Today we learned a very important fact; Paris is huge (a little googling and some wolfram alpha tells me Paris is about 7 square miles larger than Manhattan). We ended up walking really far today because everything looks so close on the damn tourist map lol. In fact things are not that close and we are pretty exhausted and hopefully a little wiser. It wasn’t a wasted day though, and we saw a lot — but not as much as we could have.
First off we walked down to the Notre Dame Cathedral to check out the famed rose window. The entire building was just amazing to see from the outside: beautiful statues, quintessential gothic architecture, and stained glass windows that were impressive from the outside. The long line to get in moved swiftly (hearing the bells chime while we waited was kinda neat) and we were presented with the really impressive stuff once we were inside. The windows were glowing with light, and the chandeliers were all lit up with “candles” (now electric). The entire place is hard to describe, especially when you take into consideration it’s 850 years old. It’s just impressive…I don’t want to spoil it with words — I think I have some photos that came out, but even those won’t do it justice.
Outside of the Cathedral we heard a thunderous noise as several military jets flew over head. They were followed by a procession of military planes including jets, bombers, and helicopters — for hours. I took a bunch of photos of these and I’m hoping a few of them came out, because it was quite the site to see the dichotomy of a twelfth century cathedral and 21st century military planes.
Anyway, after my boyish awe wore off we started walking towards the louvre. It was pretty late by the time we got there (around 5) so we couldn’t go in — they had just stopped selling tickets. We walked around the building, dipped our feet in the water at the entrance to stay cool, and really just took in the area. We’ll be heading back first thing tomorrow to see the museum.
From the Louvre, it was on to the Arch de Triomphe. On the way we passed a bunch of things, many of which we couldn’t even identify — but they were awesome. One thing that was pretty cool was actually the Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde. It’s a monolith which is covered in Egyptian hieroglyphics which was donated to the French, from Egypt in the 19th Centry. Pretty cool stuff.
Anyway — we ultimately made it to the Arch de Triomphe. We were tired, battered, covered in sand, and a little over the whole walking thing. The sand thing is actually interesting. In the states walking paths in parks are mostly paved or heavy gravel — here it seems to be fine sand/dirt which kicks up VERY easily in the wind. As a result, we were covered, and my brown Sperrys (sperry’s? sperries??) turned into fashionable white Sperrys.
Anyway the Arch is cool — but definitely not the highlight of the day (at no fault of it’s own though, it was a pretty amazing day).
Time to hit the sack, so good night, and again there will be plenty of photos when the internet’s good again.