Today was the first day we got to sleep in a bit. We woke up at 9:30a got dressed and went down to breakfast in which the hotel had a pretty arrangement of frest sweet OJ, slices of ham, cheese and mixed fruit. We are definately getting further from the American “eggs and bacon” breakfast.
Erin and I then with a map in hand, set out to explore Paris. We got turned around right away though, and ended up awkwardly walking around the block before returning to the hotel and asking the consiere for directions. A thing to note about Paris is that it wasn’t designed by the Romans, as for Roman cities are built on a grid system (just like America is set up) with strait streets going left to right and north to south. Paris is a confusing maze full of twisting roads, roundabouts and one-way streets.
We walked about an hour along the Siene river to our first stop, Notre Dame. And boy was this one of the largest and more beautiful gothic churches imaginable. Now I understand what all the fuss is about it. Upon arrival as well, we found another guy from our group, Nathan, and had him join us so he wasn’t alone. We got in line as we saw a line wrapping around the side of the building as we assumed it was the line for free enterance. But after waiting an hour and Erin running around front to check the line status, we found that there was just a general enterance with no line. But since we were almost to the front of the current line we were standing in, we just stayed and I’m so glad that we did. As we entered we walked up the highest, most narrow and by far the longest spiral staircase I’ve ever been on. But once we reached the top, we were at the middle section of the roof of Notre Dame! The view was unbelievable and you were right up next to the gargoyles. Afterwards we walked back down and did the normal tour of the cathedral and once again it was breathtaking.
In the bell tower with “big marie” above, and “little marie” to my left.
Outside the middle portal (cathedral doorway); studied this one in class as well!
After walking through Notre Dame, we were quite hungry so we stopped by a quick sandwich shop and got €5 sandwiches that had fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, ham and turkey on them.
We then headed across the street to see the famous St. Chapelle cathedral but unfortunately, it was closed for the day. So we walked west down the Siene to the Llouve.
The Llouve was ginormous because it used to be a palace at one point, but years later converted it to a museum. It was a stone building with gold-leaf embellishments everywhere. The inside is a courtyard in which the famous glass pyramid is found. With our 2-day museum fast pass, we hopped strait to the front of the line. We spent almost 3 hours in the Llouve, seeing everything from “Winged Victory”, Da Vinci’s second “Madonna of the Rocks” and the oh so famous, Mona Lisa. A note about that painting was that there was one long hallway you walked down that was littered with Christian Art. You then were directed to a little side room halfway down the hall and there was the Mona Lisa on a wall all by itself in the middle of the room, and the wall had to be about 3 stories high. It was just an unusual sight for such a large space to be dedicated to one small painting. Nevertheless though, we pushed our way to the front which didn’t take long at all and snapped our photos and were on our way.
Outside the Pyramid
After walking around so much we finally grew tired and were ready to head back, so we walked an hour and a half back to our hotel. I took a quick little nap before getting dresses to go see the Moulin Rogue show at 11p.
There was approximately 10 people out of our group of 50 that wanted to see the show so along with our your guide, Andreas, we walked a street over and took the metro north to the theater. A great thing I found out about Paris’s metro is that it only costs €1.80 for a one way ticket whereas in London it was around £5. That was great that it was cheaper and I made note to take it the next day when out with Erin.
Once we got to the Moulin Rouge, its important that I mention that it is nothing like the movie. Its just a small theater in between two tall buildings, flanked by two bars at the ground level. Since we arrived early at 9:30p and the show didn’t start till 11p, we went to the bar next to the Moulin Rouge called O’ Sullivans, and got drinks before the show. I didn’t end up buying anything though because the show already came with free unlimited champagne. Also while we were there, the 2nd AESU tour group that is a day behind us arrived at the bar because they also got tickets for the show, so it was cool to see other OSU students there.
When the show finally started, it was hands down the most beautiful, spectacular and bizarre show I’ve ever seen. First of all, it is a topless show, much to the surprise of some of the other group members. There were approximately 20 couples dancing on this medium sized stage (about as big as the middle auditorium in Medina High School) that were all the same size and height, in big state make-up, and with elaborate costume changes every 2 minutes. I can only say to Google the costumes and see if you can get a glimpse of what I saw because they were beautiful bejeweled and feathery costumes that were similar to Las Vegas show girl outfits. There was singing in french with english every now and then. The plot was a history of french culture all over the world (France, Canada, China, etc.) and one number in particular consisted of the stage lifting up to display a 12ft tall fish tank full of live boa constrictors and snakes! One of the dancers then dove into the tank and we watched in horror and amazement as she swam with all the writhing snakes as she lifts them up and twists underwater with them!
Our table was the one at the bottom right of the image, right against the balcony
These women were incredible!
Snake tank that came up from the stage floor!!
Another memorable number was a circus theme and 6 dancers each paraded a small miniature pony (3 grey ones and 3 tan ones) around the stage. There was also an incredible acrobatic couple that did unbelievable stunts consisting of him balancing her on his head as she is doing a handstand using only her head on his head as her point of contact. The last memorable act was a mime like figure that did a hilarious skit of pretending to be a Parisian driving through Paris , using a kazoo as sound effects for cars whizzing by.
After the show and having only two small glasses of champagne (thank god no more than that), we had the option of getting a taxi back to the hotel already prepaid, or going back to the bar with Andreas and having a few more drinks but paying for your own cab back. So naturally it was now 1a and I and two other girls got into the back of a cab and Andreas gave the driver directions, paid for the cab, and sent us on our way. We giggled the whole way back and the driver thought we were hilarious. At the hotel, Erin was still up so we chatted and I told her all about the show before hitting the hay.