Our last few days in Paris were interesting for a couple of reasons. Neither of us were feeling all that well and we were getting just a little bit tired of being around so many people. There are not many places in the tourist section of Paris where you can feel like you’re enjoying the scenery by yourself. As we’re not that fond of crowds it made for a bit of a challenge. To compound this, the weekend we were there was the time where a number of monuments and galleries had their entry fees waived so the crowds were even bigger than normal.
One location that didn’t have it’s entry fee waived was the Eiffel Tower and we decided to head to the top in the morning. Little did we know that we’d spend most of the day waiting in lines to get to see it. First we had to run the gauntlet of vendors trying to get us to purchase small versions of the tower, then we lined up to purchase our tickets, then we lined up to go through security, then we lined up to access the elevator that would take us to the lower observation deck. Once we were there we had to line up again to get on the elevators that would take us to the top. All this standing around took up almost 3 hours of our day, and by the time we did some sightseeing and then got off the tower most of the day was gone. Oh, and I can’t forget lining up to catch the down elevator to the lower deck and then line up again to catch the elevator back to ground level. What a day.
We spent the rest of our time wandering around and seeing what else we could see for free, and it turned out that most of the galleries were in-between their shows so there wasn’t much to see. We did manage to see a display of wool soldiers dressed up in Army uniforms but I was really hoping to see the Picasso paintings they were advertising on the exterior of the Grand Palais. We finally packed it in and headed back to the hotel. We didn’t have the energy to head out for dinner and I picked up some items from a convenience store around the corner. I do not recommend trying store bought sushi in Paris.
The next day was our last day in Paris, and we were determined to see as much as we could. The weather finally was cooperating and we had a warm sunny day. We knew we couldn’t see everything we wanted to in the time we had left, but didn’t really have much of a plan other than we wanted to see the church at Sacre Coeur. Again we had to walk the gauntlet of vendors and souvenir shops to reach the church, but it was worth the effort. It is an amazing church but they have several signs inside the church saying that no pictures are allowed so we don’t have anything to show from inside. The signs sure didn’t stop anybody else mind you. We were there during Mass so we stopped to sit and observe the service. Watching visitors reach their Selfie Sticks over the people in the pews to take their pictures was just a little disturbing. After we left the church we wandered through the souvenir shops and found a Chocolate Museum where they have the various monuments built out chocolate. There were no free samples here unfortunately. Then we wandered down to Place Concorde to see what we could see next.
On the edge of Place Concorde is the Elysee Palace which is where the French President has his residence. It was free to access it on this day but the line-up had to have several thousand people waiting so we passed it by. The Musee de l’Orangerie is also in the vicinity so we decided to check it out and we’re glad we did. They have on display works from Monet, Gaughin, Renoir, Picasso and Rodin among others. Monet’s Waterlillies are massive paintings hung in an oval shaped room and we really didn’t know what they were when we first saw them. I was expecting a nice little painting of a Waterlily after all. This museum and the Orsay were the highlights of my trip, and it was nice to get a chance to see them. We never did make it to the Louvre though.
Outside the Museum we heard these fellas revving the engines on a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. You can rent these beauties for 90 Euro for a 20 minute drive. Why you would want to drive an expensive sports car slowly in one of the most congested cities in the world is beyond me.
We wandered along the Seine for a while and ended up outside the Hotel Des Invalides which used to be a Veteran’s Hospital and is now an Army Museum. It was one of the free access locations, but was not very crowded and we stayed until the place closed down.
And that was our trip to France. We had a great time, and really enjoyed the South of France and the Cruise. Paris was great, but as we were both feeling ill and not that thrilled with the hustle and bustle of the place we didn’t enjoy it as much as we could have. There are quite a few places left on our must-see list, so maybe we’ll go back sometime. Just not at the end of a 3 week vacation.
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