Rendez-vous à Paris

Trip Start Dec 27, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2011

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Second time was a charm getting into the Louvre!  We arrived at a good hour in the morning, got in line and fairly quickly entered.  We set about straight away to see the Mona Lisa, feeling that once we did this, we could relax and see the other collections at our leisure.  So, along with the vast majority of other Louvre visitors who seemed to have the same idea, we made our way to see Mona.   The route there and the room itself were naturally congested with people, but what surprised us was the way in which people crowded, pushed and manouevered to view and photograph the painting.  With our Canadian sensibilities, it seemed natural to give way to others, but we soon recognized that this would not work, and we stepped up the assertiveness factor.  

Watching people in the crowd jockey for position was an interesting but unflattering study of human behaviour, particularly in light of the fact that their aim was to witness a beautiful work of art. Anyway, c'est la vie!.  The same scenes played out in front of the Venus de Milo and at one of the Egytian exhibits.  This was a bit disheartening and a little disturbing to the kids, who had been bumped, shoved, and even grabbed and pushed by one man.  But the collections at the Louvre are so impressive, and we especially enjoyed the Ancient Greek and Egyptian collections (with items dating back over 5000 years!).  After about 5 hours on the inside, we broke away from that crowd and went to meet Harold and Mary Lou at the Eiffel Tower!

Despite the popular location, we had no trouble connecting with them right under the tower.  Then together, we sauntered along the lower walk by the Seine to meet with Rose and her daughter at their hotel.  It was a beautiful walk along the water (where quite a few converted barges are tied up as residences) and with so few tourists, it was a real treat.

It was lovely to see Rose again, and we all walked out into the neighbourhood of her hotel to find a place to have a drink.  We found a quiet little bar and spent an hour catching up.  After that, we walked to yet another Italian restaurant for dinner.  It was great to have our gang together again -- we usually all spend family birthdays together, and as Kate's birthday was just the week before, we were not far off schedule.

After dinner, Rose and Sharron walked back to their hotel, where they needed to get ready for an early-morning departure for London.  The rest of us walked back along the water, near to the Eiffel Tower.  We sat at an outdoor cafe and had drinks as we watched the boats go by on the river.  Once it got dark, the tower lit up -- first with flood lights and a rotating spotlight on top, then at the stroke of 10, it went into a full, dazzling sparkle of lights.  It looked beautiful and magical, and it was a special evening which we all enjoyed.

We said goodbye Harold and Mary Lou, who were off the next day to Italy and then Greece.  Mark found a taxi big enough to take the five of us, and we returned to our hotel.  It had been a very full day, but there was one thing we had not accomplished, and that would have to be saved for tomorrow, before we boarded the train out of Paris.

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