Exploring Paris

We took France by storm yesterday, conquering the three main attractions of the capital city: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre.

(Okay, fine, we didn’t actually conquer the Lourve – that would probably take two or three days at a minimum to do. But we did see the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, along with other wonderful pieces of art.)

We started with Notre Dame in the morning, taking the subway there. It’s kind of sad that my main motivation to go to Paris comes from a Disney movie, but hey, it got me here. Ever since watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame I’ve wanted to see the church that it actually takes place at, and it was even more spectacular than Disney portrayed it (which is saying something, because Disney in general is just so wonderful).

There was a line to get into the church, but it moved quickly and was well worth it. It was really dark inside, so the pictures I got weren’t the best, but I’m going to post them anyway:

The altar was long and gorgeous, complete with what looked like choir stalls on the sides. This statue of Mary and Jesus is in the movie (yes, I know I shouldn’t care, and that it’s kind of lame, but still!).

This was the statue behind the altar.

This is one of the rose windows in the church.

We sat in there for a while and prayed for a bit, and I couldn’t stop admiring the actual structure of the building. It looks like the ceiling was made out of white bricks. Which makes me wonder, how did they do that? The church was constructed almost 850 years ago – I don’t know how people would do that now, let alone back then. It’s quite impressive. We’re hoping to come back to the cathedral one more time and climb up to the top of it, which would be awesome. (Oh, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about when I refer to the Disney movie, here’s the scene I keep thinking of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iECANaKSWUA And trust me, it really looks like that!)

After seeing Notre Dame, we took our Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour of the city, which is really pretty! We got off at the Eiffel Tower and decided to walk up the stairs of it (or at least to the second level, which is as far as you can go on foot). Doing this is the equivalent of climbing 43 stories! While they weren’t letting people go all the way to the top yesterday, we did get a marvelous view of the city from the second stopping point:

I definitely want to come back and go all the way to the top someday 🙂

Finally, we took our bus to the Lourve, where they were having a Friday-night deal to get in. I was instantly a little overwhelmed by the mere size of the museum, but it was in an awe-filled way. We were a bit tired from all of our activities, so we didn’t spend as much time there as we probably should have, but we did get to see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Mona Lisa was beautiful and actually was bigger than I thought she’d be: I’d heard she was a tiny little painting, so I was surprised to see she was rather normal-sized. It feels really cool to see possibly the most famous painting in the world with your own eyes. Venus de Milo is the popular statue with no arms. I liked her too. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the statues they have here and in Rome because it gives you a sense of what was considered beautiful hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of years ago. We have this idea in our mind (or, at least, most American women do) that you have to be skinny to be beautiful. In many statues, we see that that is not the case: so many of these women were not rail-thin, yet we still find them beautiful. I dunno, I think it’s an interesting perspective.

We ate dinner at a little bistro a few blocks from our hotel, which was lovely. Our suitcase came (alleluia!), and we all went to bed early because we had had such a long day. This morning we’re eating croissants from Subway (the patisserie that we wanted to go to was closed) and are trying to decide what to do before going on our cruise of the Seine River. Hope you all are doing well – au revoir!

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