Day 1 ended with a cruise on the Seine. I had said Day 2 would be daunting but I was unaware of how much would that be. Thanks to the cruise we had a reasonable idea of places to visit and also the necessary homework done with our hotel receptionist helped. First of we took the Open Tour.
This is a very interesting concept. There are four routes operated by this Open Tour bus service viz., the Green, Orange, Yellow and Blue. If you buy a pass then you can board and alight or hop on or hop off where ever you want on the route at designated stops. There are multiple touch points of common stops for the various routes so that you can switch from one colour to the other with ease. The pass can be bought for 2 days or for 4 days. This is very good because if you have planned the places you want to visit then you can plan the route the switch points and ensure a decent coverage. If you have not then you can choose to listen in many popular languages the automated commentary in the bus and get off where you feel like, visit the place and hop on again!
Food is no problem where ever you go there are this ubiquitous café and the variety of choices regarding food. Carrying water would be judicious. For the fun of it souvenir can be bought at the shop within the museum. But they are much cheaper in the regular souvenir shops. Buying a two-day museum pass would also be a good thing to do. This gives a lot of time savings in the queue and also in entry costs.
First stop at the army museum or Musée de l’Armée for the finicky. The great thing about this is the thought behind the monument – A place for invalid army veterans built by Louis XIV. The most striking feature was the really elegant slope of the wide and large staircases with the concern for army veterans who may be limping with a help of a walking stick.
Here is where we met our first Singaravelan. Mr Raja from Pondicherry who has been in Paris for over 35 years and has served in three wars was there to answer some of our queries. He popped from nowhere and we were glad for his tips for the rest of the day. The outside of the museum has this lovely cannons and a beautiful moat. The armour artifacts had been impeccably displayed and in almost mint condition.
After some amazing viewing of an animated presentation on the WW1 and WW2 it was time to leave. But of course you may not like to miss the tomb of Napoleon. The next stop was the Musée Rodin. Remember the Thinker?
Rodin and Thinker were always synonymous to me. Thanks to some dabbling in quizzes during college days. Since it was so near the army museum it was an automatic choice. Placed in a beautiful garden, it was an amazing visual treat. A dazzling display of some intricate marble sculptures also begged to be appreciated. At the end decided to end the visit with lunch.
So we visited the Onion Rasam Do Paella Inn near the museum café. The inn had a dreamy combination of recipes from South and the North India executed by a Valencian. The piece de resistance was the fried aubergine in a baguette. It was more rewarding than a Subway sub any day. I decided to get a Thinker too!
The next stop was the Louvre. If it is Louvre then it must be Mona Lisa. The Louvre experience was one of déjà vu. It was primarily due to avidly reading the book Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. In the Mona Lisa room there is a painting purportedly of Cesare Borgia. Now Cesare was the brother of Lucrezia Borgia the well-known Velencian with her rings containing poison. It is believed that on the island one of the kings sent word to Valencia stating “Loan a mainland poisoner”.
In the Louvre I also met a Buddhist monk named Mandala was searching for a meditation enhancer. He sought my opinion on the same and I had to tell him that meditation was not my forte. He however went on with his “A Mandala Enrols Opinion” mission.
After all these we went back via the Green Line to Red Line to base station. We chanced to meet a fellow Indian, Rajesh, who could speak Hindi, Tamil, and Kannada and we spent an enjoyable fifteen minutes talking to him while we waited for the bus. Aspiring to be in USA in the next four years he said he was working his way. What was interesting was his focus and purposefulness in his outlook.
By the way the quoted items are anagrams of three names. Can you figure it out?