So I'm a day behind on the blogging, so this morning you will get two days worth...
We were both starting to get tired and a bit scratchy... I think we've figured out that we were in fact a little jet-lagged and we've been pushing pretty hard to see as much as possible. The sleeping thing has been a bit out of whack too... Going to bed at the right time, but waking super early... 2am the first night, then 3am... etc. I'm now up to a 5am wake up... which is almost normal for me anyway.
So back to Tuesday.... Musee d'Orsay was first up. No pics as they aren't allowed in the gallery (not that many people were paying attention to this). There was a special Manet exhibition which I quite liked (Steve didn't)... although the commentary was less about the art and more about his life. He wasn't very likeable and basically chased popular opinion. Back in the permanent exhibition... Got to see some great stuff... famous Renoir and Van Gogh (although not Starry Nights or Sunflowers). They also had Monet, Whistler and Sisley and Degas... which was all very good. Did you know that Monet designed and planted the gardens that would then inspire him to create >300 paintings over 30 years? Fairly prolific. Also - that Van Gogh (towards the end of his life) was creating a painting a day.... Anyway - I found it interesting. Steve was a bit more along the lines of "are you done yet?"....
I would have to say that the d'Orsay doesn't feel as accessible as The Louvre. Perhaps it's just me, but little things like the tags about the artworks was all in really little printing, so you had to kind of shove through the masses to get close enough to read it. The audioguide commentary was a bit patchy too.
After the d'Orsay and lunch (yummy soup followed by crepes flambe) - it was time to sacrifice myself on the alter of love and marriage and go back to Musee de l'Armee with Steve.
The Musee de l'Armee is kind of like the Australian War Memorial, although probably not quite as up to date in terms of displays and stuff. Half of it is dedicated to World War 1 and World War II, as well as big section on la Resistance and De Gaulle. This was all pretty interesting (Steve's not the only one who likes history), and it had some good multimedia clips and lots of weapons. The other section was on Napoleon and his battles etc. Due to the historical significance of the artefacts, it was gloomy inside and very focussed on the battles, so for me - some of the narrative got lost. Plus by that point we'd been there for >3 hrs... so I entertained myself trying to figure out the metro system in the guidebook while Steve enjoyed himself. I did like that they did reenactment boards of some of the battles, and just about everything had english translations (which was good), but there seemed to be very little about Napoleon's life... only his military endeavours. Here are some pics of Musee de l'Armee.
Oh - I almost forgot to mention Napoleon's Tomb. Talk about a monument to oneself.... Very romanesque. You can see from the picture above how big his sarcophogus is and the building around it is pretty incredible. There's not much else in there... just Napoleon, and a few people who came after (but in much smaller ante-rooms)... but it really is dedicated to Napoleon.
Only one thing yesterday - Palace of Versailles.
We had a great day weather wise... sunny, blue skies and warm. I steered us slightly wrong on the metro (Chateau de Versailles is not Port de Versailles), but the system here is so good, that the return train was only 3 minutes wait. In my defence, the RER C station wasn't on my metro map... Anyway - made it to Versailles and the place is amazing. The palace itself is seriously opulent... all different coloured marbles and chandelliers and paintings. Much of the furniture is replica due to it all being taken during the Revolution. Seeing the inside of the place, you can totally understand why the peasants had an uprising... the nobility were living a life of such excess while the masses were starving...
What was also incredible though, were the gardens. And I'm so glad we had a great day for it. The gardens are like nothing I've seen anywhere else, and you can just imagine the life the court must have led walking through them.
We sat by the Grand Canal and read in the sun for a while. Unfortunately, I got sunburnt (arms and neck)... but the sun doesn't have the intensity of home, so it's red, but bearable.
After Versailles, we had several drinks in the sun at cafes and had a cheap dinner at the cafe a few doors from our apartment.