Culture Shock

LouvreDoing fake proposals in romantic spots, exposing ourselves to tourists and cycling while drunk. Day two in Paris was certainly memorable.

LouvreWe’d booked a ghost walk for the evening, which started at the Notre Dame, so we decided to spend the day in that area. After breakfast in a café, (not for us – we brought cereals) us and Neen headed to the Louvre while Alex and Jules went shopping. The Louvre apparently has a 13th century dungeon, which is haunted and some locals believe some paintings were made with ink harvested from people’s hearts. The beginning of the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre began at the Louvre. It was the worst religious massacre in history. There have been sightings of old guards and the Red Man of Tuileries – a 16th century murderer whose ghost wanders the museum.

LouvreThe Louvre is enormous! You could spend several days there. Before going to Paris, Neen came up with a plan: as Paris is the city of love, we should do mock proposal photos. Well, people do say you should marry your best friend. Cat and Neen did the first proposal photo at the pyramid in the Louvre, with Cat offering Neen a heart shaped shortbread biscuit. It was magical.

LouvreIt didn’t take that long to get in to the Louvre and was only 15 Euros, which, considering the size of the place, is very reasonable. We wandered for a bit before heading to the Venus di Milo first. We don’t know why she’s famous, only that she is. We then amused ourselves by posing as the statues did. LouvreThis is how we culture. We admired the perfectly peachy arse of a naked male statue then Cat walked over a grate in the floor. Which turned out to be air vent. Cue a Marilyn Monroe impression as she battled to save her dignity but it was too late. Her flowy pinstripe skirt and pinstripe stockings were a bad combination as the people of Paris were treated to a rare sight of her sparkly Ann Summers finest and stark white arse cheeks. Cat “Well if that statue can get his arse out and call it art, so can I.” This wasn’t the last time a vent exposed her posterior to Paris.

LouvreWe made our way through the Egyptian bit to see the sarcophagi, which were brilliant. You can guarantee in any museum, we will hunt out the death section. We then worked our way through the Louvre to find the Mona Lisa. She and the Venus di Milo are the only pieces we know so we just looked at the other stuff as we passed through. We noticed a trend – all the female statues and paintings had really high, small nipples and all the male statues had tiny penises and large testicles. They must have all used the same model and changed the faces.


Venus di Milo

You couldn’t get to the Mona Lisa. There were so many people crowding it and taking photos, we had to wait then push our way through. And so you were under pressure to just take a photo and leave, rather than take the time to actually look at the painting. We couldn’t even see it until we were at the front – people in Paris are tall! Still can’t believe we’ve seen two of the most famous pieces of art.

LouvreWe met up with Alex and Jules in a café and had a very expensive vodka and lemonade – 12 Euros! For that price, we want our ice cubes carved into famous statues and served by a Wentworth Miller lookalike. But it was strong vodka, so we stumbled our way towards the Notre Dame, stopping to look in gift shops. We found the love lock bridge on Pont Neuf where Lynx did a proposal photo to Neen. Neen had only been engaged to Cat for a few hours and was already marrying someone else! We couldn’t help thinking that the majority of couples who’d put locks on the bridge had probably split. Cynical? Maybe. But you know we’re right. The city actually discourages putting locks on because the weight of them damaged the original bridge so they were moved.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Female ghosts have been seen among the Notre Dame’s gargoyles and powerful French figures have been spotted inside. Legend states the gargoyles come to life to chase away evil spirits. But none of them came for us. The Notre Dame took over two hundred years to build and is stunning, but the queue to get in was stupidly long and it was hot, so we went to look for somewhere to eat and drink. Ours and Neen’s feet were killing us so we didn’t want to stray too far from the Notre Dame because that’s where the ghost walk was meeting at 7 p.m. We got to the Notre Dame just in time. LouvreBut the ghost walk guide didn’t show. Concerned, Neen checked her email. It wasn’t at 7 at the Notre Dame, it was at 9 on Pont Neuf. Lynx had booked the wrong ghost walk. We shuffled our way over and spent time in a café/diner/bar. Lynx needed the toilet, but a woman who’d tried to go in earlier when it was used, was blocking the door on her phone. The toilet became free, but the woman didn’t go in. Lynx waited a while before going to the woman and saying excuse moi. The woman went into the toilet. Bitch.

Love Lock bridgeJules is a coeliac and the food she ate must’ve had had gluten in so it made her ill. She and Alex went back to the apartment so us and Neen found another bar. We didn’t feel like drinking, so Neen drank and we asked the barman about the city bikes we’d seen around. They’re free for the first half hour then you pay a Euro for the first hour. But if you get to a parking spot within the half hour and wait two minutes, you can take another bike for free. They’d save our feet. Even if our clothing wasn’t suitable for cycling.

the vampire of Paris's apartment

the vampire of Paris’s apartment

We made our way to Pont Neuf for the ghost walk, but again, didn’t see a guide. We spotted a guy with a clipboard but he was in a bright yellow t-shirt, not the usual black attire of ghost walk guides. But it turned out, he was part of the ghost walk. The guide was an American woman. It was less a ghost walk and more about French’s bloody history, which was interesting, because we don’t know a great deal about France’s past. So she pointed out where the gallows was, the church that was linked the St Bartholomew’s massacre, the spot where Henri IV was murdered, which is outside what is now the Heart and Crown cafe, and where the site of the public executions was. She also pointed out the Concierge building we passed on our way to the Notre Dame. It was where they held the prisoners of the Revolution before they were guillotined. We now had another place to add to our list. We stopped beneath the apartment of the vampire of Paris. He was in a documentary we watched on cannibals. He only killed one person, but had decorated his apartment with skin and body parts he’d stolen from the morgue he’d worked in. He’s now out of prison and apparently spends a lot of time in the catacombs.

love lock bridge

love lock bridge

We went to find somewhere for a drink and ended up in the gay district. We shared a sex on the beach because we wouldn’t manage one each. As our feet were hurting, it was gone midnight and we were tipsy, we decided it was the perfect time to try the city bikes. We found a bike spot and took a while reading the instructions, trying to figure it out. You needed 150 Euros in your bank to cover the deposit. We eventually figured out how to use the bikes and get them off their stands. You get a ticket with a subscriber number on and you have to enter a 4 digit passcode. You then put in the number of bike you want and have 60 seconds to get to it and get it off the stand.

city bikes

city bikes

We soon had our bikes and were on our wobbly way. We haven’t really ridden a bike since we were 17 and Lynx came off it, and cut her knee so badly, it’s still scarred. So we weren’t exactly confident on them. Neen rides regularly so she was fine. She also has a better sense of direction so was volunteered to be the leader. Lynx’s tight PVC skirt really wasn’t suitable for biking adventures and she’s pretty sure she flashed half of Paris. We made it back to our apartment and dropped our bikes off nearby. It was quicker and it saved our tortured feet. Though our shoulders did ache like bitches with the weight of our rucksacks. We’d tried putting them in the basket but that just unbalanced the bikes so we wore them. We accidentally rode on the left side of the road, but luckily there were no cars. Never mind the metro, we found a new mode of transport.Notre Dame