Tuesday, August 6, 2013

That Awkward Moment When Your Camera Won't Snap in Front of the MonaLisa

We began our first morning in Paris with a short walk to Eric Kayser boulangerie. No, actually, we began our first morning in Paris by acknowledging how exhausted we were, turning off our alarms and sleeping in until 10:30 a.m. We then wandered over to te boulangerie, bought pastries for breakfast and headed to the Louvre.

The ticket line to the Louvre was estimated at an hour long, all in the hot sun. 
Instead we went into the underground shopping mall next to the Louvre and bought our museum pass in a slightly shorter line that was, most importantly, out of the hot sun.

Our first major stop was Venus de Milo. If you weren't sure how to find it, you could just find the room with the largest crowd of people and be pretty close. 
We saw a few other sculptures before heading over to the Italian and French paintings. 
We were standing in front of several Leonardo di Vinci paintings when an older couple from Australia struck up a conversation with us. 
They asked about our travels and told us we needed to see the Gold Coast of Australia, where they are from. In the course of the conversation, it turned out that they had a traveling family band, are LDS and have two children living in the states. I think they were going to share the gospel with us until they found out we already are Mormon. :) Australia next year?
Next we waited in the mosh-pit like line to see the Mona Lisa. She really is beautiful and fascinating in real life. 
Just as we got to the front of the line and had our photo op, my iPhone camera froze. It wouldn't take any pictures. Then, when I turned it to figure out why was wrong it would take 10 in a row. I kept trying to get it to work with no luck. A man behind us grumbled in a foreign accent, "How many photo you take?!?" Hopefully some of the pictures from Megan's camera turned out. 
We hit the highlights of the French and Italian collections and them saw the Royal Apartments of Napoleon III.  

Next we walked to the Saint-Chapelle, a medieval cathedral of mostly stained glass. We wanted to also hit the Conciergerie next door (the prison where Marie Antoinette was held captive) but we missed the last entrance by five minutes. 

At this point we were tired and hungry so we wandered the picturesque Ile-St.-Louis looking for a place to sit down to relax and eat dinner. I was armed with a guidebook, the "Food Lovers Guide to Paris" app, and my natural killer instincts, but to no avail. Apparently 80% of the good restaurants in Paris shut down for the entire month of August. The other 20% are closed on Mondays. We headed to choices A, B, C, D, and E, but with no luck (even with two that specifically said they were open in August and on Mondays). 

We finally passed by a Spanish charcuterie place that was on the App's map and decided we were done. It was good food but nothing to write home about -- especially for €20 each for a sandwich or risotto with a salad. But I guess you could look at it as renting a place to sit, kind of like a beach cabana with spotty water delivery service. In that case it was with every penny for our Paris perch. 

After dinner we went to the grocery store across the street to browse and buy drinks. (It seems in Europe that you are lucky if you can get your water cup refilled even once during dinner. Maybe that is why they drink so much wine? They just have up on waiting for the waiter to refill their water glasses.) then we went to Grom Italian Gelato for dessert, enjoying the delights of Salted Caramel, Bacio (chocolate hazelnut) and other delicious favors.

Much refreshed, we took the Metro "home" to our hotel. 

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