April 5, 2010 (Monday)

We’re downstairs by 7 am for breakfast so we can get to the Louvre for tickets at 8:30 am. We walk to the Louvre and go to the underground Carousel shopping area (our hotel manager told us about this entrance which is out of the weather). The ticket machine won’t be activated until 9 am, so we go down the escalator and wait in a short line to buy tickets and then wait for the Louvre to open. Maybe 25-30 people are ahead of us. This line is a lot better than the line of 1000+ yesterday! We enter the museum at 9:30 am and find our way to the Mona Lisa. She is exquisite. The crowd is small, so we can get to the front and stay a bit. And, we can take pictures! Amazing! We viewed the Wedding of Cana on the opposite wall which is a huge work or art. Then, off to find the Venus de Milo. She’s gorgeous as well. We next go to the Graeco Roman area. So many artifacts to see and so little time! We also see the Winged Victory of Samothrace, Athena, Minerva, etc. We get a lunch inside the Louvre and buy a few postcards and magnets at the shop. The Louvre is now filled with people. On the way out, we stopped at the Apple store in the Carousel, but they have no iPad to see yet—first release is only in America.

After finishing the Louvre, we go across the street to the Royal Palais and take the long Metro ride to the Eiffel tower, which is not conveniently located to anything is Jerry’s opinion. We walk around the park area along the river to view the tower. We see beautiful blooming flowers and statues along the avenues. We decide we do not have time to go up into the tower. The weather has cleared, and the day is beautiful!

After seeing the Eiffel tower, we go back to the Metro. The ticket machine doesn’t work with our tickets. Oh no. Finally the machine does take Jerry’s ticket, and he goes through, but now my ticket won’t work! I’m stuck on the outside, and I’m a little nervous about the situation. We tried my ticket multiple times, but it just won’t work, so Jerry told me to crawl under, which I did with a security camera pointed straight at me. No police appear, so I guess we’re okay.

We get back to the hotel and freshen up for our dinner cruise and illuminations tour tonight. We get a taxi to the tourism office, and after a wait, get on a van and are taken to our cruise boat. Our table is near the front of the boat, so we can see really well. Going up and down the Seine River, we pass famous buildings, including the Louvre we had visited that morning (which is in the background of the picture of Jerry), and go under beautiful bridges. It’s a great trip. The scenery is stunning. The sky is clear. The food is great. We have a wonderful time.

After the dinner cruise, we have about 45 minutes to wander around before getting on the bus for the illuminations tour. We stumbled on the “Bourbon street” of that area, one street off the main street by the river. We walk through this “Bourbon street” district feeling quite at home and come out at the Notre Dame Cathedral, which is even more beautiful at dusk. We take a few photos, Jerry hoping one of them turns out nicely, and then head back for the illuminations tour.

The tour is on a big double decker bus. Fortunately, we can sit downstairs because the brisk night wind on the top and open deck of the bus is very chilly. Paris—the city of lights—so beautiful. We go past the Eiffel Tower, Arch de Triumph, Champs de Elysses, National Academy of Music, and many other sights. At the Eiffel Tower the lights begin sparkling, and the display is spectacular.

We got off the tour bus at the Louvre, where we started our long day in Paris early this morning. We enjoyed a nice leisurely walk down Paris streets back to our hotel, reminiscing sights and sounds of the day. We have to pack and get ready for the early train to Angers tomorrow morning. It’s midnight by the time we’re finally off to bed.

Here is a video of the Paris action today: