It was a cold and damp morning. Zoe was asleep, so I wandered through the supermarket near us and the neighborhood surrounding us, passively observing the middle class Persians and their habitat. They walked past on the street with their shopping bags, hunched from the abnormal chill. Everything was relatively deserted.
It made a marked contrast to what I saw later in the day. Once Zoe woke up we headed to the Louvre. We waited in line outside with the rest of the tourists for 40 minutes to get in. We were surrounded by non-French speaking people, mostly Americans. There was a British couple down a ways that was drinking tea and eating cookies (sorry, biscuits).
Needless to say, we eventually got in. As was expected, the crowds were intense, and after we bought our tickets, Zoe and I decided to split up. I made my way to the top in search of a Vermeer. I never did find it (the area had been sectioned off from the public) though I spend most of the time trying to make my way towards it. In my search, however, I did get to see a whole bunch of paintings that before had only seemed to live in the pages of my art history textbook.
And before you ask, yes, I did get to see Mona Lisa, or rather I saw more of the crowds surrounding her. There were masses of people, all pushing and vying for a better look (or really a better photo) of the famous woman. Their eagerness was unreal.
I also saw the other famous women who call the Louvre home: The Winged Victory and Venus de Milo, both impossibly beautiful and constantly being hoarded by adoring fans (though to a lesser extent than Ms. Lisa).
I wanted to stay and see more but after three and a half hours I was exhausted both mentally and physically. So we left the masses and wandered around St. Germain for food. We eventually found a little café which, coincidently, was also being populated by Americans. Zoe and I grimaced at their loud, brash American-ness as we ate our simple, French food.
It was getting even colder and had started to drizzle by the time we left the café, yet we still decided to walk over to the Eiffel Tower. We made our way through St. Germain and a random Russian/Soviet market, slowly getting closer and closer to the monument. The streets were nearly empty, the tourist-y restaurants and hotels full of people huddled around the heaters. No one had expected this weather.
Which was why, when we got to the tower, it was relatively empty. The beauty of the monument, Zoe’s pleading, and the short lines convinced me to pay the nearly €15 to go to the top. It was a breath-taking sight and it was worth every penny (as they say in the movies), but Zoe and I were absolutely freezing by the end.
We wasted no time rushing back to our Airbnb and falling into the warm sheets.