Friday, July 11

Today we went to the Louvre art museum which was right next to our hotel. The building was enormous, stretching 700 meters on the river Seine. It was overwhelming with so many doors and entrances around the museum - we didn't know where to start! When we walked through one of the entrances we found ourselves inside a very modern glass pyramidal structure, where we ate a quick lunch. We then began our adventure through the enormous museum. There were not only paintings included in the exhibitions, but also statues, ancient artifacts and crown jewels. We weren't sure about any specific collection of paintings we wanted to see, but we knew we absolutely had to see the Mona Lisa. Before viewing some early Italian paintings, we stopped by a famous statue called Victorie de Samothrace, which is an old Greek statue of an angel, representing Greek victories.

As we ventured down the enormous hallways we saw some DaVinci, Raphael and Botticelli paintings that really caught our eyes. As we approached DaVinci's famous Mona Lisa, we saw an enormous crowd and tons of cameras flashing frantically. It took us a while to get through the crowd, but we eventually spotted the woman's magical eyes, mysterious smile and relaxed hands. I had seen so many copies of the painting, but none of them were quite as magnificent as the original. Mom thought she looked content and satisfied, Dad thought she looked as if she had something she was keeping secret, and David liked the background of the painting. I thought the eyes were amazing - it's no wonder it took him 10 years to paint them! We then explored some crown jewels and artifacts, but because we were hot and tired we decided to leave. Everyone thought the museum was amazing and we know we'll come back again someday! ~Katie

We spent the late afternoon and early evening exploring Montmartre which has attracted artists (including Picasso) and writers since the late 19th century. The narrow cobble stone streets were crowded with cafes, people and motorcycles although it seemed much quainter than the Paris we had seen so far. The neighborhood was built on a hill and at the peak stood the Basilique du Sacre Coeur, a large chalk white Catholic Church built in the late 19th century. There were 234 steps to the entrance - it brought us to the highest point in Paris, and the views were fantastic. The kids noted that we have now climbed well over 1,000 steps to get views in Paris! (284 at the Arc de Triomphe, 787 on the Eiffel Tower and now 234 more). The church was quiet and a welcome relief from the heat. We also spent time in the Place Du Tertre where there were more sidewalk artists than we could count - many were doing portraits and others were painting Paris scenes in pastels, acrylics, oils and watercolor. ~Paula

For dinner we decided to try something new. We went to a fondue restaurant called Le Refuge des Fondues. This was by far the coolest restaurant I have ever been to. It was a small and hidden restaurant, with tables along the walls and graffiti covering the wallpaper. We had to climb over the table to get to the booth along the wall. As soon as we sat down we were given a variety of appetizers such as olives, pickles, cheese and pepperoni. The weirdest thing of all was that our drinks were served in baby bottles! Yes, baby bottles! Even our parents' wine was served in these bottles. We were then given melted cheese and sizzling oil over a flame. We were then given raw meat, day-old bread, potatoes and a variety of sauces. We made our own fondue meals! We dipped the raw meat into the oil, and it quickly cooked into medium rare steak bits. These were delicious! We then swirled our bread into the melted cheese. This was also very tasty, if you could fish it out of the cheese. We made our own French fries by letting the potatoes sit in the oil. We finished off our meal with a small amount of fruit salad, and headed back to the hotel with full stomachs! ~David

Distance Walked: 5.69 miles





















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