I'm choosing this photo for today since it was the moment that had the biggest impact on me. I wandered into a building from the street and thought it might take me to the Louvre. I had no idea what it would be like and when I stepped out of the thoroughfare into the courtyard I was completely knocked over. I had never imagined how expansive or beautiful the Louvre actually was. It was beyond my wildest dreams. I went back for another photo in the evening.
And let's face it, I'm in Paris, I'm not going to be able to stick to the one photo per day while I'm here. So I had a huge day. Started out with a walk along the Seine, (in the opposite direction to where I wanted to go). Tried out my French on a passing stranger, "Excuse moi madame, ou est la Louvre?" and promptly turned around. I continued on to the church of Notre Dame which was my first awe inspiring moment. Actually to be honest the moment I walked out of my tiny hotel room into the streets of Paris I was continually in Awe.
From Notre Dame I continued on until I found the Louvre. Lucky for me I had started my day at 7:30am so there wasn't a line to get in and minimal crowds. I pinched myself a couple of times as I looked at Michael Angelo's David, general Leonardo Davinci paintings scattered on the wall, and then I entered the room where the Mona Lisa was... It is tiny! I was expecting this huge momentous occasion and there on a wall in the centre of the room behind glass was this small painting!
Next I continued on until I found the Tour Eiffel, I could see it on the skyline so headed in the general direction.
It really is impressive. Once again there was only a short line so I paid the 4.50 Euros to climb the stairs. Well, my goodness!! I was in awe once again. There are two platforms you can stop at and you can see the entire skyline. Paris has amazing buildings with gold painted tops spread all around.
It is a completely different feel to anywhere I have been before. The roads are crazy! Zebra crossings are just a suggestion! By the end of the day I could cross without fear of my life. And in strange juxtaposition with the beauty and opulence of the majestic old European city, there are beggars and homeless people just scattered around the place.
This man was living in his box, it was only about 3 degrees. The vent he is sitting on has hot air rising from the underground rail tunnel. I saw another man asleep in a street across the sidewalk with just a blanket over him. People walked past without a second glance. And there are young girls sitting with their heads down hands in prayer with a cup in front of them begging for money on the main shopping strip. They look like refugees. It is a strange city.
I finished my first day in a tiny restaurant (all the cafes and shops seem to be tiny) with a lovely glass of Savignon Bergerac.