The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

WARNING: Mom again, this time about Paris

While Natalie packs for Venice, I’ll take time to write. We have been shopping in London all day. My last day! We got back to London last night around midnight and slept until 10 a.m. We were so exhausted from running (sometimes literally) all over Paris for 2 days. What can I say? Paris is absolutely beautiful. The first day we climbed the spiral stone staircase to the top of Notre Dame. It was breathtaking in more ways than one! It was raining, which was actually a perfect setting with the gargoyles perched everywhere. Inside was amazing and mass was being held while tourists walked around the outer areas. From there we went across the street to Le Quasimodo café. Yes really!

Since it was still raining we moved on the Louvre. It is enormous so we decided to focus on the paintings and sculptures. Naturally that included the great lady herself, Mona Lisa. There are several guards standing by and an area is cordoned off so spectators can’t get too close. She peers out from behind a thick plastic box as well. Definitely well protected. And yet there were many other precious works of art that you could walk right up to. I realize there are cameras everywhere but if someone wanted to vandalize the art they could do some real damage before they got stopped. I think about stuff like that. Anyway, we also saw Venus de Milo in all her glory in her own big room. Cameras are allowed in the sculpture room so of course we, like all the other tourists, felt compelled to get our picture taken with her. After 2 hours we saw the sun was out and decided to venture outside again. It was sunny but very windy and cold. We pushed on and walked through the Jardin de Tuileries, then looked down the Champs Elysées at the Arc de Triomphe. It was getting pretty cold and we were starving so we went back to the hotel to drop off our packages and decide on a place for dinner. Natalie consulted her guide book and found a quaint little restaurant close by. I had the best French Onion soup I’ve ever tasted. The salmon was good but not as good as Robert’s and the Crème Brulée was good, but yes you guessed it, not as good as Robert’s. I guess I’m a little spoiled when it comes to good food. The waiter spoke some English and was very friendly. In fact, all the waiters and store clerks were very friendly. When Natalie spoke in French, they would try to speak in English if they could.

The next day was sunny and much warmer. On our way to the Eiffel Tower we happened upon the Rodin museum. Many of his sculptures including “The Thinker” were outside in the garden. It was such a beautiful day to be in such a gorgeous garden. The rest of the sculptures were in what used to be a hotel. A large spiral wrought iron staircase in the foyer was spectacular. I had Natalie take my picture standing on it. I love all the ornate ironwork on all the buildings. Oh and there was a Monet and Van Gough displayed in one of the rooms too. I could have sat in that garden all day but we had to keep moving. The Eiffel Tower was next on our list. There were very long lines to take the elevator to the top so we decided to just admire it from below. We still needed to get to the Arc de Triomphe. There wasn’t quite as long a line to go to the top here because you have to climb 284 steps to get there. I think it was even more to get to the top of Notre Dame. Oh yes, did I mention my legs got quite a workout? If it wasn’t for those delicious crepes and crème brulee I might have lost a little weight. Natalie says I have to wrap it up now so she can post her pictures of Paris before she gets too behind. I have lots of pictures too that I can’t wait to print out and show you all when I get back It’s been an amazing trip but I am getting homesick and ready to fly back across the pond. See you all soon!

Donna

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