct footwear for Paris (flip-flops) and so I must report a few scornful looks at my feet from various shopkeepers. I was also not prepared to drop 220 Euros on a pair of appropriate shoes so flip-flops it remained when we stepped out of our hotel for our first full day. We bought tickets for the hop-on hop-off open-top bus (also known as the ‘montez-descendez’ bus that takes you, it seems, absolutely everywhere and also includes a hop-on hop-off ‘bateau-bus’ on the Seine river. Very touristy but very effective if there are children involved.


Our first stop was the Louvre. This famous Paris landmark is free for kids and, at 9 Euros per adult, totally worth every penny. I think you would need an entire week to see everything in this place. As we did not have a week, I opted instead for the flash tour which covers all the major pieces (if you run) in about two hours. We started in the basement (I’m sure it’s not called the basement but whatever) where the remains of a medieval castle can be found. Then we sprinted up the stairs, passed Winged Victory, had a wave at the Venus de Milo (she didn’t wave back – hard without arms I guess), sprinted through several rooms full of priceless works of art and straight to the Italian Renaissance painters section to spend a few minutes with La Joconde aka the Mona Lisa.

DSC03954 DSC03963

This was Zoë and Jacob’s main reason to come to the Louvre (I didn’t want to tell them that it’s everyone’s reason) and they were suitably impressed despite being disappointed that it is behind glass. After that it was pretty much all over as I tried desperately to interest them in a few other key pieces like some of Michelangelo’s sculptures (les captifs) and some other stuff by art heavyweights Renoir and Vermeer but they were pretty much done. I’m not sure if you’ve been to the Louvre but you have to go through one amazing room after another to get anywhere and lets face it after a while one 2000 year old roman bust staring at you through blank eyes looks pretty much like the next one. We ended the visit with lunch on the terrace over looking the square (very nice – look for the Café Mollien if you go) and a mad dash round the gift shop which is not a gift shop (as such) so much as a museum with price tags. Things were not cheap is what I’m trying to say. It was a great visit, if fleeting, but actually not a bad way to see some of the world’s best art, with children, in less than 100 minutes.


The rest of the day was taken up with a somewhat unsuccessful visit to the Eiffel Tower where we waited inline for an hour before realizing that it would be at least another hour and to be honest I wasn’t that thrilled about having to watch my children plunge to their death from the top of the Tower anyway. So we ducked and weaved our way through the Gypsies who seem to live there and made for the Jardin de Tuilleries where we had spotted a fair the day before. It was actually one of the better fairs I have encountered and we spent a few fun hours eating Parisian hotdogs (in a baguette of course), playing carnival games and going on rides including a huge Ferris wheel that you will be pleased to hear I went on (after Jacob told me to ‘Just suck it up mum and get on the frickin’ Ferris wheel’. It was a beautiful night and the view from the top was awesome. Or what I saw of it through eyes clenched tightly shut and blurred with sweat. I’m sure I left a nice handprint on the solid steel of the ‘cage’ we were in as well. Regardless, I actually enjoyed the experience. Sort of. We all fell into bed at 11pm and slept very deeply indeed.

DSC03987 DSC04015 DSC03941

No comments:

Post a Comment