Friday, July 15, 2011

Bastille Day Blunders and Other Parisian Adventures

Going to make this quick because I'm still battling a cold I picked up during the first week of the trip and that means it's bed time.

Yesterday morning we did (yet another) free walking tour. Our guide was from Philly and it was weird to hear such a familiar accent explaining the sights and history of Paris. We started in the Latin quarter and saw the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and a lot of the Seine. It was a good tour that helped us get a feel for the city and brush up on our French history. Since it was Bastille Day we decided to check out the fireworks over the Eiffel Tower. Some girls from the tour invited us to watch with them at the top of Montmarte. We were hoping to miss the crowds, but the hill was still pretty crowded. We had a picnic of bread, cheese, and wine as we waited on the hillside for the fireworks to start. Fortunately there was a lot to keep us entertained, including bongo players and a guy who balanced a soccer ball on various part of his body while climbing light posts and stuff. Unfortunately, a large tree entirely blocked our view of the fireworks. Weird that half of Paris seemed to also make that mistake. Still, it was a fun way to celebrate Bastille Day.

Today we went to the Eiffel Tower, promptly decided that the crowds were more than we could handle, and spent the rest of the time leading to 6 wandering up the Seine. We were waiting for 6 because after 6 on Fridays the Louvre is free to anyone under twenty-six and we wanted to take advantage of this policy. We walked and sat and stumbled on a random carnival right outside the Lourve (is it always there or was it just for Bastille Day? We may never know) which we wandered around. Then we spent a couple of hours in the Louvre checking out the Winged Nike (my all-time favorite statue), the Mona Lisa (and its massive following), and the rest of the massive collection. Even though it was the Louvre, I somehow didn't expect to recognize so many of the paintings and sculptures and was surprised when I kept having Art History flashbacks.

Tomorrow we check out Versailles! More later!

Sun setting over Paris.
Mona Lisa and her groupies.
The Eiffel Tower. Obviously.
Bastille Day picnic. The building behund us is Sacre-Coeur Basillica.

In front of the Lourve.

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