This morning we began our day with some more Paris bus touring. This included the requisite Eiffel Tower photo op, among other adventures by bus.
The Louvre with our guide was next. It was our first adventure with the earpieces such that we could actually hear the guide amidst the crowds. The tour of the Louvre (which is an amazing building with great architecture and whatnot, not to mention some rather famed art) was essentially the highlights — to see the whole Louvre would take at LEAST 6 weeks time. Yes, I saw the Mona Lisa among other great works of art. I rather liked some of the other paintings that I actually recognized (whether our guide mentioned them or not) from classes and such. I was also glad that I could read the blurbs by the paintings so that I had more than JUST the guide's words to fall back on.
That said the Louvre was very crowded and I would have liked to explore more off the beaten path I think and see some of the lesser known art. Free time included a three course meal at the food court (I SO wish we had that luxury here… three course meals at food courts… and good ones!) including several crepes (meal and dessert varieties) a salad and an expensive bottle of water (much cheaper as part of the meal deal). We walked about outside a bit, seeing a couple of shops and part of a street before wandering into the Tulierres Gardens (excuse the poor spelling) with the great fountain, statues and hedges… not to mention a smaller Arc de Triomphe type structure and a different view of the Louvre.
A trip back to the hotel to change and freshen up was followed by our next venture into Paris, this time to the Nouvelle Eve. This is a real Cabaret, located on the same street as the Moulin Rouge, but smaller, more intimate, better(?) and with more amazing food (?) according to our tour director. The show included everything from the famed Can-Can dancers, to acrobatics (similar to Cirque de Soleil), juggling, great singing, a statue come to life, comedy and audience participation. In fact two of the men from our tour group were invited on stage: one for a dance-off and one to have items juggled around him.
The dancing is perhaps the main reason one would want to watch a real Parisian Cabaret. Certainly there's the topless dancers to satisfy that desire of people (and many scantily clad people on stage in general), but the dancing was great, people had pretty attractive bodies (even if they were aging), and the choreography made great use of the small stage (did I mention that we had excellent seats?). One segment which I really remember included one of the four male dancers doing the splits repeatedly… and seemingly potentially painfully, by raising his leg above his head and than letting his body fall down to the stage noisily. He did this with the greatest of smiles though… making this (for him) routine action very impressive — afterall, I can't think of any men who would willingly do that, especially not in public!
Coupling that with a great meal (4 course: salad, meal, cheese course and dessert) and unlimited beverages, it was a fabulous evening!!
General comments about Paris:
– I would like to go back and spend some time at the bouquinistes (excuse the poor spelling): those green boxes where people sell secondhand books.
– I would enjoy seeing more of the Louvre
– I would like to traipse around to less touristy areas, because I can!
– I want to taste more of the great food!
– And shop at some of the cool shops
– And perhaps see another Cabaret
– Or even another type of theatre or music or culture…
– And I'd like to explore other areas of France too…