La morte en jaune

On this day we first went to the Musée d’Orsay, having been compelled to pass it over in favor of the Musée de l’Orangerie yesterday due to the immense line, and then went to the top of La Tour Eiffel, followed by a walk through the Champ de Mars to L’École Militaire—which has a monument to peace in front of it—and then through the garden dedicated to Antoine de Saint-Exupery to Les Invalides, including the Tomb of Napoleon. Afterwards we went for flower-shaped gelato on the Île Saint-Louis and then walked down the Champs-Elysées, stopping only at the Virgin Megastore before heading to L’Arc de Triomphe, from which vantage point we not only saw the sunset but also the display on the Eiffel Tower. This day concluded with dinner at a restaurant, although the metro ride back was a little weird...this clearly drunk couple got on with a couple of dogs, who kept trying to sit on and sniff our shoes; one of them got off at our stop, which was maybe a little like poetic justice and a lot like vindiction. Also there was a dude smoking a joint on board (despite the signs reading Intérdit de Fumer!). It made the day sillier.

The Musée d’Orsay isn’t even close to being as overwhelming as the Louvre, but it would probably still be better viewed two separate times (if you can afford it...); although we did also go to the special exhibit Voir l'Italie et Mourir (the English name sounds really silly...), which was amazing not only because of the layout but also because we got to see daguerrotypes (unfortunately, it was another lots of things on loan, so no photos). Anyway, I got museum fatigue by the time we'd gotten back down to the first floor for the pre-Impressionist stuff, and didn't even give Delacroix's space a go. But in addition to the art, it is another fantastic building with a great view of Montmartre and some surrounding area. (It used to be a railway station, but then the trains got too long...which isn't surprising once you're inside).

La Tour Eiffel...make sure you go all the way to the top. It's also not too bad to walk down from the second floor back to the bottom (and it's worth giving the first floor a look). Did you know it was bronze-colored? I did not know it was bronze colored.

There is a monument to Peace in front of the military school. It's amusing and, really, quite French (and the UNESCO park is also nearby, but we didn't bother as it was getting to be really damn hot).

Les Invalides was every bit as awesome as I'd hoped: we saw Napoleon's and Vauban's and a few others' tombs along with the lovely dome they're housed in, which includes stained glass windows resulting in colored light being filtered through. The enormous crucifix had a yellow window behind it, so entering the place one is not only overwhelmed with how high the ceilings are but also the colors (although really, the bluish light on one of the tombs was the best). It's funny how obviously classical Napoleon tried to make his representation; there's a ton of freizes of him and his various decrees in heroic pose and Roman costume. Apart from this, the medieval arms and armor collection is pretty awesome (they had the armor of Louis XIV, not to mention a gun-spear combo!), and then we ended with the Hall de Charles de Gaulle. This was a very new exhibit and very high-tech: we were given headphones with special receivers that would automatically activate in the language of our choice. We began with the video about de Gaulle and then went through the rooms; the coolest ones were the ones where you could point at the screen and use your hand as the mouse, basically (video recognition, I guess)? Unfortunately, a lot of stuff hadn't been translated into English yet. But it's a really great, if completely biased, gallery.

Flower-shaped gelato is so awesome and not too expensive. It was a chain store that I saw also on the Place de la Bastille and near Le Centre Pompidou; but the best one I'd still say is on the Isle because there is so much cool stuff in the area and you can sit by the Seine (but nice and above the stench) and eat.

The Virgin Megastore has many books in multiple languages, and an impressive collection of bandes dessinées and video games and stuff. It's neat. I went there mainly because I needed a new memory card...1 GB, even at 5.0 megapixel resolution, is nowhere near enough. The street all this is on is quite well-known and deserves its reputation. They had many wrought-iron windows that were just what I needed to stare and stare at and photograph.

The Arc of Triumph is the awesome. If you go up at sunset, you'll have a view of the sun sinking down over the Bois de Boulogne; there aren't too many high places in France so this is a great choice. Also, at around 9 p.m. (whenever the sun is completely gone, right at the last touches of dusk, basically), the Eiffel Tower enters a display of madness that explains how photographers manage to show it all lit up in white (although that's only possible with a long exposure). Seriously, it's covered in racing white lights and can be said to sparkle far more vividly than Edward Cullen.

We looked at this Belgian place for dinner, but literally everything had seafood in it (except the desserts...), which was surprising as Paris seemed to be way better for vegetarians than Greece. (Note: Greek menu appetizers tend to be mostly vegetarian and come in enormous portions; and there's usually at least one main dish that is vegetarian--actually, I don't remember having ever seen one completely lacking them. But they don't do tofu here, not even in Chinese restaurants.)

The ride back, as I mentioned, was strange.

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