Saturday, 23 July 2016


Up early but not quite as early as Thursday, which was a good sign. Breakfast again from the stall in the station, this time they got the order wrong, one more pain au chocolat, one too few grille pommes but there you go, eaten in the hotel room this time rather than with the crazies in the station.

Bus up to Palais Royale and picked up our pre-bought tickets to Museé de Louvre, all very smooth, I must admit. We went into the museum through the famous glass pyramid entrance and I must admit it was impressive. Not so impressive was fast queue for people with tickets as pretty much everyone had already bought tickets so it was just another big queue. Still, the unwashed queue did build steadily and was bigger by kick off time.

It's hard to love the Louvre as it is so big and so busy. We did a greatest hits tour as we weren't sure how long we could keep going for, things like the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace are beautiful to look at but difficult to appreciate due to the crowds. The worst is, of course, the Mona Lisa, you don't so much look at it as survive the experience of getting close to it - is just so busy with people taking photos with the their phones and iPads, and selfies with selfie sticks!, that you can't stop and consider the actual painting at all. Shame, but there you go.

Highlights for me were the Raft of Medusa, the Coronation of Napoleon, the statuary of Versailles, Puget in particular and some of the items from Mesopotamia like the Hammurabi. All beautiful and sometimes times they were in nice and quiet rooms too. The last highlight was a cup of coffee that only cost 2 euros, who said museums are expensive...?

We kept at it until about 1pm but with energy levels flagging again we headed back to the hotel for a rest. Recharged we headed to Invalides and the tomb of Napoleon. Have been here before but it is undoubtedly an impressive place. Entry there also got us into the Museé de l'Armeé, which had very interesting exhibitions on arms, armour and there world wars. Shame that we had got there quite late - no gentle music and a quiet request to finish what you're looking at before you leave, just 2 large blokes shouting at you to, slightly more politely, get there fuck out right now. Charming, especially as the guidebook says it closes at 7 not 6.

Anyway after that it was off dinner at Chartier, this is an old Paris institution that my father went to when he lived in Paris in the sixties and he then took us to years later on a family holiday. My brother took his family there a few years back and now I've taken mine. Hopefully Marcus and Charlie will take their families to eat there one day...

The food was OK, the service as I remember and the atmosphere outstanding, as it should be, and great value too. Then it back to bed, managed to start awake until after 10 tonight, getting better...

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