I scraped myself up the next morning. Got some breakfast with the Burnt Sugar folks (I think, lol), got dressed and headed out to meet my mom and dad at their hotel. This was my one day off in Paris so I had to make the most of it. There is so much to see in Paris, but I was ready. I know how to do a city in a day. I did it in Rome so I knew I could do it in Paris.
I checked the Metro map and figured out how to get to my parents hotel. I got there with not problem, but there was one incident along the way. As I was walking down the street to their hotel this man pulls up next to me and asks me if I speak English. Then he started to go into this whole spiel about how he had just come from some big fashion conference and tells me he wants to give me a leather coat that he has in his car supposedly by some “big” designer. So I got with it and say, “For me?” Yeah right! Anyway, he goes on to tell me that he will give me the coat if I help him out with some gas money because he had to drive back to Milan. What??!! Milan? Okay. Then he proceeds to point his speedometer, which was on 0 (because he’s stopped) and try to convince me that that’s his gas meter. Right! So after I made it clear that I wasn’t going to give him any money and that I’m from New York, he starts to give me some sob story about how he gambled away all of his money so he really needs help. Okay man, the gambling angle is getting you nowhere. So after doing a bit more begging he realized that I’m not the one and goes his own way. Ah Paris...
Shortly after that I arrived at my mother’s hotel. I could see a bit of the Eiffel Tower from the street her hotel was on. I have to be honest and tell you that I was not initially impressed. I could only see the top of it and it just looked sort of old and rusty from the vantage point. Well, boy was I wrong.
|Partial Eiffel Tower from street of Mom's hotel|
|Ladies & Gentleman, the Eiffel Tower|
|Me at the Tower|
After gazing on the Tower for a while we walked down closer to it. We were right on the Seine so we decided to take a boat ride down the river. We got a one way ticket and hopped on. It was really nice to see the city from the water. We passed various sites, museums and traveled under bridges with statues adorned with gold leaf.
|Gold leaf sculptures adorn bridges over the Seine|
When we got off the boat we were right by Notre Dame. We took a few photos from a distance and decided to go in. The line to get in Notre Dame looked a little crazy, but it moved quickly. We took a stroll around the church, checked out the alters and stained glass. The crazy thing about Notre Dame is that they had mass going on while people were touring the church. They also had a priest on call for confession just in case you were moved to spill it on vacation. It is a beautiful place, but it kind of irked my mother that they had a gift shop in the church. I have to agree with her on that. When I went to St. Peter’s in Rome that was not happening at all. It felt like they were pimpin’ the product for real. Asking for donations is one things, but a straight up gift shop is a whole other.
|Ladies & Gentlemen, Notre Dame.|
|One of the Rose Windows inside Notre Dame|
|St. Joan of Arc inside Notre Dame. I always liked her.|
After Notre Dame we made our way to the Louvre. It was a bit of a walk, but not bad at all. We weren’t sure if we were going to go in, not knowing how much it would cost, but I wanted to go in so we got on line. As we got closer to the front I realized that they were not taking money from people. OMG! It was FREE!!
|Entrance to the Louvre!|
The Louvre is huge to say the least. So we had to pick a side and go for it. We chose the Denon side where the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo are. As we entered the section there were big signs about not taking photos of or touching the art. Cool. Perfectly understandable. So away we went.
We started in the Roman section and it was great to see all the statues. There is a statue of a Black Roman made of black marble that was beautiful. Does anyone know who this is? Just one hint, he's not Septimius Severus (AD 145-211), the first Black Roman emperor unless the likeness is way off. Trust me, I checked. As we were walking through this section I saw one person take a photo and then another. I was confused because I knew what the signs said, but security didn’t seem to care. Okay so now the museum is free and I can take pictures? What day was this in France? So I whipped out my camera and shot a few flicks.
|Black Roman sculpture in Salle du Manège room at Louvre. Can anyone tell me who this is?|
|Isis in Salle du Manège room at Louvre|
|Osiris in Salle du Manège room at Louvre|
We then walked around to see if we could find the Mona Lisa. I have to admit I wasn’t all the way interested in seeing the painting, but damn it I was there. So off we went. Let me tell you, the paintings in the museum leading up to and in the same room as the Mona Lisa were way more interesting than her. That is because the Mona Lisa it’s really small and it’s behind glass and some other barriers. That sort of defeats the purpose of looking at art. I like to get up on it. Look at brush strokes, colors, etc. You can’t do any of that with miss Lisa. Such is the nature of priceless art. It also made me wonder if it was really real. I mean how do we know if it’s not a copy. I now I sound really blasphemous right now, but I say, put some sort of homing devise on it and let people get up on it and look at it. Single file please. Lol. Clearly it was all anti-climactic for me.
|Miss Lisa if you're nasty!|
We then tried to get over to see the Venus de Milo, but we ran out of time. But I did get some shots of the Winged Victory. You can't miss her on your way to the Mona Lisa. Just incredible! We got to the museum really late. If I had known that joker was free all day I would have been there way earlier. The Louvre boasts that if you were to stand in front of every piece of art for 1 minute it would take you four months to get through the whole place. That's big!
|Winged Victory a.k.a. Nike|
After leaving the museum my mom and I started walking toward the Champs Ellysées and the Arc de Triomphe. We walked through the park next to the Louvre, which had an arc that looked a lot like Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, by the big Paris ferris wheel, the Luxor Obelisk, and on to the Champs Ellysées where I was stopped in my tracks by a Virgin Megastore! Wow, they do still exist. Although it is wintertime in Paris I can totally see how people can have the potential to fall in love there in the spring. When everything is in bloom I’m sure it’s pure magic.
|Me and Mom at the Louvre|
|Okay BK, does this or does this not look like Grand Army Plaza?|
|Le Grande Roue (Ferris Wheel) from boat on Seine|
|It seems there are still record stores in Paris. I think I need to be there!|
We walked, and walked and walked so by the time we got back to her hotel we were past ready to eat. We met my dad at the hotel, took a quick breather and headed to dinner.
We went to a little spot near their hotel. I can’t remember the name of it, but it was really quaint and very good. It was the best meal I had in Paris. We ate, drank and talked Paris. I was so tried and ready for bed, for real. I walked with my parents back to their hotel, said my goodbyes and headed back to the Metro. I could see just a bit of the Eiffel Tower lit up from the street. I wanted to walk around and get a head on shot, but I was too beat. Next time. :-)
|Late night partial Tower by Mom's hotel|
|Arc de Triomphe. Giving Washington Square a run for it's money.|
When I got back to the hotel it started to sink in that that was my last day in Paris. I have to go back. I need more time to see the city and get a better feeling for it. I have a place to stay in the South of France now so I just need a ticket.
|Rue de Bercy at night|
Back at the hotel a few folks were hanging out and as tired as I was I sat and chilled with them for a while. I'm glad I did because Paula came up with a really cool concept for a travel show for me. I can't give it away because I don't want to look up and see someone else doing my show. Ha! I will say this though. One of the shows will be called, "Shelley Does Delhi!" LOL!
I headed up to my room and got my bags in as much order as possible since we were checking out the next day. Day 3 done and I was beat down tired, but it was a magical day in Paris.
|Novotel de Bercy at night. Home for the last three days. :-)|