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2012-May-12 - France Trip 2012 - Louvre Guided Tour (Saturday)
This morning we enjoyed the luxury of a long lie in and a late breakfast.

We popped in to a local supermarket to buy some provisions so that we could have a sly cup of tea in our hotel room.

We headed back to the hotel to stash our purchases and then on to the railway stations.

It took about an hour to purchase our tickets because the ticket office was closed - apparently due to a printer not working.

Linda settled on some all day passes so that we could ride anywhere on the light rail and metro system.

Every journey we take seems to centre around reaching the Saint Lazare railway station and then transfering to the metro system.

From Saint Lazare you end up having to walk almost a kilometre in underground tunnels to reach the Saint Augustin station.

From here you take the number 9 line to Franklin D Roosevelt station then transfer to the number 1 line to Palais Royal Musee de Louvre station.

All the Parisians seem very stressed and always in a great hurry - walking briskly or running to get from one train to another.

We can see why all the inhabitants seem so lean and fit - they are constantly hurrying and walking long distances through the metro system.

We became lost a few times and had to back track sometimes - mainly we had trouble with the down arrow on the signs - sometimes it meant "go straight ahead" and other times it meant "go down the steps".

Anyway - by the time we reached the Louvre we had almost made friends with the system.

We reached the Louvre at 12.00 pm with a good two hours margin to meet the tour guide.

We decided we would enjoy the luxury of a coffee and cake while sitting on the terrace watching the plaza.

Only coffee was available - so I left Linda waiting for our order and nipped off to find some take away food elsewhere.

About 40 minutes later I returned triumphantly with a pizza but our coffee had still not arrived and took another 30 minutes to turn up.

I was very puzzled by the lack of food and drink kiosks in the plazza area but the reason for this became obvious later on.

We enjoyed sitting on the terrace watch the crowds milling around the fountains and observing the fantastic architecture and statuary of the various wings of the palace.

We met the tour guide with 15 minutes to spare and then they amazed us by taking us down a stair way in to a huge underground mall servicing the museum.

It was wonderful to be taken straight past the ticket queue and in to the bowels of the old palace - huge stone walls / foundations of a previous fortified building that the palace was built on top of.

The tour went for more than two hours and we were rushed through many amazing halls full of outstanding exhibits.

The tour guide provided a very informative narrative but I really wish I could have six months to have a chance to view each exhibit properly.

Of course we were shown the Mona Lisa.

About 300 other people were also trying to view it at the same time.

Linda fought her way to the front but I was content to view it from the back of the crowd.

Eventually we spilled back in to the mall with our legs and feet aching.

Then coffee and cake, a short walk in the Tuillery gardens and back on to the Metro system to take us back to our hotel for a sound nights sleep.

Finally got my camera out

There she is - along with the crowds

In the gardens