Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower

This morning, we got to the Louvre - the very famous Paris museum housing priceless works of art such as the Mona Lisa - later than we'd planned.  It's free on the first Sunday of the month, so the queue was a mile long.  And I'm not kidding.  We waited in the queue for one hour and thirty five minutes to enter the famous former palace, once the home of Francois the First.  

With about 20 minutes left to wait, a young man sneakily joined our queue a little ahead of us.  No one noticed him join the queue.  I was annoyed, but was leaning towards saying nothing.  Jean was very annoyed.  When he invited some girl to join him, our annoyance increased.  Jean decided to pick a fight with him, so I joined in quickly.  We were no sooner arguing with the two than everyone in the queue around us joined in as well, and we hounded the two rascals away.

Once inside, we had just two things we wanted to see.  One was the Venus de Milo, discovered in 1820, and believed to be the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.  The other was the Mona Lisa.  The Louvre is an absolutely amazing building, a credit to the French.

Later, we arrived at the Trocadero, where I had a baguette, and Jean had a 'Nutella Banane' crepe.  Here, we laid eyes for the first time on the Eiffel Tower, and strolled down the hill towards it.  At the Tower, I queued to go up.  I went to the very top, which I'd not done on my previous visits.  Like at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Jean stayed on the ground, having a fear of heights.  Whereas the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, the Eiffel Tower stands 281 metres high (the top observation level).  Whereas the view from the Burj Khalifa is of newish buildings built upon a sandy desert, the buildings of Paris are much, much older, more densely situated, and in a more aesthetic landscape with the Seine river and pleasant parks here and there.

We left the Eiffel Tower, accidentally finding the Australian embassy nearby, and caught the Metro to the Notre Dame.  We didn't go inside, but walked around the outside of it.  We strolled for some time along the Seine until we came to the renowned Pont Neuf.  There, we crossed to the Rive Gauche (left bank).

Jean's been doing a very good job working out the Metro, and she thinks I'm doing a good job speaking in French, which I'm enjoying very much.  My preparation is paying off.
The Louvre
Venus de Milo
The Mona Lisa
Our first view of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero 

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