Tuesday, August 04, 2009

paris by foot

You’ve probably never heard of the Louvre, but it’s this really big museum in Paris. We went there today. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, we went to this bakery by our hotel, and Lisa had this cheese thing, and then she promptly died and went to heaven. After that, we went to the Louvre.

I skipped the Louvre altogether last year, because it’s really overwhelming and somehow tedious at the same time. But this time was different because Lisa really wanted to go, and somehow being there with someone who cared about it made me care about it as well. My favorite part was the apartments of Napoleon and Josephine (Nappy Phine?) which I had never seen before because I had never ventured into the Richlieu Wing before. They were pretty spectacular. Lots of tapestries and these giant reception rooms and long ornate dinner tables. I like to see the decadence of the rich and historical. So I liked that part.

Lisa, bless her heart, did not make me stay at the Louvre all day and so we walked up the hill to an old favorite restaurant, Crepe a Gogo (thanks, Annie!) where we had some awesome lunch and Coke Zero on ice. Then we wandered around St. Michel and pretended like we were students at the Sorbonne, though we didn’t fool anyone. I sort of spend a lot of time looking at my DK Paris Guide book.

Then we took a really nice walk on the Ile de St. Louis. This is a little island on the Seine just south of the more famous Ile de la Cite, where Notre Dame is. The Ile de St. Louis is smaller, but I think it’s more interesting. Chopin lived there. Lots of famous Frenchies did. We walked around the island and stopped by the river. We tried to wait in line at the famous La Flore en L’Ile café for some ice cream, but the line was like two hours long so we opted out. We found some great gelato a few minutes later on the Rue St. Louis anyway, and the guy who gave it to us was humming John Phillip Sousa. I loved all the tree-lined quays and the alleyways of Ile de St. Louis. It was a fun walk and I’m glad we got to know it better.

We met up with the students for a stroll under the Eiffel Tower, and after telling ghost stories on a little patch of grass, we couldn’t resist one of those cheesy boat tours. Seriously, you can’t resist. And seriously, they are cheesy. You float along the Seine and they play Yves Montand and Edith Piaf and this song called "Oh, Champs Elysees" and there is a French guy on a special speaker that tells you “Be mysterious. Be in love. And you will be happy.” But it’s really one of the best ways to see the city. Notre Dame under night lighting is amazing. Each bridge you pass under has a history to it. And you finish at the Eiffel Tower, which is all lit up. You know you are a sucker, and you know it’s a tourist trap, but you just don’t care.

And we finished all this by laying on our backs, directly under the Eiffel Tower, and watching the 11:00 twinkle. Just as it started we felt a little rain, but it held off long enough for us to get to the metro station, where a bunch of gypsies tried to cut in line, but I snapped my fingers and said “NOPE” repeatedly, and they immediately fell in line. Everyone was very impressed with my skills. And Lisa and I capped off a very romantic evening along the Seine with a delicious trip to McDonalds.