After the Louvre, we went to the Musee D'Orsay. Its just across the Seine from the Louvre and it has a ton of impressionist paintings as well as some more modern paintings. Unfortunately, they did not allow photos. If you are ever in Paris though, I recommend going to the museum. We really enjoyed the impressionist paintings which were on the top floor. Even if they move things around, I would recommend going to the top floor first while you're feeling strong. Its much easier to go down the stairs after getting all the way to the top. :-)
After the Musee D'Orsay, we decided to make a quick trip over to Notre Dame. We didn't really want to go investigate the catacombs or anything like that, but I wanted to get some pictures of the cathedral and actually go inside.
I never realized it before, but Notre Dame is actually on its own island in the middle of the Seine. For some reason I always thought it was in the middle of the city proper. Here's a view walking up to the cathedral. They were getting ready to celebrate its anniversary... 850 years... so there was some platforms and other stuff that somewhat blocked the photos.
After you get up top of the platforms, there were some wooden bleachers (the sturdy kind) and you could see the entire cathedral front. Again, its amazing that some of the details in the exterior of the cathedral have lasted all these years.
Those dark windows were stained glass windows. From the inside they were stunning! It didn't feel right to take pictures inside a functional cathedral though, so I don't have any inside photos.
Of course, as we left Notre Dame, it started to rain. We had good rain coats, so we weren't too worried about it.... until it started to REALLY come down. We took shelter under a shop's awning (as did lots of other folks) and waited until the worst of the storm passed. We're glad we did since it was hailing and had sideways rain during the storm. We still ended up with wet sneakers and pants (from the knees down) when we got back to the hotel.
Thankfully we were able to dry things out in the bathroom and we used the hair dryer to dry out our sneakers. We ended up going back out a while later for dinner, which was a minor adventure.
There were police blocking off a bunch of roads in the area, which we had no idea why. We ended up having to take a long walk to get to the restaurant and while we were eating, you could see various different police vehicles driving by, stopping, gathering things, driving off again, etc. When we left the restaurant, we went the short way back to our hotel and the police let us through this time. We were fortunate that we left the restaurant when we did.... there was a demonstration on-going for pro-gay marriage. Just as we cross the main road near our hotel, the demonstration started moving and blocked the roadway from where we had eaten to where our hotel was. We just missed getting completely blocked from getting back to our hotel.
A little side tangent here.... the food in Paris... it was amazing. There were crepes and gelato everywhere. Some really great stuff. We ended up having duck one night, which was really good. The only bad thing we had.... foie gras. We watch cooking shows and everyone raves about it, so we thought... we're in the one place that it should be good, so we tried it. We just barely were able to eat it. We didn't want to be rude to the chef, so we made sure between the two of us to eat the whole thing. It was a bit rough though.
So our last full day in Paris we went to one final museum which we missed when we were visiting the Louvre. Its called Musee L'Orangie (or something like that). Its in the far corner of the gardens in front of the Louvre. The best part was that this particular museum has two rooms of huge (and I mean huge, panorama) paintings from Monet's Waterlilies series. They were beautiful. It makes me want to make one out of needlepoint! ;-)
After viewing the paintings, we made the long walk over to the Eiffel tower (about 2 miles). It was actually nice because we weren't in the tourist areas and we were just walking through the streets of Paris. There were no pick pocketers, there were no rude tourists, just Parisians going about their business. We really enjoyed the walk.
At the end of the gardens near the Louvre is an Egyptian obelisk. It was pretty impressive, even from a distance.
And here we are at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Its somewhat "ugly", but still impressive in its size.
There were elevators you could take to the top of the tower, or you could walk up the stairs. We opted for neither because the wait to just get to the base of the tower....4 hours. Yuck!
So we took our pictures, can say we were there and then we walked back to the hotel.
We thought about going to the Arc de Triomphe, but it was another 1.5 miles away from the hotel, which would have meant a 4 mile hike back to the hotel. We were glad to just take a nice relaxing stroll back to the hotel after seeing the tower. Again, it was through the less touristy areas of Paris and it was a nice walk. We were able to get more of a feel for what the city really is like for people who live there.
Overall, we had a great time in Paris. Being "country folk", we were glad to come back home to our 16 acres in upstate NY. After 2 days, we were pretty much on sensory overload due to the constant crush of people and things going on. City-life just isn't us.
We did enjoy it though and I would probably do it again if it meant we could go out into the French country-side a bit more. I think that's the part of France that the two of us would really enjoy.
I would have to say if anyone is thinking of visiting there, whatever you do... do not drive anywhere in the city. The traffic is absolutely insane. The people on motorcycles basically do not follow any rules of the road and make their own lanes whenever they feel like it. They zip in and around traffic at all speeds and its very unnerving... even as a passenger!
I hope to get back to more quilting related posts now that I've pretty much covered our quick trip to Paris. I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things here, so I'm sure I'll have something quilty to post soon. :-)
In the meantime....
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations