Friday, February 12, 2010

Oui Paris

We arrived the next morning in Paris and quickly found our hotel.  Wisely, I booked a hotel near the main train station, where we would be leaving the next day to head to London, then home.  The map I'd drawn from google maps was fairly accurate, so it worked out well.  We only had one day in Paris, so we had a big day planned! First things the Louvre!!  The courtyard.
The inside was amazing.  Not only were there priceless works of art EVERYWHERE, it was also the most laid back museum I've ever been to.  You could actually photograph the art, WITH a flash!
Loved the bold red color and gold accents.
Even though there were all these people, it really didn't feel crowded or rushed.  
All over Europe, beautiful ceilings
Zac and I, and Mona

When we went to Europe Maggie was pregnant...this made me think of her!
Vinged Victory

Venus de Milo (wish the mona lisa picture had turned out this well!)
And the Venus de Coinslot
(yes, I did take this picture specifically so I could title it venus de coinslot.  I did it mostly for my scrapbook, but now I have a blog so, enjoy! hahaha)
This one reminds me of Right Said Fred....I'm to sexy for my shirt, to sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts
We saw so much here.  Again, if you are ever in Europe, plan an entire day around the Louvre.  Zac and I were in and out in an hour and a half.  We saw everything we desperatley wanted to see, everything else we missed.   Also, the lines move very quickly, so don't worry about the wait for tickets. 
After seeing everything inside, we took a few quick pics outdoors

and then one under the pyramid

The metro in Paris runs a line to the Louvre and an underground mall.  It's totally convenient.  We left from there to go to our next destination....The CATACOMBS ohhhhhhh
But first we stopped for a mini concert.  Apparently the rest of the orchestra was unavailable, but luckly they got the standing bass for the subway.  Awesome.
The catacombs are a series of underground tunnels.  The walls are lined with the bones of the dead.  Not just one neat little line, but five foot high, eighty foot deep, bones.  Basically, Parisians used to bury their dead outside of the city, then when Christianity spread, people wanted to buried on consecrated ground near their churches.  This was ok...for those who could afford it, most couldn't.  When the population of Paris started to explode, the graveyards did too.  Many bodies were removed from church cemetaries to make room for those who paid to be buried.  Eventually Paris expanded further, over the catacombs, and now there are miles of underground graves.  It's amazing and shocking.  This is me right after we started down to see it shocked stance.

The body movers eventually got bored with neat little stacks and eventually started making designs with the bones.  The most bizarre and morbid of these, was the heart made of skulls. 

Like I mentioned before, it wasn't a single row of bones.  The light on my camera can't even begin to show how far back these piles start.

Zac and I and a few hundred other people.
Zac getting too close
The Catacombs were unbelievable and it cost like $4 to see, so totally worth it.  All the kids in Chiro school would have been amazed.  I really wish I could have used a camcorder down there, but the lighting was too poor..shocking right.  We went from there to see another winner, Notre Dame!

A close up of the statue of Saint Denis.  He was the first Bishop in Paris.  Rumor has it he was tortured by Roman soldiers and eventually decapitated.  He stunned them by picking up his head, walking almost 4 miles, then collapsing on what is now a memorial to him.

We went inside, it was, of course, stunningly beautiful.  Zac was impressed because there were a couple flat screen TV's inside.  To me, they seemed out of place.  We were able to get this shot though

I just knew this wasn't enough, I had to see the flying buttresses (and laugh about that being their official name).  Ta Da!

We wandered around Notre Dame for awhile, parusing the souvenir shops.  I bought a mini, metal Eiffel Tower that is teal and still hangs from my key chain.  Zac tried on this little wonder, but we were promptly yelled at and made to leave the shop.

We didn't care much, we were off to see the real reason so many people stop in Paris, the iconic Eiffel Tower

I told Zac that I DID NOT want to climb this thing.   I would ride the elevator, but no steps please.  Little did we know.  You have to buy an elevator ticket and they are not cheap.  To get to the elevator, you have to climb to the second floor.  Ha!  These are no regular floors.  It was around 700 steps to get to the second floor.  We stopped on the first floor for a break.  Zac made a new friend

We continued up from there. 

The views were amazing.

This is Zac, as triumphant as ever, thrilled to be at the one thing he'd waited for all trip (aside from pizza in Italy) I just love how little he looks, especially knowing how big he acutally is.

From the Eiffel Tower we headed back to our hotel.  We stopped for some delicious doner cabobs and french fries, which reaked up our small room.  We were worn out.  By the time I showered, Zac was almost asleep, which was for the best.  We were getting up early the next day to catch the speed train back to London, and our flight back to the States.

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