May 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th
I decided to visit a few things today: The Musee d’ Orsay, the Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral. I also wanted to check out the Arc d’ Triomphe and Eiffel Tower at night.
On a dormmates recommendation, I decided to hop onto the Batobus (boat bus) and take a scenic journey around the River Seine. It would stop at several locations that included the above. I would just hop off, do what I want, hop back on and it would take me down the river to the next attraction.
It was a wet rainy day. When I got the the Musee d’ Orsay, I was without an umbrella. There was a long line outside and I didn’t want to wait in a line without one. So I headed into town, looking everywhere for a shop that sold umbrellas. I passed by a sandwich place and since I was ravished, I stopped to get an appetizing roast beef sandwich. The rain continued while I sat outside, watching people walk past me, as I enjoyed my sandwich. After finishing, I continued my search. I was about 10 minutes walk into town and I still didn’t find any shops, even after asking several locals where they bought their’s. I finally came upon a shop that sold €20 umbrellas (they all looked cute and made with quality). No way I was paying that much for an umbrella though. I finally found a shop near where I started and I guess shop owners realized the rain would get umbrella buyers and they brought out their secret stash from the backroom (or I was just bloody blind and didn’t see the multitudes of umbrellas on sale at almost every store I passed). €8 and I got myself a little black umbrella. I felt proud.
I made my way to the Musee d’ Orsay line only to be met by a multitude of street vendors trying to sell €5 umbrellas…boy, I was mad I overpaid by €3 and had to walk so much just for it. And guess what? None of these umbrellas are worth a damn. The rain got heavier, and it actually leaked through my umbrella! I was being rained on by an umbrella!
Well, after all that waiting and touring the museum (I must say, quite a bit of art in there, from sculptures to sketches to paintings), only paintings interested me. Specifically, impressionist style ones (Monet, Renoir, Manet, Van Gogh).
Anyway, made my way back to the Batobus and went down the River Seine to the St Germain des Pres Church. It was the main church of Paris before Notre Dame came along so it’s pretty damned old (Notre Dame began construction in 1163 so imagine how old this one is…). I thought it was an interesting church, full of Roman influences in their design and artwork on the walls. Nothing to really write home about though.
Of course, the next one blew me away. The Cathedral of Notre Dame was just…jaw dropping. It began construction in 1163 and didn’t finish until slightly under 200 years later. It was huge, as if made for giants. The artwork and architecture was so exquisite, so fine in detail. It was as if God built the place and his angels decorated it. I have never ever been blown away this much by a structure. The engineering involved (for its time) was tremendous. I am now interested in finding out who designed in and how they built it.
The Notre Dame square outside was filled with tourists from all walks of life. I was asked by a South Korean man to take his picture and we started chatting. Turns out he’s travelling solo as well. It was still raining and we took a walk to the Concierge but it was closed. I told Jerry that I’d meet him tomorrow at 9 am outside Notre Dame Cathedral and we’d go tour the Louvre and Eiffel Tower as a group.
I didn’t have time to do the Louvre (or anything else really) since it was already evening. I went to walk to the Rue de Rivoli in search of clothing but all I found along the stretch behind the Louvre were tourist shops selling everything that had “I Love Paris” on it. I stopped to get a quiche and wolfed it down in an open square. I finally found the shopping district but most stores were closing so I was SOL, stuck with the same clothes I was wearing, the only things I had after losing my other set in Cork.
Upon getting back to the hostel, I was dead tired and after trying to deal with massive internet problems, I went to bed.