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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Paris, day three

On our last day in Paris we frantically and exhaustingly saw the Eiffel Tower (and the wicked-awesome, awe-inspiring view), Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and Montmatre, before running to catch our train, which was, unsurprisingly, delayed.

After enjoying our breakfast, and Ann overcoming her anger that Daorcey was unfairly not hungover, we headed to the Eiffel Tower. It was still cold, but much more clear than previous days.

There are three levels on teh Tower. The angle of the first elevator is rather odd, and stomach-weirding-out, but the sheer height--and clear walls and ceiling--of the lift to the top level is worse. I'm amazed natalie, with her fear of heights, came with us, but I'm proud to say she did.

The view is astonishing.
Apparently Oscar Wilde used to go up the tower for inspiration and to write, saying it was the one spot in Paris one couldn't see the (in his opinon, ugly) tower from. But even with the clouds and the smog, the view is astonishing. I can't even imagine what it'd be like on a clear day, so there's no way I can explain to you what it was like at all. You might be thinking that all views from towers are more or less teh same--yup, you can see lots, and far--but Paris is beautiful and more or less flat... the buildings never get more than six or seven stories, so you can really see the streets and how the city is laid out. Really amazing.

After descending from the tower, which Natalie was all too happy to do, we got crepes--yummy--and wandered over to Notre Dame.

Once we arrived, Ann's camera and my camera did what they'd been doing the whole time in Paris: devoured our batteries. At this point in the day, I'd already burned thru a few pairs, and had now run out of fresh ones. (So, lucky/unlucky you, not many photos of Notre Dame). Anyways, we didn't climb the Tower, just wandered around inside. I lit a candle at one of the prayer things, and pretty much sat around looking up at the amazing ceilings and stained glass windows.

Amazingly, what with all the crowds of tourists, the church is still a working church. Along the sides were these weird glass confessional booths, and people were going in and using them. I'm not sure how many of the people confessing were actual locals, or if there were just tourists...: "And here's a picture of me in confession at Notre Dame!"

Anyways. After, we went outside, and Daorcey showed us where Quasimodo is. They put a gargoyle up after the book came out (I have no idea when they did this...) in one of the corners of the building, so apparently that's Quasimodo...

Then, we searched for a bank and went gift shopping. Then we searched for a bank again.

After that, we hiked to the Louvre. Nat and Daorcey had bought a baguette, which was now strapped to Daorcey's backpack. The only lunch Ann and I had that day was whatever bread we could tear off him, while still speed-walking.

The Louvre is massive, and probably impossible to see in a lifetime, let alone three hours (tho, that didn't stop Daorcey from trying. That man has stamina, lucky Nat!)

Of course, the one thing everyone has to see is the Mona Lisa. My parents have a minature oil copy in our dining room, bought when they were in Paris honeymooning, so I have to admit, I was rather excited. My dad always told me not to expect it to be big, so I also always thought it was pretty well teh size of the one in the dining room. Well, it's bigger than that. It's a larger than lifesize painting, kept behind protective glass, which is good, as there was a roomful of retards taking flash photos. Think, for just a second, what happens if you take a photo in front of a glass window, or anything reflective: you can't see behind it, because the flash of light reflects and ruins the picture. Yet, a room ful of dozens and dozens of people were doing just that. Just buy the freaking postcard, and stop ruining my photos with your flash. K, finished rant.

Seeing the Mona Lisa was cool, tho.

We also rambled aimlessly looking for 19thC French Paintings, but couldn't find it. Later, we found out, from D/N, that the room was closed. Oh. Whoops. We spent an hour in the Louvre looking for a closed room...and never found it. Retarded.

With our time in Paris running out, Ann and I darted back to the hotel to reclaim our luggage, and then headed to Montmartre to meet N/D. From the metro, we walked up a massive, massive, steep set of stairs, and found ourselves, exhausted and cold, at teh foot of Sacre Couer church. We looked down the park, which is on the hill--familiar to fans of Amelie, except for the snow, and cold, and utter lack of any people--and realized the gate was locked. So, we had to take something called a Finiculare down the hill; basically, it's a trolly/gondola, that costs 2.30 euros for a 30 second trip.

Exhausted and cold, we met up with N/D, had food at a place where the waiter took twenty minutes to acknowledge let alone serve, but would run over and admonish you immediately for putting your feet on the seats...

And then, back to London.
Well, back to London after the 40 minute delay at Eurostar. Gotta love those people. Or something...

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