The Lourve and Notre Dame: Paris Day 2
I woke up at 5AM to meet Lizzy and Kats in the Latin Quarter area, where our next hotel was situated. I was supposed to stay for two nights at Cuadron, but since I arrived in Paris a day late, I had to spend just one night. We checked in Albe Hotel, which had a very good location in the Latin Quarter, just off Saint Michel station.
Albe Hotel was also decent, still small, but the bath was relatively bigger. The room we got was for triple sharing (Euro 200 a night).
It was still a gray day, and it snowed lightly. We decided to get out and walk all the way to the Lourve. We walked by the banks of the Seine. It was quite quiet, and not much people could be seen. I guess it was winter, hence, it wasn't tourism's peak.
I actually liked walking in cities like Paris, since I get to see and appreciate the sights and architecture more.
We then found ourselves on the Pont de Artes bridge which is popular for the hundred of padlocks attached to its wire fence. These locks are put here by lovers who seal their relationship with a "lock". Paris is really a romantic city.
The Lourve complex was at the end of the bridge across the Seine River. I took a lot of pictures of the locks. I like how the bridge ironically looks dark and bleak at this time with snow covering its path.
So finally, after a pleasant (yet cold) 20 minute stroll, we reached the Lourve complex. The museum has just opened, so there aren't a lot of tourists yet. We managed to get in without lining up.
I was of course drawn towards the imposing spiral staircase, that had a "levitating" elevator in the middle. The elevator was used for the handicapped. I wanted to ride the riser, but noticed that only children and elderly were allowed to use it.
The Lourve was my first Paris tourist stop, and I was glad we made it our first. The Lourve was huge of course, and we immediately decided to just visit artworks that we wanted to see.
Walking through the Lourve was inspiring itself. The grandness of the interiors, the amount of significant artworks made me feel part of real history.
As soon as we got into the room where the Mona Lisa was, a surge of tourists poured in. We were able to get close to the most famous painting in the world, and after taking pictures, I turned myself to the back of the room.
Just opposite the tiny Mona Lisa was a striking mural. I forgot its name, but I was mesmerized by the painting, even more than the Mona Lisa. I realized I can appreciate details.
So we moved on, and found ourselves at our next stop, the Winged Victory. It was amazing to see this piece, a truly moving sculpture that was wrecked by history.
We visited the Egyptian gallery, which wasn't as impressive as I thought it would be. I guess I have to wait for Egypt to experience awe. We made it to Venus de Milo, which was quite huge from what I expected it to be.
It was already lunch, so we decided to stuff ourselves at the food court at the mall outside the Lourve. We came back after a much needed rest, and explored what we could of the Lourve.
In that mall, we did some shopping. We also saw this unique pay restroom (water closet). It looked so cool, we shelled out 1 euro per person to experience it. They had colored toilet paper, but that was it. It just looked pretty, but it was still a restroom.
We left the Lourve at 3PM and decided to go back to the hotel first to rest. We got ready for Christmas Eve mass at the grand Notre Dame Cathedral which was just a 3 minute walk from our hotel.
I kept playing The Da Vinci Code in my head. The Notre Dame had such an imposing facade with statues of saints. It was both eerie and empowering.
There were several security checkpoints as we entered. The cathedral was jampacked, and the Mass has already begun. The feeling was amazing; you could really feel the grandness of the divine.
The Christmas Mass in Notre Dame was solemn, despite the several tourists taking pictures of the altar and the crowd. During Homily, I took Lizzy around the cathedral which illuminated in candlelight. It was really like coming out from a scene of a movie (Da Vinci Code that is).
After Mass, we had our Christmas Eve dinner in one of the several restaurants at the Latin Quarter. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and I was just beginning to digest the wonderful city of Paris.