Paris-(Mona Lisa, Love Locks and 284 Stairs)

Yes, we saw her.  It wasn’t as crowded as we thought so we walked right up front.

Before I go on about The Louvre..here she is- barricaded in glass and behind a wooden barricade—Ladies and Gentleman….The Mona Lisa.  She’s a little thing, I thought she would be so much bigger.


Okay now to my DO’S and DON’T S  on the museum–1) Get the museum pass and skip the line.  2) Know that every tourist attraction in Paris your bags will be checked , you will be scanned (so add that to your time).  3) Use the free lockers!  Why carry all that stuff around.  They are very safe.  4) It’s impossible to see it all in one day.  5)  I would recommend a guide or at the very least a plan, otherwise you will wander aimlessly.  6) There’s a gazillion places to eat in there at normal tourist prices–but I would recommend if the weather is nice to eat in the gardens.     And last #7  –Don’t rent these!

These are the audio guides –we are smiling because we had just rented them.  Too bad the picture wasn’t at the end of the visit when we were ready to toss them in the trash.  It’s a waste of money.  They’re Nintendos and too hard to follow–maybe if you’re 13 then you would love them, you could even play a little Mario Bros.

Overall,  we enjoyed it but I wish we would have hired a guide.  It’s HUGE and complicated to navigate,  you need someone to help you on your first visit.  We will go back and do it right next time.

Oh yes and we saw this on our way over at the Pont Des Arts Bridge.  I thought they had been removed but apparently not, or were replaced pretty quickly.

Love locks at Pont des Arts Bridge

 

Next we decided to take a nice little stroll down the Champs Elysee, along with the other 9 million people with the same idea.  Personally, I would say skip it.  It just a long street of high end shopping you can do anywhere.  Ha, except for the McDonalds you see in the pic.

BUT, we did find a nice little place so I could sit for an hour, be ‘happy’ (get it Happy Hour),  people watch, rest my feet and indulge in a cocktail or two with ICE this time.  Hip hip hooray!!

We were impressed with how clean the area was.   The police stroll up and down the street to shoo beggars away so as not to irritate the tourists.

Since I was properly nourished and my blood sugar had returned to normal we were off to the Arc de Triomphe.  You cross the very busy street luckily  using an underground tunnel.  I just love street musicians and the acoustics in the subways are always fabulous!  Here’s a violinist that was in the tunnel:

I know I sound like an ad for the Paris Pass, but it really is worth every penny.  We skipped the VERY VERY long line–again.  They do some very thorough checking of your bags and your person.  Did you know a passport sets off the scanner?  Well we didn’t.  Anyway, it takes a while–the guy goes through every single pocket of your purse and backpack.

The Arc de Triomphe is not for the weak.  It is 284 skinny windy steps to the top with people on your tail right behind you.  So you need to keep the wagon train moving.

If you are afraid of heights, definitely don’t look down!


But for all my moaning and complaining….it was definitely worth the view at the top.

Since our phones said we had climbed 34 flights , and about 18,000 steps we decided to take the Metro back.  Which by the way I know how Parisians stay thin….so many darn steps.  Steps, steps and more steps.


Everyone knows I don’t like tight spaces so how about a very very packed metro to cure your fears.   Luckily it wasn’t a long ride so I managed but it was definitely uncomfortable , especially since we were all bundled like eskimos.

Here’s a few more observations on Parisians, they like wine and books.  Of course it goes without saying there is wine everywhere.  But there are also book stores everywhere, used books, new books, used book vendors along the Seine, books everywhere you turn.

Ok, that’s a wrap for us.  Tomorrow it’s Versailles,  Mont Saint Michel Tour on Monday and a Castle Tour on Tuesday.  We are probably going to skip the Eiffel Tour, since we have seen it from the bus.  That’s plenty for me.  I like leaving the city and exploring.

Good night Everyone —- Mike and Donna

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