I was a bit nervous the morning we left Bayeux because I was still not certain the railroad strike was over. French newspapers still said things like "it is pretty much over, so 7 out of 10 trains are running." I was worried that our train would be canceled again, and worried that it would be harder to deal with logistics from a small train station like Bayeux, but our train was still listed online so we figured we'd go for it. We walked to the train station, and had a completely ordinary train ride to Paris. Just what I was hoping for.
Once in Paris we found our subway lines and transferred so we could get to the hotel. Once again I was happy we were not dragging bags behind us, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the Paris subway system is to navigate. We popped up at Saint-Michel, right next to the Seine, and I couldn't stop grinning.
Paris felt like a dream. I'm not sure if it's because we had such limited time there, or because I've never seen a city like it before. But I was happy to be the goofiest tourist, ever. God, it was beautiful.
|First look at the Seine|
|Our hotel (the three open windows on the right are our room)|
|Lunch, and Notre Dame peeking through the trees behind E|
|Another day, another metric ton of fromage|
|Me. Paris. Books. Win.|
|Notre Dame from our hotel room|
|Sunset over the Seine from our hotel room|
|...and Notre Dame from our hotel window, by night. All lit up. Quite a view.|
After dinner I realized that my time in this country was limited; we wandered the streets and I continued to eat French pastries with an almost academic dedication. We were back to our room just as the sun was setting on Notre Dame.
Our plan the second day (or what we had of it--we had to be to Paris du Nord to meet the rest of our group by 1:30 PM) was pretty much the Louvre. We were packed up early so we could leave our bags at the front desk and walk to the Louvre before it opened. I am so glad we were there early. We were inside right at 9:00 and had about an hour and a half of seeing things almost completely by ourselves. The busiest pieces--the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, etc had a small crowd, each, but the majority of the museum was empty and we wandered alone in front of so many great works.
Favorites: Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix, Canova's sculpture of Cupid and Psyche, Jacques-Louis David's massive painting of Napoleon crowning Josephine, Hammurabi's Code, the Assyrian winged human-headed bulls, and Michelangelo's sculptures of slaves. But I think one of the best things about the Louvre was just being in the Louvre. Miles and miles of art and history. My one bummer at the Louvre: the one thing I really wanted to see, Winged Victory, was out for restoration.
Basically, I'm saying I need to go back.