Friday, February 19, 2010

Paris in not so small a nutshell

(I am actually in my room in Vienna now but this was a post I wrote a day ago on the night train from Paris, re-edited)

I'm on the TGV from Paris to Frankfurt now and as I have nothing else better to do, I thought I'd write a summary of the last 6 days in Paris.

Even the road signs intrigue!!

DAY 1 : Arrival & the Louvre
This being my second time in such a short time span to the Louvre, I wanted to make the best out of the experience. The last visit was rushed and aimed only at visiting the main attractions like the Venus, Mona Lisa and Ramses II. This time I wanted to see the rest and less notable artifacts the Louvre houses.

My best finds were,

i. Unknown statue of a guy with a wound on his left thigh. The audio guide I rented had no information on him and the plaque next to him only read French. (I have yet time to do a search on him online) Who is he??? I am curious not because he is naked (sheesh!!) but if you look to the right of err, yeah to the right, you see his open wound. See!! And he seemed to have dropped his sword and not realized it yet.

ii. Napolean's travel kit
I'm pretty sure it was his beauty kit for daily use but it was pretty neat to imagine that he would carry his toothbrush platter on board the ships he sailed ;)

N is for Napolean...

...and N is for Nora!!

iii. The letter 'N'
Marking Napolean's reign over the country, it was fun looking for the majestic 'N' insignia he had carved into the ceiling and also sewn into his royal robes. (By evening, I realized that I had developed an odd but very real crush on the dead emperor simply from perusing his apartments and looking at the many paintings of his beautiful self! He did if once, brainwashing his citizens, blinding them to his faults, and he is still doing it today, unto me!! *_*)

There was so much more to the Louvre that was amazing like the painting of Josephine's coronation that was painted over the original painting of Napolean (yes, that dashing dude again) crowning his own self. You can still see the original artwork beneath the new layer. The artist even included a cameo of Julius Caesar in the updated version!

Say NO to the guide! Unless he is tall, blonde, and handsome, of course.

((TIP)) I won't get the audio guide if I were you. It only acts as extra dead weight hanging off your neck as it covers only the main artifacts and paintings, which are very very few compared to ALL that was there. My system also hanged a few times and you could only get them exchanged at selected desks in the museum and this museum is HUUUUGE!

DAY 2 : Sacre Couer, Pere Lachaise Cemetery & Eiffel Tower
We had to change rooms at noon due to a rat problem (explained in Hanie's and Lydd's entries) and decided to explore the art district of Montmartre, so began our hike up the Sacre Couer. It was unfortunately cloudy that day so the view atop the hill of martyrdom was not extremely spectacular.

A different view of the Sacre Couer, due to lack of a better shot XD

Hanie making the hike up easier with crepe in hand!

Sacre Couer actually sits on the summit of Montmatre, believed to be the place where Saint Denis was beheaded, after which we picked up his head and walked 6 miles preaching before actually falling dead at where Saint Denis Basilica stands today.

After the room exchange (we were downgraded to a smaller room >_<) we quickly made our way to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery but for some odd reason all their gates were closed. We followed the other visitors around the the cemetery walls to see if there was another entrance but it was sealed shut. Hanie blamed zombie infestation to the closure. Imagine Jim Morrison Zombie and Oscar Wilde Zombie in a fist fight!! That would have been a spectacle to witness for any amount of money. No graves for us to marvel at today but there is always chow to find!!

Met up with Lydd's pal visiting from Brisbane at the Eiffel Tower and due to extreme wind, opted for warm food (again!) instead of making the hike up the tower. It was already dark and it would have made zero sense to go up as the night was not only black, it was very cloudy. To me, the Eiffel Tower is best visited from afar. Hitler agrees. Remember this?

"Savvy, non?"

DAY 3 : Grande Mosque Paris, Pantheon, Notre Dame, L'As Du Falafel, Asemblee Nationale, Champs Elysee, Arc de Triomphie & Laduree

((TIP)) Just because winter is called low-season doesn't mean you're the only one out traveling the world. Everyone else is trying to beat the crowd and end up taking a holiday in winter, so be prepared to wait in line for major sights and time your daily travels appropriately. A low side of winter traveling is that many sites are closed for maintenance so access to crypts and monuments may be limited to the main halls.

DAY 4 : Disneyland Paris
You can probably imagine what took place here. ;-)

DAY 5 : Sick in bed with food poisoning
I had to take a rain check on one of the places I was anticipating the most on this trip, Versailles. Lydd and Hanie will have to fill you in on their adventures in Marie Antoinette's wonderland.

DAY 6 : Basilique St Denis & departure to Vienna