Louvre for Free? Try Again.....Catacombs Instead

Trip Start Nov 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Sunday, July 3, 2011

Guess what.................. we slept in!!!! We set an alarm for 7am and didn't turn the volume up so we woke at 9. We ended up getting to the Louvre at about 10:30-11 and the line was, no word of a lie, 300-400metres long! It went around the inside of two huge courtyards then proceeded to wrap around the outside of the building, we didn't even look for the end because we would have been standing there for 4 hours. 'Advice', if you go on the first sunday get there really damn early!, and even then it'll probably be packed inside and very frustrating.

So we left and would return the next day. We instead went to check out the Paris catacombs. When we got there another line was waiting for us, yaaaaaaaaa. We ended up waiting in this one for good because Jackie really wanted to see it. Due to them only allowing 200 people in at a time (in case the ceiling collapses it only kills 200 and not 500 or something) we had to wait in line for 2 hours. The first bit is really boring and just looks like access tunnels for maintenance. Then you get to the crypts and there are tens of thousands of bones and skulls lining the walls 5' high and about 4' deep. They were moved here after they had to exume a mass grave filled with people who died from the plague. This went on for what seemed like a mile and there were tons of skulls and bones that people with no respect had scratched their names in or had drawn on, idiots. It was very eerie down there but definately a cool site to check out.

When we made our way out we decided to go and check out the Sacre Coeur Basilica. It was a good walk to get up to it from the subway but you get a sweet view of the city (supposably the best view of Paris is from the top of the Basilica, 5 euro to go up, but we opted out as we planned to go up the Eiffel Tower). You aren't allowed to take pictures inside but it is very beautiful. On the way down you can either take a flight of stairs or get a small lift (1-3 euro?), our passes worked for the lift but we went with the stairs, healthier. When we got to the bottom about a hundred people were waiting for the lift to go up! Mostly young people; there were temples in Asia that had ten times as many steps and no lift, damn lazy society we live in!!

At the bottom of the hill and down the road about 10min walk is the Moulin Rouge and we took some pics of that on our way back to the Eiffel Tower.

O.k., so we waited two hours for the catacombs, why not two more for the tower? On our first visit to the tower we didn't go up so we wanted to do that and also see it at night. As we were in line we took turns going to the bathroom and seeing if it would have been quicker in other lines. As we were nearing the front we saw a sign that said the top was closed due to congestion and only the second level was open, we were not too happy! Luckily as we progressed in line it thinned out to 'total saturation' on the top and we got tickets before it closed again.

We took tons of pictures at the top and also the second level before heading back down to the ground. I decided to walk down from the second level and see if I could beat Jackie who took the elevator. 675, +/- 20, steps later and I beat her by a good 5 minutes.

For supper we went to McDonalds because I had to get a 'Royal with cheese' (Pulp Fiction). It was like ordering in a bar, complete anarchy. I waited for 40 min before I actually got to the till with kids crying and people yelling everywhere. To save time they just had piles of every kind of burger under warmers and pre-poured drinks on ice, so it was less than fresh.

We went back to the tower and got some more pictures of it when the lights were on. We were getting cold but sat there until the sun went down and the whole tower was lit up. It was absolutely beautiful and we were happy we stuck it out even though we didn't have pants or our sweaters. When we decided to go back to the hotel we just happened to look back at the tower on our way to the subway and the whole thing was blinking! We didn't realize this happened and were sad we weren't still standing at it but felt lucky that we did catch the site before we left.
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