Thursday, 17 April 2008

Paris in the Spring

I never realised that going to Paris in the Spring was something to get misty-eyed about until we booked a trip there for our one year anniversary which, coincidentally, falls in the Spring. When I told people that we were going in April, I got the same reaction over and over. "Oh!" people would say. "Paris in the Spring!" I'd never been to Paris before Spring or not, so have no idea how it is the rest of the year. Maybe it was because of it being Spring, or maybe just because it's Paris, but I simply loved it there.

Notre Dame - just like in the Disney cartoon! And, yeah, the Victor Hugo book as well I suppose

We spent the better part of three days in Paris wandering the streets, sampling the food, sitting in cafes, and taking in so many cultural sights we were knackered at the end of each day. It was great fun though, especially when we found the odd place to relax and watch the world go by. This garden in Montmartre was a particular favourite.
We did most of the usual stuff while there - Notre Dame, looking at the Moulin Rogue, walking along the Seine, looking at snails on the menu and crunching up my nose at them, walking down Champs-Elysees singing "Aux! Champs-Elysees!" and taking cheesy photos in front of the Eiffel Tower. We also, of course, went to the Louvre. While I was a little underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa on account of not being able to get close enough to see the difference between the real thing and a reproduction, the Louvre was still far and away the best art gallery I have ever seen. It felt like we were there for hours, but when we left I realised that I had only seen about one tenth of what's on display, if that. The sad thing is that unless the art is located on the way to get to the Mona Lisa it is probably ignored by many who visit.

The pyramid outside the Louvre from below. If Dan Brown was correct in The Da Vinci Code, that's where all the secrets that would undermine the Church forever are hidden. I didn't see anything exciting, though.
Trying to get a look at the Mona Lisa. Yes, we found it strange that you are allowed to take photos in the Louvre as well, but without a flash it's supposed to be OK. It still feels a little wrong though...

A further highlight was the church of Sainte-Chapelle, located near Notre Dame. This church was stunning, even if we struggled with the idea of Chapelle being a religious name rather than a convicted drug smuggler currently serving time in Bali. After having a conversation in line about did Chapelle do it or didn't she, we went into the church and forgot all about the Bali Chapelle on account of it being so stunning.Paris was fabulous, and given it only takes two hours by train I expect I'll be going back a few times before moving back to NZ. I will be lucky to have such a great time as we did last weekend though, and it was a slightly cheesy but perfect way to celebrate one year of being hitched. Yay!


Julie said...

My French lecturer always told me if you want to see more of the Louvre go in summer when they have longer opening hours, and go about an hour before it closes. There'll be a lot less people and you can spend more time looking at paintings and less time wading through people!

Maybe another time when you go to Paris you can make the trek out East to see me. I hear the Strasbourg Xmas market is a must-see and my house is between Paris and Strasbourg!

Sarah said...

Jaysus - the jealousy! Congrats on your 1st anniversary guys, I can't think of a more awesome way to spend it than in Paris. Love ya heaps, Sarah XX

Bonnie said...

Yay, you went to Saint-Chapelle! It's my favourite building in Paris, so pretty.