Well, yesterday (5th April 2008) was the culmination of one of my longest and dearest childhood dreams as I landed in Paris, straight from Boston. I barely had any sleep during the red eye flight, yet as soon as I checked into the hotel, I traipsed off on my Paris adventure immediately after freshening up. Work begins on Monday, so I only had the weekend to explore.
I woke up bright and early to go visit the Louvre Museum. Read that entrance is free on the 1st Sunday of the month, what luck! There was a Paris Marathon this morning, and the road (Rue de Rivoli) in front of my hotel was jam packed with runners, it was almost like a stampede. That's the start of the Louvre Museum in the picture, and I could not cross the street to get to the entrance until all runners were gone; it took almost 30 minutes for the road to clear. So much for being kiasu early.
Finally joined the queue to the main entrance of Louvre. Since it was free, the line moved real quick.
Here's a little secret, for those who want to get in faster; enter via the Galerie du Carrousel which leads you to the basement level, and here at the upside down pyramid, is another queue that less people know of.
One of the rare Leonardo da Vinci paintings at the Denon wing (Louvre has 3 main wings; Denon, Sully and Richelieu, each with multiple levels). The Denon wing is by far the most popular wing as it houses the Mona Lisa by da Vinci, the holy grail for all Louvre visitors.Speaking of which, this is the room in which the venerated Mona Lisa is kept, under guard and behind a special glass screen. The Mona Lisa is at the far end, left of this picture.
This was the closest I could get to it, without going pass the barrier.
The statue Michelangelo, in all its anatomical glory.
The Venus de Milo, alot of aunties posing for photos here, competing with Venus (aka Aphrodite).
It would take many days to cover the entire Louvre in detail, and since I had covered all the important must-see pieces, located mostly within the Denon wing, I hit the road again.
After Louvre, I strolled down the river Seine toward the Notre Dame Cathedral.....and fulfilled another childhood dream. Here's the front entrance.
I attended mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was conducted in French, and could not help but to marvel at the gothic architecture of this Catholic cathedral. Photo taken from my seat, sans flash.
View from the back of the Notre Dame Cathedral. This was the picture from my primary school days, emblazoned in my mind, now made reality.
Walking down the river Seine, there were many sidewalk stalls selling souvenirs and paintings. Bought a couple of both at a bargain.
The Place Vendome, at the top of the monument is Napoleon Bonaparte on a horse.