Behind-the-Scenes: Paris Day 6
Today is day six!
We slept in this morning and now the bags under our eyes are looking much better. Ruth has been enjoying a croissant with jam each morning for her breakfast and since I don’t enjoy passing out on strangers laps, I’m a Müesli girl. My bowl of “substance” keeps me going like the Energizer Bunny, until I see a baguette with fresh tomato. Our outing started across the street with a visit inside Notre Dame Cathedral, and, lucky us, we arrived just as morning mass was wrapping up. Ruth was fascinated by the whole thing, so we stood for awhile and watched. I wanted to hear the organ or choir, but the only sounds we heard were feet shuffling by. I had to stop by the candles to take a picture because I like candles and stained glass windows…I wouldn’t mind either in my castles – the ones that my French ancestors built for me in 1066, when they came for an uninvited visit to England and stayed a little too long.
After walking through Notre Dame, we went outside to get in line to climb the steps up to the top of the towers because I really wanted to take a picture of the famous, little gargoyle who’s up there with the perfect view. However, the line was ridiculously long (sleeping in was, clearly, a mistake) and we finally gave up and continued walking west until we arrived at Sainte-Chapelle, a royal medieval Gothic chapel located near the Palais de la Cité, on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris. I’ve been in many gorgeous cathedrals, but this has got to be the most beautiful stained glass church in the world. “Along with the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle is one of the earliest surviving buildings of the Capetian royal palace on the Île de la Cité. Although damaged during the French Revolution, and restored in the 19th century, it has one of the most extensive 13th-century stained glass collection anywhere in the world.” – Wikipedia.
After a relaxing lunch at home eating more microwave raviolis and pâté, we went back out and headed to the Musée du Louvre. This time we went inside and searched for Mona Lisa. Yes, we are those kind of girls. We would fall asleep in a history of art class. However, if you’re talking about history that’s another thing all together. We love European history! Thankfully, both Ruth and I share the same level of art appreciation and so it worked out splendidly when we decide to “see” the Louvre in sixty minutes. 🙂 We found Mona Lisa sitting behind some very thick glass, surrounded by most of Asia and a few odd white children. It was more entertaining taking pictures of them taking pictures. On our way out, we did enjoy a room filled with MASSIVE paintings that were absolutely incredible. So, there, we’re not completely anti-art appreciation.
Next, we rode the train across the city to the Eiffel Tower. (The ParisPass doesn’t include the Eiffel Tower.) We decided it was such a lovely evening that we’d go walk around that area and take pictures, even though we are “scheduled” to come back here in the morning. In this part of the city, you have to be extra careful so you don’t find yourself missing your money or your purse, and, sure enough, there were several different gypsy groups loitering. As we walked away from the Eiffel Tower and up towards the golden statues across the park, we watched, what we later found out, is a classic gypsy game which targets naive tourists and steals their money. Here’s a YouTube video of the “cup and ball” scam. Watch and be wise!
I don’t give my money away to anyone, especially when the only bills they were demanding were 50 Euros. No way! After watching the “game” for awhile, I realized what they were doing and started warning the tourists who were walking by and stopping to watch. Clearly, that didn’t go over very well, since a big and very tall man with a thick accent stood right in front of me, growling in my face to stop talking. (His mommy must not have taught him manners when he was a child.) This angry man and his little thieving gang belong locked up somewhere under ground. Deep under ground. We found out that these groups aren’t just in Paris, but in other European cities, so watch out for them. They work in groups to make it look like people actually win money by picking the correct cup with the ball underneath.
Finally, it was time for our long-awaited boat ride along the Seine. Our boat left from a dock very close to the Eiffel Tower and we found seats on the top deck at the back, so we had an unobstructed view as we sailed to Notre Dame Cathedral and back again. Paris is beautiful at night with all the bridges lit up and the gorgeous buildings along both banks. After dark, every hour, on the hour, the Eiffel Tower sparkles for a minute. We arrived back in time to see it up close. Here’s the Eiffel Tower at Night video taken from our boat.
I really wanted to get just one more picture of the Eiffel Tower from the same place we had been earlier in the day, so we walked back through the park to the golden statues. I’m so glad we did because it’s one of my favorite pictures (it’s not posted here because I took it with my camera). It was now almost midnight and most of the trains had closed for the night. For a while, we thought we might need to get a taxi or walk all the way back across the city to our home. Thankfully, we finally found a train that would take us part way and then we switched to another line. That was a relief because we weren’t that excited about walking all night or selling a kidney to pay for a taxi.
We made it home. Tomorrow our schedule says we are going up the Eiffel Tower, visiting Les Egouts de Paris, walking the Champs-Elysées, climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, and then eating our last dinner in Paris before packing and cleaning our apartment. We are already anticipating the next few days in beautiful Venice, Italy! Oh, but I digress! We haven’t left Paris yet and we don’t want to miss the Parisian sewer tour (Les Egouts de Paris).
Bonne nuit from Paris!
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