Saturday was spent at the Louvre. The Louvre is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly mindbogglingly big it is. We arrived early and lucky we did because there was already a huge line. Seemingly having a Paris Pass or Museum Pass does very little to help you to skip the queues. We were put into another queue, where in true Europe fashion, we merged with two other ‘priority’ lines into one. As soon as we arrived we raced up to see the Mona Lisa before the crowds descended. Anyone who’s ever seen the Mona Lisa knows how underwhelming it is. We snapped a quick pic (Ben got a selfie) and got outta there. There’s not much more to say really. We spent the day being amazed at the age of the paintings as well as seeing works from artists such as Rembrandt, Michelangelo, oh yea and that Da Vinci guy. Like the British Museum, we barely scraped the surface. A good indication that we need to go back.
After a day at the Louvre we went out for dinner to one of the local Brasseries for a meal of snails and Beef Bourguinon. Three courses for €16 each ain’t bad. Unfortunately, the waiter misheard Ben’s order and brought out fish soup (Ben hates seafood) for the entrée. Luckily Mary tasted the dish first after exclaiming that it didn’t look like onion soup. He eventually did get his onion soup.
After a reasonably big Saturday night our first port of call on Sunday was a local bakery to stock up on €1 croissants and assorted pastries. This also happened to be the hottest day Paris has had for a while at 26 degrees.
We walked through the Jardins des Plantes (some lovely gardens) to view cherry blossoms in bloom and ponder why the French don’t allow you to walk or sit on the grass. We then headed along the Seine and over a bridge towards Notre Dame. This is another good example where the Museum Pass doesn’t allow you to skip the queue, which was huge. We happened to see a few people sneak in the front ahead of the regular line so we decided to give it a shot. This happened to be the line for mass attendees. A couple of euro as a donation allowed us to skip the queue. Being at the Notre Dame during mass to hear the choir was breathtaking. After a quick coffee at the bar (when you go to a brasserie in Paris, sit at the bar, it’s cheaper) we headed to the Shoah memorial – Paris’s holocaust museum. France tends to keep quiet about its role during the holocaust and the memorial is very much a repentance for their actions during this time.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent at the Eiffel Tower which while lovely was chaotic. Before we left home we heard stories of all the tricksy gypsy’s in Paris that you need to be careful of. Apart from a few pick pocketers (one gave a good go at trying to pick Mary’s pocket), this had not been our experience at all, until we arrived at the Eiffel Tower. The whole area is just plain dodgy and most of the grass was sectioned off with large metal fences which made the area quite ugly really. After wandering around we decided it was too much of a tourist trap so we headed to a nice patch of grass to admire the iron lady from afar.