Saturday, April 25, 2009

Paris Jour 2

Are you ready for Paris Day 2? It should be noted that although I went to sleep at a decent hour (midnight Paris time, 4 pm Utah time) I was only able to sleep until 4 am. I tossed and turned and did everything I could to go back to sleep, but sleep eluded me. Finally at 7 or 8 Ryan woke up and we went downstairs to eat breakfast. I climbed in bed while he was in the shower, and promptly fell asleep until 11:30 am. So much for getting an early start to the day, but at least I was a little more rested (although I'm sure my body's clock wasn't any better adjusted to the time change). We began by going to the Musee du Louvre.

The outside of the building is as amazing as its contents... there are so many details carved into the pillars and I loved this sign above the archway entrance to the courtyard in front of the museum.

Here I am in front of the pyramid entrance (made famous in the book The Da Vinci Code). There were so many people, all anxious to see the same treasures we were.

There were three works of art the I felt I had to see last time... and this time it was the same. Anything else was just extra :). Here's the Venus de Milo.

...and Winged Victory...

...and of course the Mona Lisa.

I'm not sure who painted this, but it made me think of my sweet Liv. I saw lots of paintings that I think Coleman would have liked too--David and Goliath interpretations, war scenes, etc. One painting was so funny to me because it was a war scene and several of the men were totally without clothing yet had a helmet on their heads, a sword in one hand, and a shield in the other. Really? Was there a time in history that people actually went to war without clothes? I decided not to post the picture for decency's sake :).

I loved seeing this painting of the French Revolution, mostly because I love the album Viva La Vida by Coldplay. I seriously wished I had done some reading about the Revolution and history of France before I went. I also wished I had taken an art history class or two so I could have had more appreciation for the works of art we saw. The Louvre is amazing... we walked through all of the levels, but I'm sure we missed so much. We could have spent days and days there and still not seen it all.

As we got on the Metro we stumbled upon this double-string-quartet-plus-one getting set up for a little concert. They first played Pachelbel's Canon in D and then something by Vivaldi (we think). It was amazing and magical and I started to get all choked up. I seem to get emotional when I hear beautiful music.

My favorite part was this cute lady next to us who was directing them (although not officially a part of their group). It reminded me a little of Mr. Krueger's Christmas--she was so intent on the music and the way they were playing and you could tell she was full of joy just at being there. Ryan snapped this photo incognito so we didn't make her feel self-conscious in any way.

We took off walking to see some other parts of Paris and loved the idea of these bicycles. You can rent them in one part of the city and ride all over the place, then return them at another stop. We couldn't quite figure out how to rent them though--it looked like you needed a permanent Metro card or something. I'm quite sure I would have been a danger to all around me if I had been able to rent one, so it was all good and we just admired the concept.

We visited Sainte-Sulpice which is another old church (and is also featured in The Da Vinci Code). Unfortunately it was half-covered in scaffolding, but it's still a neat looking building.

Then we walked over to Jardin du Luxembourg. I just loved the gardens there and it was the perfect time of year to be there. Everything was such a vibrant, beautiful green and all of the flowers and trees were in bloom.

The flower beds were so carefully planned and color-coordinated. I loved the bright yellows and reds/pinks in this one.

There was an area where tables were set up and many people were playing chess. It reminded me of the Disney short film with the old man playing chess in the park. It was such a great place to people watch!

There were other areas set up for children to play which made me wish we'd brought Liv and Coleman with us.

The trees were planted in perfect rows. They are serious about their gardens!

Who's that handsome photographer?

I loved these colors too...

...and this reflection looked so neat.

We left the garden and walked to the Latin Quarter where we went to see another old cathedral... the Saint-Severin. I love the street signs on the buildings--they are uniform throughout the city which I think is very cool.

When I was in Paris in 2005 with my dad and sisters we saw a string concert at the Saint-Severin where they played part of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. It was a perfect venue for a concert like that!

Most of the cathedrals have such beautiful stained glass, which is hard to capture with a camera, but I gave it my best shot. I'd love to take an architecture history class someday too so I can understand more about how they built all of these incredible buildings so long ago.

Hey, I think that handsome photographer was following me.

We kept walking and caught a great view of Notre-Dame. The clouds were so beautiful (and luckily not producing any rain!).

I loved this view of the Seine. Several people recommended a cruise along the Seine, but we didn't end up fitting it in.

We sat down on Pont Neuf to rest a bit before moving on with our trek.

I just thought this was a neat view. There's that cruise ship we should have taken...

We kept walking and arrived at the Louvre again (weren't we there earlier in the day?). There were still a few people milling about, which made getting a clean picture impossible, but that's okay.

This is the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel--not to be confused with the Arc de Triomphe. It was also built by Napolean to celebrate his victories but is much smaller than the Arc de Triomphe and is in front of the Louvre. The statues on top were looted from somewhere.

Jardin de Tuileries is out in front of the Louvre courtyard. It's another beautiful garden and park area.

That is one wing of the Louvre in the background. The place is gigantic. I liked this reflection too.

We saw a shot just like this one in our tourist guidebook and Ryan wanted to replicate it (or make it better). We hung out waiting for the sun to set and the sky to change to just the perfect color. Ryan staked out his spot with his tripod and was all set to go.Just as the colors were becoming more vibrant, another photographer arrived and was a little disappointed to have the perfect spot taken (we'd been there for over an hour!). Ryan was gracious and shared... and we ended up talking to the guy and his wife for quite awhile. They were from Canada and gave us some pointers about other great photo spots.

The sky turned all sorts of beautiful colors... and just as that was happening, the guards came to kick us out. It was still five minutes before their actual closing time, but they were very insistent that we leave right then.

So we hustled down outside the gates to Place de la Concorde and got some photos from other angles. The building behind the fountain is the Grand Palais.

Right at 9 pm they turned on the lights on the Eiffel Tower... Ryan was hoping to get that in the photo with the obelisk and the statue, but with the closing time being so well enforced it didn't happen.

I loved the fountains there too, I thought this was a really pretty shot with the Eiffel Tower in the back.

Finally we made our way back to the hotel and crashed hard (I took a Tylenol PM that night to make sure I'd sleep through the night!).

Stay tuned for Jour 3...


Sally said...

Lisa, you (two) do such an excellent job of photojournalism! What a nice array you take. I really feel like I went there. How delightful that their spring had already bloomed for you, too! What a lovely time to go.

Shirlene said...

Glad you guys had a great trip......and you're willing to share all your pictures with us. I'm not sure we'll be going there anytime soon:)

lArZ said...

Love all the pix, especially the reflection pictures and the last 2. too bad they're so anal about closing time, don't they know that tourists want some great sunset photos at certain spots? =)

RyanH said...

Great job! No need for me to post any more photos, yours are great! What a great day!

Heidi said...

A trip of a lifetime! Makes me hope that Andy and I can make a trip like that someday. The pictures are amazing.

Janene said...

Lisa, amazing! What a beautiful vacation. Makes me ache to buy some plane tickets