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Sunday, November 07, 2010
On day two in Paris we decided to part ways.
I studied a lot of art history during my time in high school and college. Brian, studied a lot about the military (go figure). I wanted to go to the Louvre (as most people do when visiting Paris). Brian, did not. I didn't want to drag Brian along - I had seen that glassy look in his eye after only 20 mins at Musee de l'Orangerie, what on earth would the Louvre do to him??
Luckily, during our wanders the previous day, we happened to stumble upon a small building called Les Invalides...perhaps you have heard of it?
Basically this is a gold mine for Brian - it holds the Musee de l'Armee (Military museum) with lots of armor and guns and the whole history of the French military. It also holds Napoleans tomb.
BINGO - military museum for the husband, world renowned art museum for the wife. So, after a late breakfast of pain au chocolate and cappuccino (man I could get used to that) we went our separate ways.
The Louvre was amazing. Foolishly I didn't book advance tickets so I had to wait in a ridiculous line - but it was worth it (word to the wise - book your tickets ahead of time, you'll be so glad you did). Since I had limited time for my visit and wanted to make the most of that time I edited my visit to the main attractions:
- Ms Mona Lisa
- Winged Victory
- Venus de Milo
These are some of the most famous works of art at the museum - there are signs all over pointing you in the right direction and crowds of people clamoring to get a glimpse of these iconic masterpieces. To be honest, I like the two sculptures better than the Mona Lisa.
Heres the thing about the Mona Lisa (which I am sure you have heard before) - shes smaller than you would think. Shes behind glass and a rope barrier (for good reason, see photo below). At any given time there are over 100 people pushing and shoving each other trying to get a photo of her. I dont even think that they are looking at the painting and admiring why she is so famous in the first place. If it were anything else I would have just walked right by, laughing at the fools who are falling over themselves to see this painting. But...I thought that might make me the fool this time. So I too pushed my way to the front of the ropes and started snapping away.
Next up was Winged Victory and Venus de Milo
In short The Louvre was amazing. Considering I only covered about 1% of it in a couple of hours, it is easy to see how you could probably live there for a year (and by there I mean IN the Louvre, not Paris) and not see all of it.
We worked up an appetite taking in so much culture - next stop was a Paris icon...of a different sort...
Apparently Paris has a restaurant (though I use that term loosely) that is famous not for its cheese or Chateaubriand or pate. No, no. This place was famous for...
Don't believe me? Check out the crowd outside this place (ps its called L'as du Fallafel incase you are in the 'hood)
Why are these falafels so famous you ask? One reason could be because they are cheap - even with the exchange rate this place is super affordable (especially in Paris) and the servings a generous. Or it could be because they are super fast - while you stand in line you pay for your falafel and get a ticket. When its your turn at the window, hand in your ticket and within 30 seconds you have a piping hot falafel in your hands. OR it could be because they are DELICIOUS. Thats probably the real reason. The others are just perks.
After we devoured our lunch standing on the sidewalk with 40 other hungry people from all over the world, we did some window shopping, tried to keep warm and got a snack. Then it was au revoir Paris - we were heading back to London for 12 hours to unpack and repack for our 12 day trip to Italy!