Day 20 - Spain/France Trip - Paris

July 10, Wednesday
Paris

We are beasts! Bike riding, speed walking, museum going, up early and late to bed going beasts!!

We had the hotel call and arrange bike rentals for us the night before. We walked to an underground parking garage and found bikes all in a row chained up. The parking garage was actually really nice with painted walls and pavement. We had to ask a few people where to find things but it worked out!

We had been sent a bike number and a code for the lock. We each found our bike equipped with a basket and bell and rode them up the ramp.

It took a bit to get accustomed to the rules of the road for bikes. What we found is that while there are rules of where bikes should and should not be they are not always followed so almost anything goes!!Most streets have a bike lane which are very wide and also used by taxis and buses at times of pick ups and drop offs. On busy roads there is an actual cement barrier between the road and bike lane so you don’t constantly feel like you may get hit by a vehicle! Would I recommend riding a bike in Paris? Most definitely! If you are a confident bike rider and aren’t a little kid it is a fun way to see the city and get to places easily and inexpensively.

We learned the rules of the road on our way to the Orsay Museum. We parked and locked our bikes to a fence (apparently you can lock them anywhere) and got in line just as it opened. As with the day before we were able to get into a special line with our pass and walked right in. The fantastic thing about Paris (one of many) is that kids 18 and under get in free to all of the museums!

We went to see Van Gogh, Degas, and Rodin first and were the only ones in the room! Our next stop was more crowded and featured works from Monet, Mattise, ... The rooms weren’t overly crowded so we were able to take our time and enjoy the art.

We spent an hour in Orsay and then made our way to the Rodin where we walked right in and saw The Thinker with the Eiffel Tower in the background, Hand of God, and the Kiss.

Across the street was Les Invaildes. The home of Napoleons Tomb. His body was moved years after he died and put inside 6 coffins all made of different materials. To view his coffin one must bow their head and look down or look up (in reverence) if you are on ground level. The coffin is in the middle of a circular room at the center. It is quite the sight!

Adjacent to the main room is a chapel and then there is a building shaped in a square around a big courtyard. The building houses army and military artifacts. We went through the WWI and WWII areas and well as the era of Napoleon. They even had his horse stuffed and on display! A bonus was that they had an exhibition of Picasso and War so we were able to see more Picasso! Jackson could have spent much more time here but we had to move on.

We had tickets to go up the Eiffel Tower at 2.  This was the only line we stood in all day. Getting the the second floor was quite easy and we didn’t wait long to go up that elevator. Once on the second floor we immediately stood in line to go up to the summit. This was a long and slow line.

Of course the view is amazing at the summit.  Jackson was disappointed that the champagne shop was closed. We milled around for a bit and then took the elevator back to the second floor.

We looked at the view from the second floor and did some shopping before taking the stairs down to the first floor. On that level there is a glass floor for an eerily look straight down.

We continued down the stairs and made our way to the ground and to our bikes. We strategically rode to Tuileries Garden where we parked and walked to the Orangueire Museum which features Monets Waterlies. This is a small museum but very cool. The rooms are in a circle and the paintings span the entire room and are curved. There are two rooms like this!

Our final museum stop was the most famous and the busiest although we still didn’t have to wait in any lines, just clumps inside near the popular exhibits.

We went into the museum through an underground entrance in a mall to avoid possible lines. We made our way to the Mona Lisa which was not an easy feat. There were mobs and mobs of people! We also saw Venus De Milo and other pieces of interest.

We biked back to the hotel to drop off purchases, pamphlets, and the sweatshirts we had been carrying around all day but hadn’t needed. Biking is a sweaty dirty job by the end of the day I was covered in dirt and my feet were scrapped up mixing sandals with pedals.

We decided to go to Ise Sainte Louis since we hadn’t been there and I had tried to reserve a hotel there. It is a small island in the Seine next to the island that Notre Dame is on. You can stand in the middle in certain places and see the river on both sides.

It’s a lot populated with cute restaurants and the most famous ice cream in Paris. We ate at a cute little restaurant with one waitress and only a few tables. The food was great. After we wanted to get the best ice cream but it closed just before we got there. We still got ice cream just not at the popular place. We walked around a bit and then rode our bikes back to where we picked them up in the morning.

We are so lucky that the lady who was in the parking garage working in the morning was in the street when we returned the bikes because we couldn’t figure out how to get them back down!

She didn’t speak English but we figured out that we had to put the bikes in an elevator. She called down to get the elevator to come up and no one answered. After a bit she called on the phone and finally the elevator came up.

We stuffed ourselves and the bikes and our new French friend in the elevator and headed down into the parking garage.

In our walk back to the hotel Jackson wanted to get play Pokémon Go and I wanted to stop and get Tyce a gift. The shop worker looked at me and thought I looked super tired so he gave me a free sticker for my suitcase. Yes I was very tired! 34,000 steps!!

We spent the rest of the night packing and preparing for our departure so like every other night in France we were up very late!

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