Thursday, July 23, 2009

Paris - Day 2

I learned the last time I was in France that museums are closed on either Monday or Tuesday. I brought a handy index card listing which we could go to on each day. In retrospect, it was fortunate that we went to the Louvre on Monday - I'm not sure our feet could have handled it the next day.

The museum's Egyptian collection is quite impressive. From statues, parts of tombs, and hyroglyphics, to jewelry and tools, it was amazing to imagine these items, 5,000 years old, being used.

The building itself is quite impressive also, dating back about 800 years. When construction started, it was only to build a fortress along the Seine. It later became a royal residence (holding collections of art, including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, for private viewing) until the court left Paris for Versailles (more on Versailles on "Day 3") in 1682. During the revolution in the 1790s, a state museum opened at the Louvre. The building underwent significant renovations in the 1980s, including the contruction of the glass pyramid, in order to accommodate a large number of visitors.

After the Louvre, we headed south toward the Catacombs only to discover that they're closed on Mondays. To make use of our two-day museum passes, we then found our way to the Centre Pompidou, a museum of modern and contemporary art built in the 1970s. It held a lot of interactive video art. It cost extra money to go to its temporary Kandinsky exhibit and so we stayed mainly on one floor and looked at a great collection of Alexander Calder's work.

From there we headed to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. A creepy guy commented that Summer looked like Amy Winehouse - she doesn't, at all, except that both are caucasian and both have tattoos. Tattoos were far less prevalent among Parisians than they are here, even among young people.

Finally, we got carry out from Pizza Hut (yes, Pizza Hut) and sat and ate on steps near the Seine, near Les Invalides, and got some great pictures of the City of Lights.

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