A Better Day

Ok, so today was definitely a better day.  We went to the Louvre, and even though  I was supremely annoyed that we still had to stand in line, even though we purchased the (expensive) Paris Museum Pass (which promised us immediate entry to all locations included), I made it through the line.  It probably took twenty minutes.  And the only reason I even waited in it in the first place was because we immediately got into a conversation with two very nice guys behind us (who were either a couple or very, very good friends.  I really hope it was the first because they were super nice and very happy together.)

And I had a good time at the Louvre.  We were there for six hours, so I guess I had a really good time.  And yes, we stood in line for EVERYTHING.  That’s really the only choice I have here, and so I’ve decided that I’m going to deal with it (when it is within reason–the line for Notre Dame was NOT within reason) and then never return to a place again that requires such lines.n line to get in, to go to the bathroom to have lunch–we even had to stand in line for the escalator to get OUT of the building.

But all bitching aside, as we spent most of our time in the areas of the Louvre that no one cares about, it was actually very nice (fortunately for me, I like Dutch painters–a lot.  Second only to French impressionist painters, which is why we’re going to Orsay tomorrow).   I loved the building itself, and took dozens of pictures of painted ceilings and staircases.  My favorite part was Napoleon’s ‘apartments’, which were, in a word, insane. 

We saved the ‘worst part’ for the end of our visit–we glanced at the Mona Lisa–and the mob surrounding it–from the doorway, and clicked a photo over our shoulder of Venus before running from the masses.  We took the amazing metro home (we either have really good timing, or one comes every 45 seconds), and decided to not make the transfer required to go right to our doorstep, but instead walked through some pedestrian walkways whist I window shopped (I’m totally coming home with, like, eight pairs of these sort of genie-meets-mc hammer pants everyone is wearing and selling). 

We returned to the apartment to drink wine and rest our feet going across the courtyard for dinner.  Want to have an embarrasing experience?  Go to a Chinese restaurant in Paris.  Ask the waiter ‘parlez-vous anglais?’ and realize that he doesn’t speak French (or English).  We pointed at the menu, and ended up with the best meal we’ve had here so far.  As we can see it from our kitchen window, we will be going back.

We then took a stroll (so the husband could smoke–I’m ‘letting’ him smoke while we are here, which is only fair, as he’s ‘letting’ me live, despite my extreme bitchiness), and then got a gelato before walking back home.  We planned out tomorrow–sort of–and decided that we’re only thinking one day in advance. 

He also took some time to jot down some notes for the blog–or blogs–he’s planning on guest writing.  That’s definitely something I’m looking forward to reading.

Additionally, as promised, here are some photo sets from Flickr, for anyone interested:

London iPhone Pics

London Highlights

Paris–the first two and a half days

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13 responses to “A Better Day

  1. So glad to see you had a pleasant day. BTW, your pics do not show the face of a woman who has been pissed off, LOL You look quite happy in all of them.

    We were in Paris the first time in July, then the other times have been early June and December. Hardly any lines except for July. Lines don’t bother me anyway, except for places like Disneyworld where it is totally insane to wait 1 hour for a ride that ends in like two seconds?

    Glad you are continuing to write, and thanks for adding pics.

    • yeah–i took 200 pictures in paris so far, and i posted 13 of them. trust me, there are many of me looking grumpy! (but when i look grumpy, i also look old and fatter, so i don’t share those!) don’t worry, when i get home and have a faster computer with a human sized keyboard (that is NOT a stupid PC), i will post whole sets of pics titled things like ‘me angry in paris’ or ‘f-ing lines everywhere’ (yes, i took pictures of MANY lines!!!!)

  2. YES! I am so happy you had a good day. Don’t give up you are making great progress. Your philosophy has taken off in the right direction, your tolerance for things that can’t be changed is growing and you (and I bet hubby) are happier. Keep writing. Keep traveling.
    Toni

  3. Fantastic, you had a good day today. Like your plan to take one day at a time. You have some great pictures and you look happy….it doesn’t show that you haven’t been enjoying yourself.
    Hope you have a great day tomorrow….keep writing.

    Robin

  4. Oh My Gosh. This is like a support group for people that need to enjoy their vacations. I think the Chinese food experience sounds like one of the most enriching. And don’t be embarrassed… you are the 20th tourist this week to point to foods to order. It’s fun for them. You can probably see why…
    My advice (because there was bound to be some somewhere…) is to ask a French person what normal people do there and then do that for a day or two.
    What DO you want the trip to be exactly? Waiting, worrying, wasting… or wine;) weather, walking, and wondering…
    Keep the chin up… and good work today:)

  5. I wish so much I could show you the Paris I love Tracy…it’s nothing like what you describe. July is the worst month to go…very crowded.
    As someone else wrote, mid-June to early July is best (given that you’re a teacher). I just got back from a month in Paris. We stayed in an apt on Ile Saint Louis, the little island behind Notre Dame. We walked by/went to Notre Dame every day. It does get crowded starting at noon in July. 9 am to noon is the best time to go. We only stood in line for 2 min – the line goes fast. If someone wants to climb the tower you MUST get there by 8:45 am. I never smelled piss anywhere in Paris. There are bathrooms in all the cafe’s next to Notre Dame. But I was frustrated too one day, when the bathroom behind Notre Dame was closed, after walking all the way there. I’m so glad you liked the Louvre, I’d recommend to others though, to only go in the evenings (this time of year) when they are open late on Wed and Fri. It’s much better then.
    I HIGHLY recommend you make a point of going to the Luxembourg Gardens asap! It’s my favorite place in Paris and absolutely beautiful…and very relaxing. Hang out there and enjoy!

    • actually, we did the louvre yesterday in the late afternoon/early evening, and it wasn’t bad (aside from the very popular areas). and we just got back from orsay, which we also did over the dinner hours, and it wasnt’ bad, either. no line to get in AT ALL. and, to be fair, the pee smell thing also occured in london, too. it was so bad in one location, we ended up spending a lot of money to eat at a nice restaurant (because all of the hip, inexpensive ones surrounded and opened up to ‘pee smelling square’–it was worse than an unclean litter box.) i think it’s a big city thing. we did visit luxembourg gardens today–very beautiful, post and pics to come.

      • Tracy, I have to say that in all my trips to London and Paris I have never came across a pee smell. You mention you thought is was a big city thing,
        I haven’t smelled pee in any of the big cities I visit.

        Continue to enjoy your trip.

        Robin

  6. Robin–to be very specific, I experienced it in Hoxton Square in London, as well as in a small park in Paris on the Left bank, just across from Notre Dame, as well as in one metro station (don’t recall which). The other main area that is affecting my life daily is directly outside the main door to our apartment building. Said door is in a little alcove, down some stairs from a couryard, and is clearly used as a urinal daily and nightly (as it is completely secluded, I understand why one would pee here if given no other option–the tile walls are even pained nicely, to give the pee-er something to look at). We actually have to step over the puddles of urine to exit. And the apartment and apartment building are very nice, as is the neighborhood. It is the only issue we’ve had with our stay in this particular rental. I say it is a big city thing because I experienced it in both Philly and NYC, and my husband lived in NYC for six years and agrees with me. ‘Especially in the summer’, he says.

  7. Now you understand the emphasis on strategies to bypass lines LOL! During my first trip to Europe, I think the thing that required the most adjustment was dealing with all of those lines – for ev-ver-ry-thing! They were everywhere. I just hadn’t considered the idea that other people had bought guidebooks that year, too! The situation is usually better outside of June-July-August, though.

    Your last post is so much better! YEA!

    And if all else fails, remember, we’re HERE, and

    YOU’RE THERE!!! Let go; Enjoy being there!

  8. So in three isolated places you smelled piss…Your previous entry says “No wonder Paris smells like piss”. Maybe you could be more fair Tracy and not generalize so much. Like I said in a previous post, I just spent a month in Paris and never once smelled piss. I understand you’re frustrated, but could you try to be more fair? I love and adore Paris…it’s unfortunate you’re having such a difficult time.

    Maybe a Rick Steves tour would have been a better choice for a first trip to Europe…especially during the most hot and crowded time of the year.

    I hope you’re able to find all the good in Paris…if you’re willing and open to it you’ll find lots of it.

  9. I want to comment on the pee. Hahaha. It may make people really grossed out but I live in a dense, beautiful city (the most beautiful in the US) – San Francisco – and it smells like pee and I have seen people doing drugs on the street pretty often. I’ve lived here for 6 years and my favorite neighborhoods with the best food, amazing public art, and diversity come with downsides. And in the city, its loud outside my window at times. I think it is the population density that make these cities great and stinky

    • I love the way you put that–great and stinky. Kind of like really good cheese. And it isn’t the pee smell that bothers me, it is the reason behind it (nowhere else to pee) but the actual reason behind it (homelessness) is a tragic fact of life in every large (and small) city in the world. I was mostly continuing to comment on it (the pee smell) because someone above continued to insist that it does not exist. Put simply, it does. Actually, on the way home from lunch today, I saw human shit on the sidewalk. How do I know it was human? Because it was at the bottom of a stone pillar thing–meant to stop cars from entering an area, but used as benches by most–and the poop dribbled all the way down from the top of the pillar and piled below it, exactly like someone had hung his or her ass off the pillar to take a dump–which I’m positive is exactly what occured (very clever, I might add). This was directly in front of the Pompidou Centre–not in some dark alley. I was tempted to take a picture just to prove my point (but I didn’t–because that would be gross!)

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