Le Mans/ Paris, France (4.26.10 – 5.1.10)

The return ferry trip was quick because this time, the stop in Jersey was only long enough for new passengers to board, instead of there being a multiple hour long layover. Once back in St. Malo, we loaded our luggage into the car and set off for Le Mans, where we were staying for one night, while en route to Paris. The hotel was gorgeous; we checked in fairly late and then set off in search of food. Because it was so late, everything was closed, and so we had to settle on getting fast food at a chain called “Quick”; it was overwhelmingly mediocre.
On Tuesday, we had breakfast, checked out, and began the drive to Paris. We checked in at our apart-hotel, and then went to return the rental car. We walked back to the hotel,  settled in and had dinner.
Wednesday was a busy day; we packed a lunch and headed off to Pere La Chaise cemetery, because my dad had never been before. We visited the graves of many great people such as Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Chopin, and Jim Morrison. And then, we visited a grave that read “Sextoy;” apparently this person was a DJ, but why their grave displayed the name Sextoy, I do not know. After the cemetery, we went to the Cinematographic museum; I wanted to go because I knew that they had an exact copy of the Maria robot from the classic Fritz Lang film, Metropolis. The Maria robot was definitely, for me, the highlight of the museum; she was made by the same man who made the one for the film. The only difference between the two is that the original costume had hinged joints so that it could be worn, and the one in the museum was like a statue. The whole museum was really interesting and I particularly enjoyed the Fritz Land and Jean-Luc Godard parts of their collection. After the museum, we went shopping at the grocery store and then headed back to the hotel. We had dinner and then I went out to meet some friends, Alix and Lou, who I met in Rome, at the Pont des Arts. The Pont des Arts is a bridge across the Seine, that offers a beautiful view of the L’Ile de la Cité, which is home to Notre Dame Cathedral. At night the bridge is packed with groups of  people enjoying picnics, which is precisely what we were doing that night, to celebrate Alix’s birthday. It was a wonderful night, and it was wonderful to see the girls again; I headed home around 11, because I was quite tired.
On Thursday, we headed to the Louvre, because this was another thing that my dad had never done! We decided to hit the greats and then leave, because trying to tackle a significant portion of the collection is a daunting task indeed. We first found Winged Glory, and then La Joconde (the Mona Lisa). One of my favorites is housed in the same room as the Mona Lisa. It’s called “Jupiter Punishes the Vices.” We then went to the sculpture section, and saw Venus de Milo, and then Cupid and Psyche, which is my very favorite sculpture. We were going to leave at this point, but decided first to wander through the Egyptian gallery, which was, no surprise, absolutely incredible. We then walked to the L’Ile de France to visit Notre Dame. I insisted that we needed to stand on Pont Zero, which is in front of Notre Dame. It marks the centre of Paris, and it is said that if you stand on it then you will return to Paris. We went inside the cathedral to admire the stained glass, and then decided to head back to the hotel so that we could rest a while before our night out. And where were we going, you may be asking? THE MOULIN ROUGE!! Once home, my dad napped, and I showered and began to get ready. Fact: we both looked excellent. We went for the dinner and revue, so we arrived for 7PM, and proceeded to have an amazing three course meal, coupled with champagne. During dinner, there was a cabaret act, with a band, and a man and woman singing. The woman was superb, the man was less impressive, but it was still fantastic. At 9PM, the girls came out, the Féerie started, and the hour and a half that followed were absolutely remarkable. Let me start off by saying, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many boobs in one night, and I’ll be amazed if I ever do again. The women were beautiful, the costumes were extravagant, colorful, and interesting. The whole experience was unbelievable, and it’s difficult to give a full impression of how incredible the whole night was. In between dances there were a few other acts: a magician, a pair of contortionists, a ventriloquist, and an act in which one of the dancers swum around in a tank that was filled with SNAKES! I loved everything, and perhaps predictably, my favorite part of the night was the can-can. What is truly amazing is the fact that the crew do this twice a night; when we left, there was another group waiting in the lobby to enjoy the same show that we had just seen.
Friday was comparatively tame, and we were both quite tired after Thursday’s exertions and excitement. We made sandwiches and headed to the Eiffel Tower, so that we could have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower. We didn’t go up, because my dad’s not too taken with heights, and I’ve been up twice before, so wasn’t fussed to do it again. We had talked about going to the Rodin gardens after the Eiffel Tower, but we were both far too exhausted to do so, so instead, we went home to nap. I napped for three hours! Obviously, I really was tired. We had a quiet night in on our last night and as was consistent with the rest of the trip, I cooked us dinner one last time.
On Saturday, we checked out of the hotel, headed to the Gare de Nord to get the Eurostar back to London, and before we knew it, we were back in England!

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Moliere’s grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery

La Fontaine’s grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery

Oscar Wilde’s grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery

A holocaust memorial in Père Lachaise Cemetery

A holocaust memorial in Père Lachaise Cemetery

Edith Piaf’s grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery

Sextoy’s (Delphine Palatsi) grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery

Jim Morrison’s grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery

Chopin’s grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery

The Maria robot at the Cinematography Museum in Paris

L’Ile de la Cité, as seen from the Pont des Arts

Alix’s birthday treats

From left to right: Alix, me, and Lou

An orchestral group performing in the Metro; they were excellent

Winged Victory, in the Louvre

Jupiter Punishes the Vices, by Paolo Caliari, in the Louvre

The Mona Lisa, in the Louvre

The Wedding at Cana, by Paolo Caliari, at the Louvre… this is probably the biggest painting I have ever seen.

Cupid and Psyche, in the Louve; this is my favorite sculpture I have ever seen.

Venus de Milo, in the Louvre

This… is just ridiculous.

My dad in front of the Louvre… “One day son, all this will be yours.”

Notre Dame de Paris

Apparently one day this will be mine too!

My dad on Pont Neuf… Paris will be in his future.

I will return to Paris… I hope to live here one day, for maybe a year or so. I have to see how this pans out with adulthood.

The front of Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s rose window

The Hotel de Ville (City Hall), in Paris.

Standing outside the Moulin Rouge to see Féerie. Sadly, no photos were allowed inside.

The Eiffel Tower!!

Mon papa

Eiffel Tower hat

Goodbye Paris… back to London we go!

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