Our next foray into town is eminently unsuccessful: We head into town and finally find ourselves some much-missed fish and chips at an English pub called The Bombardier. Our ambitions to see some more of Paris by bike are thwarted completely — first by an embarrassing spontaneous onset of dizziness resulting in my nearly passing out (not my manliest moment!), then when I was totally recovered and ready to go, by a totally flat tyre, resulting in a very long walk home, pushing the bikes all the way. It’s probably for the best though — it’s Sunday morning, and the city reeks of Saturday night’s revelrous public urination, an omnipresent assault on the nostrils. Ah, France.
We try again a couple of days later, much more successfully, this time headed to the Louvre. We pick a Wednesday, when the museum is open until late, and take our time getting there, stopping for a very satisfying lunch of noodles at a Japanese restaurant nearby, and dropping into the impressively shiny Louvre Apple store (where — oooh — they do credit card processing with iPhone 4s mounted to a barcode scanner + credit card reader accessory, and customers sign with a finger on the iPhone display!).
We bring along a Louvre audio tour by Rick Steves, but discover that the Louvre’s layout has changed since the audio tour was produced, and nothing’s where it’s supposed to be. Luckily, we think to try starting a few chapters ahead, and find it more-or-less correct from that point onwards. It’s great to be talked through what we’re looking at in an accessible way, instead of either gaping at the displays in total ignorance of their significance, or being academic’d at by a stiff scholarly audio tour.
We particularly enjoy Kite Jesus:
And we put my mother’s assertion that Katherine resembles the Mona Lisa to the test:
The palace itself is as impressive as the art within, and it feels even more cavernous as evening sets in and the crowds dwindle to just a few others beside ourselves. We walk down deserted, creaky hallways and feel distinctly like intruders.