Today we got to see the two major things we did not see on our own time before boarding the ship: Montmartre and the Lourve. It was a perfect way to spend our first day on the Neptune.
In the morning, we took a Viking tour which included and a drive through the historical places of Paris and a trip to Montmartre, which is an "artistic" neighborhood on the north side of Paris. It has a fascinating history, because many famous artists and writers lived here to get the artistic stimulation. It has shops, hotels, restaurants, cafes, the Moulin Rouge, and the Red Light District. It could almost be mistaken for NOLA's French Quarter except for the hills. And at the top of the largest hill is the beautiful Cathedral de Sacre Couer. This is the highest point in the whole Paris metropolitan area so the Cathedral can be seen from very far away. It also offers a fabulous panoramic view of Paris. We did discover that taking the funicular up and the 300 stairs down is the best plan of action.
In the afternoon, we took a Viking private tour of the Lourve. This is definitely the way to see this amazing place, which houses 170,000 pieces. The tour gets you into a fast track entrance, which was wonderful since there were several hundred people in the regular line. Our guide was a wonderfully knowledgeable and hysterically funny Swede who has lived in Paris for 30 years as an art historian. We were there for an afternoon, which only allowed us to see some highlights, including the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa. But he also showed us many historical artifacts and priceless art pieces. Neither Bowen nor I are art experts by any stretch of the imagination, but we both loved this tour.
And Bowen really is beginning to understand what I love about Paris!
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