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Written on: Saturday May 31st, 2008

A journal entry from: Around the World in 80 Days!

Day 72 - Paris, France - Distance Travelled: 44,390km

Bonjour mes amis!

We have spent an incredible and exhausting few days in Paris so far.  We've been doing so much walking and stair climbing that we are thoroughly wiped. But it's been so worth it!  Paris is fantastic.

Our first day we were too early at our hotel for check-in so we headed out to the Louvre grounds.  From there we wandered through the Jardins Tuillery, to le Grande Palais, up Avenue de Champs Elysees to l'Arc de Triomphe, to the Eiffel Tower (and then back again.  We spent a good 7 hours walking around and situating ourselves.

We spent the following day at the Louvre where we saw the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and many other magnificent pieces. We had hoped leave early to get to Notre Dame in time for a tour, but found out it is difficult to leave the Louvre!   We eventually made it to Notre Dame and were a little surprised at how commercial it is.  Unlike other cathedrals and churches we've been to, no one seemed to be concerned about noise level of people walking through and there were several touristy exhibits inside.  But it was great to climb up the towers and to get our first look at Paris from above.  The original gargoyles were pretty impressive as well.

As time ran out before everything closed, we wrapped up our day at the Conciergerie where they held prisoners awaiting the gallows and guillotine during the 'Reign of Terror' in France.  We saw Marie Antoinette's cell as well as reproductions of cells for other prisoners of different classes.  Really interesting and frightening.  Finally we headed back to the Arc de Triomphe for the evening to get some night shots of Paris.  The Arc is much larger than I'd imagined and is completely decked out in the museum inside with top of the line technology and this awesome tool that allows you to zoom in on parts of the Arc.  The view from the top is incredible as well.

Yesterday we headed to the Saint Chappelle early.  There are stained glass windows on all sides and it is pretty amazing.  From there we headed to the Pantheon.  The ground floor is a huge open plan and under the centre dome is Foucault's pendulum with which Foucault proved the earth's rotation.  Under the Pantheon is an amazing Crypt where several important and distinguished people from France's history are buried.  We saw the tombs of Marie Curie, Victor Hugo, Rousseau, and Voltaire, amongst many others.  With a quick snack in hand we hiked to Musee l'Armee where all the military history is displayed.  First we headed to the dome to see the tomb of Napoleon I, and then we spent a couple hours wandering through the World War I and II exhibit.

We ended our second long day back at the Louvre (as it was a free evening for youths!) to see some more of the exhibits before packing it in.

Today we went to Versailles.  It is an incredible place and you almost feel like you're in a time warp back to the days of Louis XIV.  The old palace is amazing (but crowded with an unpleasant amount of tourists) and the hall of mirrors is beautiful.

But the most amazing place is the gardens.  The cover 1100 acres of land and are littered with magnificent and unique fountains at every turn and period music is played from hidden speakers in the perfectly groomed trees and shrubs.  There are several man-made lakes and a huge cross-shaped canal in the centre filled with huge (ugly) fish where you can rent a rowboat.  We wandered to Marie Antoinette's Apartments, which were unfortunately closed for reservations, but we got to see the seperate private gardens which she had designed and built for herself.  It was so picturesque.  Everywhere in Versailles was like walking into a painting.

We were planning on heading to bed early tonight, but instead I've stayed up and written this huuuuge blog.  Hopefully it doesn't put you all to sleep!   We have another full day planned tomorrow.  It is the first sunday of the month so museums are free!  We hope to take advantage!

Only a week until we are home!  Party in Calgary next Saturday!




From Stine :) on Jun 1st, 2008

You're pictures of Paris arew amazing! It's so b-e-a-utiful! I really can't wait until you guys come home!! Safe travels! Love ya :)