Sharon and i got our tickets (€9,50 - Dave and Jen did not want to go to the Louvre) and we grabbed a map and circled all the things that were most important for us to see. We saw lots of amazing pieces of art, including the Oath of the Horatia, 2 Vermeers, The crown of Charlamange, The Raft of the Medusa, Code of Hammurabi, a Michelangelo statue called The Dying Slave, Venus de Milo, and of course a few de Vincis, naturally including the Mona Lisa. There were a number of paintings in there that I did not know were there - like the Oath of the Horatia, and we would be walking by and suddenly I would turn a corner and be like holy crap (insert painting name) is here?! Awesome! Lots of paintings were bigger then I ever expected (including the Mona Lisa... I have always heard how dissapointingly small it is and it was bigger then the impression I was given.) Except The Lacemaster by Vermeer... that was smaller then I expected. Thing was tiny.
After exploring the Louvre for a few hours we left and phoned over to Dave and Jen to ask if they wanted to go to Notre Dame. They had just left there. So we headed over and visited Notre Dame more in depth then the passing view we got on our tour the day before. We went on in (free admission, woohoo!) And it was awesome inside (just enlarge the picture to the right - so cool!). After exploring there for a while we left and called the others again, and decided to each take a metro to the Arch de Triomph and meet there, so we did. The arch was SOO much bigger and better then the one in Barcelona. It was awesome. And at the bottom is the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier with its eternal flame, burning through the rain. We left there after a bit and headed away from there in search of food. Fun fact: The roundabout that goes around the Arch de Triomph is the most dangerous road in France, and there are accidents every day. It is 12 different roads that converge at a 10 lane wide roundabout. It is so bad that it is the only road in France that if you get in a car accident on your insurance will never cover you, no matter what.
We ended up going to a really cool looking cafe called La Flamme. It was really good. I got Muscles in a creamy sauce that was delicious. When we finished eating we headed to the nearest metro (the one back at the Arch) and got back to the hostel. We rested up there for a bit to get our energy back for our 6pm waking tour we had signed up for yesterday. But first! It was time to get another crepe! So we headed across the street to the crepe place first. I got a Confiture Fraise (Strawberry Jam) Crepe this time, it was even better then last night's. We got to the Moulon Rouge and began our tour, again with Linda.
We headed up to the Montmartre District where all the famous artists of France lived and saw some really cool things.
- The Red Light District (which is essentially just down the street from our hostel, ha!)
- Paris' last surviving windmill (With a great story behind it about the owner defending it from the Prussians when they invaded and burned all the windmills in Paris. They found it amusing and decided to make an example of him by tying him to a fan blade on the windmill and he died 2 weeks later from dehydration and starvation... but the windmill survived!)
- We saw The Montmarte Vineyard, aka Savage Garden, Paris' last surviving vineyard (which is tiny and apparently the wine totally sucks)
- Picasso's studio
- Van Gogh's house (only the outside, other people live there in fact a women came out of it while we were standing outside talking about it.)
- And went up to the top of Sacre Coeur, Paris' highest hill, to the Montmartre Church. The church is really awesome, designed with a mixture of classical styles and made of a material that when it gets rained on excretes a white substance that essentially makes the building whitewash itself every time it rains (like it did today. It was cool!)
So the tour finished up in a cafe with a free glass of wine for everyone, so whatever there for me, but we met some nice people in the cafe including a woman with this really big but super cute and friendly dog. After we headed back to the hostel, and on the way got some Baguettes to sword fight with and then eat and enjoy. We may or may not go out in an hour or two to make a run to the Eiffel Tower again to see it do it's new sparkly lights thing it does every hour and if we do we will hopefully pop by to see Henry IV with his lit up light saber, but we shall see. Either way, day 2 of Paris -