Day 2 of my European excursion...still in Paris. Today was the visit to the Louvre museum. To say this place is overwhelming would be an understatement. It is said that if you were to walk the entire museum and look at each and every exhibit, it would take about 3 months and you would have walked over 12 miles. In my opinion, that might be a conservative estimate. Again, not being much of an art buff, this place did not impress me. Sure, it had it's share of some cool stuff (I'm more interested in ancient artifacts than paintings and such), and of course it's the home of the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, but I just don't see the fascination with one piece of art over all others. There were numerous paintings of people with "mysterious" smiles...what makes old Mona so special? And the Venus looked very much like many of the Greek statues in that and other museums. Again, what sets her apart? Because the sculptor is unknown? So what? Maybe it's because she's one of the few that still possesses a head...who knows?
Later, it was a ferry cruise on the Seine. This was very enjoyable. You get to see all the major Paris landmarks...the Louvre, the Orsay, Notre Dame, and of course the Eiffel tower, plus the beautiful bridges that span the river.
Immediately following the river cruise came the "Illuminations" tour, which is basically a ride around the city in a minivan at night, complete with city history narrated by the driver. Not an overly impressive event, but a nice little overview of the city.
Paris is the only city I've been to that is beautiful both day and night.
On an unrelated note, I found it interesting that the city is about 99% populated by French and German cars only. I think I saw one Honda Accord, and a Chevy Suburban (which stuck out like a sore thumb). Otherwise, it's nothing but Renault, Peugeot, VW, and a smattering of Mercedes and BMW.
When I asked the airport shuttle driver about the lack of Japanese cars, he said it's because they are expensive to repair and maintain (as is the case in the states), and they are the worst at holding their value (complete opposite in the states). Apparently, Volkswagen holds the best resale value in France...go figure.
I almost forgot to mention...the coffee in Paris is the best I've ever had, bar none.