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5: The Mona Lisa

sunny 29 °C
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Paris day today!!! Got up early and took myself down to the train station to catch my express train to Paris. Before catching the train I spent a good hour in the local post office trying to send a parcel home to AU. It was an interesting experience because the post office is built like fort Knox (they must have some issues in that area??) and wasn’t really designed to take such a large package! Obviously, not many people try to send a large box to anywhere from this post office! 70E later all of my “not required anymore” gear was back on its way to AU.

Grabbed myself a cuppa before settling on to the full train from Brussels to Paris (it’s a bullet train and only took about an hour!) Got off the train at Gare Du Nord (the main station) and decided to wander up to my accommodation rather than try and work out the metro with my entire luggage. Before setting off I decided to buy my Eurostar ticket to London (as I had read on the net that they can sell out quickly).. 120 E later I had my ticket and was on my way to working out how to get to my hostel. I fluked the exit out of Gare Du Nord and ended up on the street I needed to be without my usual wander around the station looking for the right street!

My hostel is in Montmartre about 15min walk from the station and pretty much straight up the hill! The hostel is really good, both from a looks perspective, from a friendly face perspective and location wise! After settling in I took off down to the local metro (one block- Anvers) where there is also a branch of the tourist bureau. My guide book recommended to consider buying a week long metro pass and look at a museum pass.. 90 E later I had both week long passes in hand and decided to start at the start and walk the Champs Elysee.

Took the metro to downtown and get off near the Arch De Triomphe and wandered down the Champs past Tuileries Garden and to the Louvre, stopping to admire the Place de la Concorde. These days the Place de la Concorde is a roundabout in the middle of a busy road in front of Tuileries gardens that houses two fountains and the large Egyptian obelisk from the temple of Ramses. More importantly, the Place de la Concorde was the Place de Revolution during the French Revolution, the main execution area for the guillotine. It is in this place that King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Danton and Robespierre lost their heads as well as more than 1300 French citizens during the years following the revolution. To see the Place now it is hard to believe that crowds gathered here during the revolution to witness people being beheaded…

By this time it was about 4pm but I decided to enter the Louvre anyhow as my week long museum pass allows me to leave and enter all of the attractions as many times as I want!! How awesome is that! Considering the pass is 60E it isn’t super cheap but when you think that most of the museums in Paris are over 10E each you only need to do 1 museum per day to recoup your costs and I know I’ll do more than that, so, sweet!!

Spent my one hour finding the Mona Lisa.. Now I would hate to try and find her in the middle of the day.. I found her bang on closing time and it was still 15 deep to see her!!! Like everyone who sees her I was disappointed.. I really think that the Madonna Da Vinci I saw in Munich is better, but what would I know???? I also saw his other works Madonna on the Rocks and St John the Baptist and wasn’t impressed by them either.. all of his works in the Louvre are much darker than the other one’s I’ve seen before. Anyway by the time I had, had a quick glance at the Mona Lisa I needed to skedaddle as it was closing time. I’ll be back to do a whole day at the Louvre sometime soon!

Posted by weary_feet 12:55 Archived in France

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