Zig Zag to France 2012 travel blog


Saturday in Paris was busy. We set off for the Louvre. We had been before in the 70s but didn't really remember much and it was well before they built the glass pyramid which we thought was just fantastic, in particular from the inside where there is a huge space with light marble floors and it is like daylight. This pyramid was built in 1989 and was very controversial.

Nor does it matter how often you go to a gallery especially one of this size. We followed Lonely Planet's guide to the Louvre in half a day with a couple of their recommended detours and it was great. There was old and new, mostly famous and some not so famous. We enjoyed seeing Napolean's rooms with the most massive chandeliers and gilded everything. By the time we reached the Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory of Samothrace http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winged_Victory_of_Samothrace the crowds (made worse by large tour groups of Koreans who were glued together and hard to work your way through) were getting the better of us. We also saw an additional exhibition on one of Da Vinci's paintings called La Sainte Anne - they have acquired many sketches that Leonardo did over the number of years he worked on this painting (and never finished it completely) as well as other 'copies' done by his students. Also a number of documents/books that were in French. It was pretty interesting to see how a painting can evolve and keep being reworked - like the novel that the author is never quite happy with...

We hit the shops again for a couple of hours but the crowds there were horrible!! We went to Le Bon Marche mainly to look at their food hall which is fantastic but it's not so exciting when you are not buying. We also went back to La Galleries Lafayette - there is a good coffee cart out the front (best coffee out of a poor lot in France - by our Australian standards at least). Mark was starting to lag (too many handbags, not enough cameras).

We weren't as exhausted as we expected after all that so we thought we'd give Notre Dame a go but that came to nothing as the crowds there were impossible. It's free entry and the queue moved quite well but it still wove and wended it's way around the square. Even an hour seemed too long and we weren't sure how long it would take. So we wandered home over the love bridge (of locks) and along the Left Bank looking at all the stalls that still sell old books, drawings, posters etc.

Then it rained - all night. We went ALL THE WAY to see the Eiffel Tower at night and it did it's thing (very pretty) FOR FIVE MINUTES. And it was pouring. We found the nearest bistro for an average dinner. And that was Paris. It was fantastic. We loved it and would go back any time.

Also loved Charles de Gaulle airport - cruisy. And really loved the A380. So roomy! Pity we only had it for the 6 hour part of the journey and not the 13 hour.

It's much hotter in Dubai a month later. Now about 42 deg. Mark has gone for a swim but I can't be bothered. We did a bit more souk shopping this morning until our legs wore out. We had to use taxis to get about which was lucky because they're cool. This evening at 6.30 we have tickets to go to the top of the Burj Kalifha - the tallest building in the world! At it's base is Dubai Mall so we will also see the fountains there. That'll be the last thing we do. Our flight to Melbourne departs at 10.10 Tuesday morning, a very civilised hour.

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