The city was amazing and there was so much to see. Notre Dame was so quiet and peaceful just as one would imagine an 850 year old church to be. During our tour we were told that Victor Hugo was told by his wife to stay in their home and finish writing his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The church itself was in need of repair and a portion of the money from the novels sale went to the restoration of the Cathedral. While there we had the opputrunity to hear the bells of the church ring, it was a beautiful sound. We also unfortunately had our first encounter with pick pockets. Thankfully we did not lose anything and were able to learn how they operated. It was very sad to see young children and teenagers trying to steal from people. I felt sorry that they had to grow up as criminals and that is the only life they most likely will ever know.
After our stop at Notre Dame, we continued on with our tour of the city. We saw The Opera House Napoleon had built special for him, but never even went to. We also saw Les Invalides, which was once a hosptial and is now the burial place of Napoleon, or so they say. The story goes that when Napoleon's body was returned to France by Great Britian that they were only allowed to view the remains for two to three minutes, at which point they agreed it was Napoleon. That finding is still up for debate. We also got to make a quick stop at a picture perfect spot of the Eiffel Tower. It was a cloudy day, but the pictures still came out great.
We stopped off at The Lourve for a short guided tour. Our guide informed us that at any time only 10% of the art was displayed and we would be seeing about 2-3% of that 10. The museum was huge and would take days to go through in its entirety. Our tour took us to see The Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, and of course the Mona Lisa. My 8 year old informed me that she did not think that Mona Lisa was a very pretty lady, after seeing her in person I have to agree, but still there was something about her that was intriquing, maybe it was her smile. We also saw the painting of The Marriage at Cana. This was taking from Italy during WWII, cut in half for transport and brought to France. Several years later it was agreed that the painting would be returned to Italy, but after some consideration it was decided to leave it in Paris. There was a lot of concern about the damage that may be done in cutting it in half again.
All in all our second day of the trip was very interesting and we ended up eating supper at McDonalds. I have to say the fries are not as good as here, but the chicken nuggets acutally tasted better. After supper we did some shopping and stayed up late, of course we were still on American time, so our internal clocks were way off. We slept in the next day and took our first ride on the metro system. I was very crowded, but much quicker than walking. We decided on our third day we would take a river tour of the city, oh what an adventure that was.
To be continued......