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Third time’s a charm

Day 5

Oh, smuggery will get you nowhere, Morris. And pride doth go before a fall.

Having been separately a few times before we met, this is mine and Mr. M’s third trip to Paris together. The first time, in 1998, we were excited to go to the Louvre, but didn’t realise that it closed on a Tuesday – and that was our last day of the trip. The second time in 2003, we excitedly queued up to get tickets, but after two hours, a stern guard halted the line and told us that there were no more tickets left for that day. So, on this trip we decided that we would leave nothing to chance. We checked tips and trip advisor and consulted Lonely Planet. And yesterday, we descended below the Louvre and bought open ended tickets, without even having to queue, with the plan to go to the museum, see Mona and Milo before the crowds were heaviest, skip the ticket line and be out by lunch.

So, this morning, we duly awoke at stupid o clock, and 7am found us waiting at the shuttle stop to take us to our train.

We were in the heart of Paris, even taking into account the rush hour commute, by 8 o clock, and even had time for a crafty croissant before moseying on to the Louvre, our pre-bought tickets burning a little smug hole in our pockets, as we observed the already snaky, winding queue for the ticket machines at 08:40 – a full twenty minutes before the museum was due to open.

We joined our “ticket holders” queue, which was nice and short. And waited. It turned to 9am, and there was no movement. 9:10… Still no joy. 9:20 and we discovered that due to an unscheduled meeting of museum staff, there would be a slight delay in opening. No problem, we thought, we can cope with that.

9:40 and the queue started to move. Really quickly, in actual fact. Almost too quickly. But, we were finally on our way – a trip 17 years in the planning.

We could see the doors revolving, the glass pyramid sparkling in the sun, the security guard turning people away…

The security guard turning people away was the reason why the queue was moving so rapidly. “Haha” we thought “I bet they haven’t got tickets and are in the wrong line”

We arrived at the guard, brandishing our tickets, the grail of the doors mere feet away.

“I am sorry” he announced, in perfect English, “the museum staff have had a meeting, and decided to take industrial action today. The museum will be closed all day.”

Well, of course it will be…

I mean… You couldn’t write it, could you? Clearly, what actually happened was the one of them looked out of the window and said 

“Merdre – they’re here again…and this time they’ve got tickets. Quick, Claude, think of something”

So, our plans for the morning gone awry, we made the most of the 25 degree heat and hiked it to the Sacre Couer, (which looked blooming lovely in the sun) and enjoyed the harpist and the accordion player (well, this is France.) We strolled through Pigalle, and Lady Marmaladed our way past the Moulin Rouge, and then we hot footed it to Pere Lachaisse cemetery to visit Jim Morrison and Mr Oscar Wilde. I do recommend Pere Lachaisse as an experience, but take your walking shoes…. It’s bloody enormous! Especially if you go in through the south entrance instead of the one near the graves you want to visit.

Following this, we visited Notre Dame and took the Batobus down the Seine, while our feet cried with relief from no longer having to hit the ground.

There genuinely are worse places in the world to suddenly find yourself with a free day, but tomorrow’s plan of going up Le Tour Eiffel is now on hold, as we attempt the bloody Louvre for the fourth time. I mean, we’ve visited the set of Angels and Demons, and I enjoyed the Da Vinci Code, so I want to do some movie moments.

Let’s see if Paris can throw us another curveball tomorrow.

I’m off to have a bath in Corona…

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