Posts Tagged With: Paris Museum Pass

Hanging with Quasimodo and Storming the Bastille

July 28 2012

About a block away from Sainte Chapelle was Place St. Michel. My mom and I went and took a picture. Then we headed to Notre Dame. I was really excited about finally seeing it. We walked along the Seine and people watched as we walked. When we finally turned the corner and saw it I was struck by how beautiful Notre Dame really was. We waited on a line to get in. The line to get in moved quickly and I spent the time on line just staring at the building.

Once inside we walked all around. It was very dark so the pictures I took didn’t really come out well. It was peaceful and if we weren’t in a rush to see all of Paris in two days then I would have sat and took it all in. While walking around I kept looking for the line to go into the tower. Since we couldn’t find it we finally stopped and asked someone. They told us the line was outside by the side of the building.

We went outside and saw that the line was huge! It was an entire block long. I didn’t know what to do. I really wanted to go up into the tower, but I hadn’t planned on spending a lot of time on line. I hoped the line would only be 30 minutes so I waited. My mom left me to walk around a bit. She came back 30 minutes later and I was still on line. She took everything but my camera and museum pass from me. I’m so glad she did! After another 30 minutes I was let in. You stop at a gift shop first to buy tickets. The guard saw my museum pass in my hand and let me go straight up! I got a 10 minute jump on the rest of the group. I’m glad I did because climbing those stairs were not easy. I was out of breath. When I finally got to the top I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The view was incredible! I could have looked at it all day. I loved the gargoyles. They had so much personality. One of them was in Hunchback of Notre Dame (the Disney movie). I visited the bell tower and wasn’t too fond of the small wooden staircase. After that I thought we were headed back down, but I was wrong. Time to climb even higher! The view from the very top was fantastic. The space was tight and I was looking forward to being on solid ground again. The climb down seemed to take forever since it was now 3 levels at once. It made a lot of us dizzy. However, I am so glad I did it. The wait was worth it. It was probably my favorite part of the trip.

I met up with my mom and we started our walk to the Pantheon. Along the way we passed a lot of great stores and bakeries. We stopped in one because they had souvenirs at a decent price. I had over 20 people to buy for so I stocked up. Traffic was crazy and it was fun to watch the activities of the city as we walked. We passed a Hippy thrift store, but unfortunately they were closed. We turned a corner and looked left and there was the Pantheon. It looked like it belonged in Washington DC. We stopped at the top of the steps and sat at the base of the columns. We pulled out the remaining food from breakfast and ate. We had a lovely view of the Eiffel Tower from our position.

Time for the museum pass again. We walked around inside. The inside was filled with tributes to the French Revolution and the enlightenment thinkers. The pendulum was cool to watch. We went downstairs into the crypt and saw the tombs of the enlightenment thinkers. I have spent so much time learning about these figures and teaching them. It was strange to see them before me. We used the ladies room and then it was time to head to another site related to the French Revolution.

As we walked to the metro we passed a wedding party. The area near the metro seemed quaint, almost as if it didn’t belong in a city. The metro went outdoors and my inner 5 yr old was excited. I loved seeing the different neighborhoods as we passed by. We got off at the stop for the Bastille. I had read that a piece of the old Bastille still exists in the metro station and there is a line in the station showing where the Bastille was. We easily found it and I was so excited by it. None of the other tourists realized what it was. We exited the train and immediately saw the Place de la Bastille. There isn’t much to see. I liked the subway portion better. It is worth going to if you are a history person and just want to say you were at the site. Otherwise, you can skip it. On a different note, I had spent the last day and half looking for the famous Paris metro art nouveau signs. I finally found them around the Bastille! They were great. My mom loved them as well.

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Spending Time with the Prisoners of the French Revolution

July 28 2012

We woke up early and had breakfast at the hotel since it was included in the price. The buffet was great! There was some hot food, but I ate my weight in different breads and cheeses. They had all these sweet breads with sugar, chocolate, and jam. Bread and cheese, my kind of heaven. I took some food to eat later in the day.

We took the metro and walked a couple of blocks to Place du Chatelet. There were sphinxes. So I posed for a couple of pictures. It gave us a great view of the Conciergerie. We walked along the seine. There was a fake beach set up. We walked to Hotel del Ville. The architecture was absolutely incredible. There was a HUGE tv with bean bag chairs set up so people could watch the Olympics.

Next we walked to Sainte Chapelle. We passed the Conciergerie and Palais de Justice. We were coming back to Conciergerie since it is not a popular attraction. We took pictures from the outside of the Palais de Justice. We joined the line for Sainte Chapelle. The line moved very quickly. Then there was a second line for tickets. We got to skip that line because of the Paris Museum Pass. The bottom level is pretty much the gift shop. We bought some pens for people. We took the winding stairs (very claustrophobic) to the room with all the stained glass. I was expecting to be amazed, but I wasn’t. It was just pretty. They were doing some construction work which took away from it. People hyped the windows up so much so I had high expectations. I couldn’t believe it was just one room. We exited by the Palace de Justice and headed next door to the Conciergerie.

We used the Paris Museum Pass again. The Conciergerie is where they held Marie Antoinette before they beheaded her. We got to see her cell and what the other cells looked like. We also got to see items from the revolution. I enjoyed it. They had picnic tables so we sat down and ate our leftovers from breakfast for lunch. Then we used the ladies room and left.

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Statues, Paintings, and Artifacts, O MY!

July 27 2012

After officially checking in to our hotel we started our walk to Le Orangerie and the Louvre. I mapped out a path that would allow us to see some other sights and walk through the Tuileries.

We passed Place Vendome first. It was surrounded by very fancy expensive stores. We took some photos and kept going. I was excited to see Place de la Concorde since it is Egyptian. The Obelisk of Luxor was given to Paris by Mohamed Ali.  The obelisk, 22.83 meters high and weighing 230 tons, which marked the entrance to the Temple of Luxor, was installed in 1836. I loved that the obelisk and the Eiffel Tower were diagonal from each other. It made for a great picture.

We went to Le Orangerie because of Monet’s Water Lilies. The museum was free with our museum pass. We had to check our bags and cameras. Monet’s work was incredible and definitely made me glad that we stopped. They encompassed the whole room. Then we went downstairs to see the other pieces of art. I was surprised that I recognized some of the paintings and some of the artists. We stopped at the gift shop so I could buy some postcards. We were only there for 30 minutes, but we really didn’t need any more time. We went right before they closed so it was almost empty.

We walked through the Tuileries. I kept thinking about King Louis XVI and his contemporaries leisurely strolling around the Tuileries. The ferris wheel surprisingly didn’t seem strange. There was a mix of tourists and locals walking around. We approached Place du Carousel and took pictures on both sides. I can’t believe the statues on top were once completely made of gold.

The Louvre looked absolutely enormous. I can’t believe people once lived in it. The pyramid didn’t bother me. I guess that’s because I am so used to seeing it in movies, pictures, and documentaries. Our museum pass allowed us to skip the super long line and walk right in. We chose to come on the Louvre’s late night. I decided to have us start with what used to be the moat and then the Egyptian exhibit. My mom was super tired and wasn’t interested in the Egyptian artifacts. I left her on a bench and ran through all the rooms snapping pictures. I really wanted to spend time examining each item, but I couldn’t. I really wish I could go back and spend half a day looking at them. Since my mom was so tired we tried to just walk to see all the highlights. We saw the Napoleonic Apartments, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and the famous paintings of the renaissance. My friends Janelle and Megan warned me that the Mona Lisa was going to be very small. They were right! It was super packed in front of the painting. I took a couple of pictures and kept moving. We went back to the lobby area. I dropped my mom off at a bench. I looked around the gift shop and everything was just too expensive. The cheap books on Egypt were in French. O well. I still needed to see Hammurabi’s Code and I wasn’t leaving without seeing it. I ran through a bunch of exhibits and passed Greek and Roman statues. I found Hammurabi’s Code and took a bunch of pictures. I ran back and was officially exhausted. I was looking for the inverted pyramid that Dan Brown talked about, but didn’t see it.

We started to walk back to the hotel and passed a bunch of souvenir shops. We picked up a t-shirt and a couple of other things. We also passed a cookie place and bought a small bag. We made those cookies our dinner. We went back to the hotel and settled in. We soaked our feet in hot water and went to bed.

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Short Man Huge Sarcophagus

July 27 2012

After the Eiffel Tower our plan was to walk to Invalides. My mom decided to stop a couple blocks away from the tower to look at souvenirs. I didn’t eat on the plane so the hunger was starting to kick in. I waited outside the stores and ate crackers while she browsed.

I had walking directions to the Invalides, but they seemed wrong. We kept stopping people to ask for directions but everyone told us our directions were correct. We just under anticipated how long the walk would be in a straight line. We finally found it.

We walked around to the front of the building, which has great architecture. We took out our Paris Museum Pass to use for the first time. We bought a 2 day pass at the airport. We walked right in and they stamped our pass.

The courtyard looked like it was undergoing renovation. The statue of Napoleon was very life like. We made our way to the area that his tomb. My mom was surprised how large his tomb was. It actually was a beautiful sarcophagus. There were two floors to walk around and a mini gift shop.

Next we did the bottom floor of the museum. We saw lots of armor from different time periods! It was all very fascinating. We decided not to do the second floor because we still had so much to do. We used the bathroom and left. It was raining so I decided not to walk to our next destination. We hopped on the metro and headed to the Madeline.

Once we came out of the Madeline I decided I was still hungry so we stopped at Fauchon. Everyone told us to go here. They have beautiful but expensive macaroons. I just bought a cheese roll. It was good and hit the spot. We crossed the street to the Madeleine. The view from the steps was fantastic. You could see the obelisk in the distance. The Madeleine is free and I was glad about that. It only took us about 10 minutes to walk around and see everything. It was pretty, but boring.

We then walked back to our hotel to see if our room was ready.

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