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Published: June 22nd 2017
Geo: 48.8567, 2.35099
2 January - "The best laid plans... hey, they worked!"
Today's plan was to head down to the "buffet breakfast." After 7 minutes outside the elevator, we gave up and headed down 5 flights of stairs to the breakfast room to find all sorts of croissants, cheeses, and jellies. €9.50 seemed a bit excessive for something so meager, so we decided to set off and find something closer to the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, we didn't have our coats, bags, etc., so it was up 5 flights and back down again. What's up with all of the spiral staircases in Europe? They are everywhere. Most all are-indeed-not anti-clockwise. (We miss you, Jane.)
We Metro-ed our way to the Tour Eiffel area and stopped into a café for breakfast. Everything was great-croissants, bread, omelets, banana and nutella crepes, café au lait-until the bill came and the usually happy kitty let out the saddest "meow." Breakfast for four=€80, or $104. MEEEOOWWAARRGGH!
After our breakfast of champions (it kind of made us feel important to drop that much cash for a meal that at home would cost about $25 total), we headed toward the famous tower. It was surprising to find so many unpaved, somewhat muddy pathways near and around such a famous site. We were glad for our early arrival once we saw the line, which was arranged in a not-so-efficient manner. After a wait on the ground, followed by another wait on the second level, we found our way to the top of the iconic tower. At the top there were two levels, one enclosed in glass, the other encaged in wire. Barb opted to stay below the birdcage, but Rich, Jeannette, and Jake would not be deterred. What a beautiful day!
We left the Tour Eiffel and found ourselves on yet another long, unpaved walkway. Originally, our goal was a Metro stop, but we just could not resist making a quick run by the tomb of Napoleon. We never made it inside, but had to visit the location and grab some quick photos. Rich adds, "He's still dead, even today." The question of the day was, "What does 'Invalides' mean?" We're thinking injured soldiers at this point, but will have to consult the trusty French-English dictionary on our return home.
From there it was off to the famed Arc du Carousel located along a line running from the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre Pyramid. There, after a few moments and a postcard purchase, we met our new friend and guide, Ellen. She found us right away because of a conversation Jeannette started about the Last Supper painting that devolved into Rich describing the Penultimate Supper from Monty Python.
Thus began the process of unlocking the da Vinci code, which started by looking at ancient figures of woman and child and drawing comparisons between them and popular imagery depicting the Virgin Mother and Child. Along the way there were several other interesting points including ceiling artwork, German works relegated to the former stables in the basement, and of course the famous Louvre works of Venus de Milo, Nike, and Mona Lisa (La Joconde). Ellen was a terrific guide with wonderful insights into art history, not just a bunch of da Vinci code enthusaist junk. We enjoyed it a great deal.
From the Louvre it was off to dinner near the Chatelet stop, which led to a night of fun that went on and on.
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