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August 12, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 13: Fifth Day in Paris

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa

Today, we got up at the crack of noon. I’m inclined to let Jennifer sleep as long as she wants. My thought being that, if she’s game to be drug all over the planet, perpetually chasing a man that’s 6’2? tall, then she probably needs what sleep she gets. Alarm clocks are for the birds. I don’t use them in the states, and I see no need to start now that we’re on vacation.

The only time that I set one on this vacation that I can recall, was when we had to get up at 6:00 in Dublin to catch our 9:00 flight to Paris. And, in retrospect, that was a bad call, as Jennifer nearly melted on that Death March to Paris.

So, today, we slept in, but in the afternoon, we went to the Louvre. We entered via the secret Metro entrance described in Rick Steve’s Paris 2007 book. It is there, you just have to look for it.

The museum is, of course, without equal. It’s the largest museum in the world. Formerly the King’s home, the museum covers several city blocks. Much of the top floor has glass ceilings, to allow natural light on the paintings.

I was surprised that they allowed us to take in cameras, and take flash photographs of all the paintings. The museum is full of restaurants. You can walk around eating inside the museum, taking photos. Whatever you want really. I was amazed.

We found Hamurabi’s Code, the Mona Lisa, artifacts from Babylonia, paintings and sculptures from the French and Italian Renaissance. It was brilliant, really. I got all excited and I was telling Jennifer about the rise and fall of the Roman empire, the Vandals, Visigoths, the battle of Thermopolyae, the Library of Alexandria, the Dark Ages, and the Renaissance.

She enjoyed it, but after about three hours in the museum, she was done and we went back to the hotel and both of us crashed hard. I tried to coax her out for beignets or baguettes or ice cream, but nothing would sway her.

She said she had a headache so I gave her some medicine and closed the blinds and she fell into a light coma, asleep in the bed with all of her clothes on, too tired to change into her pajamas.

During WWII, Hitler captured France in something like seven days, I think. When it became clear that Paris would fall to the Allies, he gave orders for Paris to be destroyed. Fortunately, the general disobeyed his orders. It’s horrible to imagine someone destroying Paris.

The streets of Paris are very different from Dublin in that, the streets are much wider here. The traffic is not nearly as bad in Paris as it is in Dublin. Also, the sidewalks are much wider. The city has one of the best transportation systems in the world. The subways (Metro) run like clockwork. We never had to wait more than five minutes for a subway. The buses run very frequently as well. By using the Cart Orange Metro/Bus pass, we could go anywhere in the city for free in less than 30 minutes.

Although the Café au Lait and Beignets in France were a big disappointment., and the sidewalk cafes are insufferable due to the incessant chain-smoking of the Frogs, the French are very serious about their food. Some of the finest desserts and breads are offered on the sidewalks of Paris. Our favorite place to eat was Denis Auvray’s Boulangerie Patisserie 45, rue Cler.

Probably, if we came back to Paris, I would stay in the Latin Quarter, instead of the Rue Cler district, just because it’s more centrally located. We’re only a block or two from the Eiffel tower, but it would be nicer to be in the Latin Quarter, as they are closer to Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Opera, et al.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 12, 2007 at 2:08 PM

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