Saturday, July 21, 2012

Paris Day 2

The day isn't over (it's around 7:30 or so here), but we've just come back to the condo and I think I'm in for the night.

We started the day off by going to Pere Lachaise, a famous French cemetery.  We saw the graves of Edith Piaf, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Steine, Marcel Proust, Auguste Comte (founder of Positivism, a religion based on science), Marechal Ney (one of Napoleon's generals), and of course, Jim Morrison.  Those of you who know my father can guess which two graves he insisted we see!!!  There was also a whole area with graves and monuments dedicated to people who resisted or were killed by the Nazis during WWII.  That was probably my favorite area.  Most, if not all, of the concentration camps had their own monument.  Several had statues on them that were amazing-skeletal looking people and such.  Pictures to follow.  It was really moving-I think of WWII being such a far away thing, so it was strange to think that part of it happened in France.

After the cemetery we went over to Sacre Couer, which is a basilica set on the highest hill in Paris.  It had a great view of all of Paris (it's even higher than the Eiffel Tower), but was fairly small inside.  Beautiful, though.  From there we walked over to the Moulin Rouge, which was disappointing.  I guess in my mind I had pictured it as being this big windmill set off on a hill kind of by itself and surrounded by artists.  There were no artists, but it was surrounded by sex shops and strip clubs.  Needless to say, I did not find the art I was looking to buy! We also passed by Le Musee de l'Erotisme.  We didn't go in, but there was a chair out front that had part of the seat cut out and attached was a wheel that had items sticking out that resembled tongues.  Use your imagination. 

Next we went to the Arc de Triomphe.  It was pretty impressive just to look at it, but you can also climb to the top.  There were 284 steps to get up there, all of which my legs keenly felt.  The view was well worth it, though-AMAZING!  After hiking back down we walked the entire length of the Champs de Elysee.  We stopped at Laduree, which supposedly has the best macaroons in Paris.  I also had to stop in at the Sephora there, which was huge!  It doesn't look that big from the outside, but when you walk in, I swear it goes back about a quarter of a mile.  Very impressive!  The Champs de Elysee ends up at the Place de la Concorde.  There we saw the obelisk that marks the spot where the guillotine stood during the French Revolution-Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were executed there.  We didn't walk around much-by then we were all hurting and ready go head back to the condo.

It was a fun day and we saw lots of cool stuff, but I think my favorite part of the day was the WWII section at Pere Lachaise. Tomorrow we're going to Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, and a museum or two, and my brother and sister in-law arrive from London.  Fun, fun!

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