Friday, May 14:  Exploring the Main Sights in Paris

Today I woke up slowly, because my dad woke me up. The second I got out of bed, my mom said that breakfast was ready, so I walked into the kitchen. We used supplies from the apartment, and some of our own. I got a buttered baguette, with some chocolate milk and orange juice. It was very good, just like the breakfast at the La Breche (Amboise), but much cheaper. It was early in the morning, and a lot was going to happen today, so I quickly got dressed and grabbed my pack, and followed Mom and Dad outside. The first stop today was... The Louvre! We walked across the river, and walked onto the grounds. It wasn’t open yet, so we went underground to the side entrance, where we hoped there wouldn’t be as big a line. We came out to the room with the upside-down glass pyramid, and we waited in line, until it opened. After a few minutes, it did, and the gate opened, letting everyone through the metal detector and into the main room, the center. To buy tickets, you go up to the machine, pay, and it gives you tickets! It was simple, and fast. We were NOT going to see the whole museum, because it is huge! With hundreds of rooms, three floors, three wings, and not much time.

We decided to do the ancient Greek first, which was ruined sculptures of gladiators and such. We followed the path until we came to a huge opening, where I recognized a very famous sculpture, the “Venus de Milo”! Its arms were cut off, because it was very old. It was very neat. Then we turned, and followed another hallway to a huge room with a lot more sculptures. A famous one was called the “Gladiator”, though they don’t know if it is one! It showed a guy punching his fist out, and looked pretty real. Afterwards, we went forward, and followed more confusing rooms until we came to a big room with ANOTHER famous sculpture, called the “Winged Goddess.” It was on the bow of a marble ship, not here, and had no head or arms, but her hands were in a separate case. The crowds were drawing closer, so we rushed out of the Greek area, and into the paintings. There was a long hall of paintings, all French. A lot were religious, with saints and stuff. We slowly walked down the hall, looking at the paintings, until we emerged into a grey room where many people were in. I got a peek and...

It was the Mona Lisa! I knew it would be small, but a bit bigger than I thought it would be. I couldn’t see, so I slowly pushed through the crowd. I only got bugged because a Japanese lady was trying to take a picture, and started to use my head like a tripod! That was annoying, so I pulled away, and up close. It was very cool, especially the smile, and the countryside in the background. I was surprised that you could take flash pictures, because most minor museums don’t allow pictures period, and the most famous museum in Paris allows flash on their most prized piece of art! When we all looked for a while, we left. Now we all decided to do a power-walk through some more rooms, without stopping. We did so for a half hour, and then emerged out into the main room, exhausted. With a quick stop to get Mona Lisa bookmarks, we went down the elevator. From the lobby, we walked up some staircases, overlooking the people down below, and emerged from the huge glass pyramid. This one stood up, and was the main entrance, but we didn’t use it. It turned out to be a nice day, great for what we were doing next.

We were going to walk down from the Louvre all the way to the Arc de Triomphe. Champs Elysees is the famous road we were going to take, and it was very straight, so we could see our target three miles away. We kept walking for a bit, until we came to a nice looking cafe’, where we decided to eat. It turned out a bit fancier than we thought it was, but oh well. I ordered a croque monsieur, a ham and cheese sandwich, and my mom ordered a side of escargot for all of us. It then came, and we looked around. My sandwich looked good (and was), but I directed my attention to the snails. They were bright green, and still in their shells, so we used a special fork to poke them and take them out. I got one, and then stuck it in my mouth. Not bad! It wasn’t very chewy, like I thought it would be, and there were so many herbs that that was all you tasted. Everyone else only had one, but my mom loved them and ate eight of them. We thanked our waiter for the nice meal, and then continued our walk. We were nearby, so soon we came right up to it and looked. It was very huge! There were four sculptures on the sides, and a viewing area up top. On the walk, we stopped in a little place, where Robert got a disposable camera for Paris (he used one for Rome, and will get another one for London). Now he could take pictures. My dad, Robert, and I went underground to cross the huge roundabout. We got up right under it, and looked around. My dad told us about the grave of the unknown soldier, and how the flame is always lit. We then walked back across and met up with Mom. We were ready to go to the next stop, THE EIFFEL TOWER! Man, this is a crazy day!

We took the metro, so we went underground, bought tickets, went to the tracks, and after a wait of 30 seconds, the train came. It wasn’t crowded, like Rome, and it had seats! We waited for five short stops, and then we got outside, and got out there. We went back underground to cross a huge street, and then got up in time to see the Eiffel Tower! It was huge, about twice as high as the Space Needle, and was painted brown. Huh? I liked how it looked like a big hand at the bottom, with four points. To climb up to the top, you take three elevators, one to the first floor, one to the second, and one to the top. We waited in line at one of the four booths, right next to each anchor of the tower, and we were on West. Once we bought everything, we went inside and up some stairs and into the huge elevator. It slowly went up, going directly to the second floor, but there were too many bars to see anything. Then we got off and up to another elevator quickly, to the top. This one I could see perfectly, with all of Paris around me. It was very awesome! The view got better and better. Then it stopped, so we got out and up to the viewing floor. WOW!!! I could see the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, our apartment, the river. If I looked straight down I could see a soccer match going on, which was fun, and on the other side was a huge area of grass, where people were lying on their backs, which made it look like they were really 2-D people from the this angle. After a long while of watching, we went back down the elevators, to floor one.

There was a post office there, where we could buy postcards to send home and to our grandparents. I chose one of it on a sunny day, and went to a table to write about it. It was a letter to myself! I just said what I did, wrote my address, and mailed it. My dad wrote the one to Grandmother and Grandfather. After that, we went out, and peeked into the gift shop. I wanted to get something to remember it, so I got a little metal keychain of the tower, and it said Paris. I attached it to my backpack, paid, and left. We then waited in line for the short ride back down, and then it came, so we got on, got off, and left. I thanked my parents, and then we walked out of the park. By means of transportation, we decided to take a boat home, so we bought tickets and waited for 25 minutes. My dad said we should all get ice cream, so we went up to a vending machine, and I chose a white chocolate ice cream bar. We thanked them, and then our boat pulled up. It was called a Batobus, and was very open, so we could look at all of the sights as we drove by. It passed down the river to the Notre Dame area, turned around, and we got off at the Louvre. We had to stop for a few minutes at each little stop, to let people on and off, but had a marvelous view. The Louvre was near our house, so we walked across the canal (we were on the wrong side), and walked to our apartment. There I worked for an hour. By that time it was time for dinner, so we went outside, in search of a cafe’. We were going to try to eat cheap tonight, because we had a fancy lunch, so we found a little stand where I hot dog. It was full of cheese, which is delicious, so we walked back home to eat them. At home, it got warmed up, because it was frozen. It was very big and very delicious, and I liked it. When I finished I cleared my place, and went to bed, exhausted. What an exciting day!