Only 1 more post after this from my trip!! I know you're excited!
July 16 (Wednesday)-We got a later start because the Opera House didn't open until 10 am. We took the Metro and walked a little bit looking at the little stands that sold stuff for dirt cheap! Mom bought some cute shoes for only 10 Euro!! I wished they had my size!!! So we get to the Opera House and think WOW!! This is so pretty!! But it was gated off...hmmm...so we walk around and see another main door...it was closed off and it looked like they were closed to do some work inside. Bummer!! We came all this way and it was closed. Mandy suggested that we just walk around the whole thing just in case...and we walk right to the front!! Every angle of this building is beautiful!! We kept thinking we were at the front! So, we go inside and look around in the foyer. There were statues of Handel and other composers I didn't know. On the front of the building, were busts of Beethoven and Mozart, etc. It cost 10 Euros for a tour, so we decided not to...but in hindsight, I REALLY wish we would've!! This was where The Phantom of the Opera was based!! There's a lake under there!! They probably wouldn't give tours down there, but it was probably a VERY interesting one!! I'll never forgive myself!! (Oh! The drama! ;)
We then took the Metro to the Arc De Carousal (no picture...my sister does)-the largest arc in the world! It was big and cars were speeding all around in chaos!! I was glad I didn't have to drive that! There was a policewoman (who should get paid big bucks because she was risking her life every second!) trying to direct traffic. They had the people IN the roundabout yield! Very strange!! On the way to the arc, we walked down Champs Elysees-the best (and most expensive) place to shop in Paris. There was a Louis Voutton store that was HUGE and the first one ever built. The real estate there is $$$$$!!!
Then, we took the Metro (things aren't very close together here like they were in Rome) to the Notre Dame Cathedral! So Gothic! Lots of stained glass (famous Rose Window).The flying buttresses (you can see one in the picture on the right) were SO cool!! I just LOVE that architecture! And the little gargoyles are just there for drainage...except this one on the right. This little guy is the most photographed gargoyle of them all! We actually didn't have binoculars (cuz he's WAY up there) and I just knew it was on that side of the building so I took a picture. Later, I zoomed in and saw that I got him!!! Yea!! Isn't he cute?!!! The facade was COVERED with saints and little devils. The main relief was of the righteous on the right hand and the wicked on the left in chains with the devil leading them. Isn't that about right? We walked around to the back of Notre Dame, and boy was it cold!!! We weren't in Italy anymore!! I didn't bring a jacket cuz I didn't think it would be like this!! We literally chilled in the park behind the cathedral to rest and maybe have some entertainment from some young British girls. Well, they took WAY to long to set up so that never happened. Then, decided we needed some food. We found a nice restaurant. I got kind of an open faced sandwich with a sunny-side up egg on top of some meat. I decided to smash my sandwich together and eat it. Don't know if that was right, but oh well. While we were there, the floor opened up...yup! They got a delivery and opened a trap door to send the bottles of wine down to the cellar, I guess. Pretty cool. The French guy said, "If you don't finish your meal, we put you down there." Ha! Ha!
After lunch, we decided to separate. Mom & Dad went back to the hotel to get their jackets (& mine how nice!) and we (me, Mandy, & Tiff) decided to walk around to see if we could see any more churches. It was actually really nice to be off by ourselves. We didn't get into any more cathedrals since they all cost money, so we shopped!!! Sweet!!! We found some cheap (5 Euro) skirts and me and Tiff bought, and I got some killer shoes!! They weren't that cheap but SO DANG CUTE I just HAD to get them!! I don't usually do that, but we were in Paris and I wasn't coming back!! We also went into Sephora and smelled all the delicious perfume. My new fav is Burbury...so anyone can get that for me for Christmas if they want! ;)
So this picture is my spoils from my trip! Not too much and not too little...just enough stuff that it will get used and not thrown out. I always worry about that when I shop for souveniers. So I got: a skirt, shoes, necklace, handbag, Eiffel Tower , Double Decker bus, Venice stamped original art, puppet, and 2 masks (one in a box). I was quite proud of myself. Happy Birthday to me!!
Then, we decided we needed to head to the Louvre to meet up with Mom and Dad. It's a good thing we decided early, cuz we got lost!! We for sure thought we were on the right road and it turned into something else! How could we not locate a 2 mile long building?!!! Finally, we found it! And luckily, we found Mom & Dad amidst the HUGE crowd around the big pyramid! Whew!
We bought tickets ahead of time and get right in. The Louvre is HUGE!!! 3 different wings!! We didn't know where to start!! Luckily, we had Rick Steves to guide us along on a tour. We saw the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, and Michelangelo's Slave sculptures, the Mona Lisa, Madonna on the Rocks, Napoleon's Coronation, etc. It's interesting that they totally let people take pictures in here. I thought these were the most famous works of art here! This video is in the room where the Mona Lisa is (sorry about the last piece of art, with the nude...I was really trying to make it so our kids could watch. Oops!! I was almost immune to it by that point, so I didn't even really think about it until it was too late!). REALLY crowded. And the painting is quite small compared to all the others, but I was already prepared for that. I heard it was an 8X10, but it was bigger than that. Probably a 16X20. I don't know what the fuss is about it, but it was fun to see it in person. What really is she thinking?
After the Louvre, we were pooped!! It was about 10 pm and we got on the Metro to head back to our hotel. I'd been a little antsy that day since I had told Shawn I would call him a day ago, but I couldn't get the calling card to work in the hotel we were in (& the hotel didn't have anymore 5Euro Internet cards!). So I wanted to find an Internet place to email him. On the street of our hotel, there was one, owned by Arabs, of course! (Mandy says they all are.) And only men in there, of course! I felt a little out-of-place...I was glad Mandy was with me (the others were outside cuz it was a SMALL little space!) So I only have to pay him 1 Euro for 15 minutes. I said I only need 5 minutes...but I was wrong!! The keyboard was all weird!!! I gave up trying to do period and capital letters. I could only stand to write him a short note of what was going on and it took me like 7 minutes. So it was a good thing they only came in 15 minute increments. So that was interesting!! We were a little bit hungry so Dad bought us kabobs to take back and share. Kabobs...yummm...