Our Trip to Paris

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by Dante Massaro

The Louvre

I didn’t realize how big the louvre was until I got there. It was enormous! Imagine a building with a glass pyramid inside a giant courtyard that is open on one side and surrounded on the other three sides by an old palace. I can’t imagine living in it. The line to get into the museum was long but it was well worth it. You enter through the pyramid and go down a spiral staircase. At the bottom of the staircase there is a huge room that is the center of the museum. We bought our tickets and headed towards the Mona Lisa. On the way, we saw a statue of Nike, the Greek goddess of winged victory. The crowd to see the Mona Lisa was so huge it was hard to see it. After we saw the Mona Lisa we meandered around the vast hallways and small and large galleries. We saw a lot of pieces of art and it was an amazing experience.

Arc du Triumph

We walked from the Louvre to the Arc du Triumph, which was bigger than I thought it would be. The walk was long but it was worth it. When we got to it, there was a huge roundabout with four lanes of cars circling the monument. It seemed like it was on a tiny island compared to the width of the roundabout. We had to go under a tunnel to see the monument; the tunnel went all the way under the roundabout. The tunnel was dim but when we came out the light flooded our eyes and we saw the Arc du Triumph. It sure was a triumphant appearance! There were relief sculptures on the sides and names of battles, towns and famous people carved into it. There was also a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. You can go up to the top of the Arc, but we didn’t go because we knew we would be going to the Eiffel Tower next.

Eiffel Tower

We took the metro to the Eiffel Tower; otherwise it would have been quite a long walk. We walked under the tower to get into line and waited in line to take the elevator to the top. My mom told me that when it was first built in the late 1800s, people in Paris called it the “metal asparagus” and didn’t like it at all. They wanted to tear it down, but then realized they could use the top for radio antennas, which was a new technology, so they kept it. Now it is one of the most famous monuments in the world. I thought the architecture was cool. When we got to the top we could see the Arc du Triumph, the Seine River, the Louvre and all the other things we’d seen. The cars looked like ladybugs. However, I am a little afraid of heights since I’m used to being at sea level. (I do like going up our mast, though!) I wanted to say in the enclosed section, but my dad wanted to go to the outside portion. It was so cold I couldn’t stand it! When we took the elevator back down, we could see the pulleys and cables which lifted and descended the elevator. That must have been cool technology back then. The Eiffel Tower is still the tallest building in Paris.

Notre Dame

One our first day in Paris we walked over to Notre Dame. We passed by a man playing an accordion, and then we head the church’s bells go ding Dong, Ding Dong. The line was too long to go in, so on our second to last day in Paris, we went first thing in the morning and there was no line at all. Notre Dame means “our lady” in French. When we entered in, it was just amazing. The stained glass windows were beautiful even though it was grey outside. I could imagine how beautiful it would be with sunlight streaming in. We looked for the patron saint of sailors to light a candle, but we lit one in front of a statue of Jesus instead. The pillars inside and were segmented with metal strips around each segment. The metal strips were to allow the columns to expand and contract with the heat and cold. The arches on the inside were cool; there were so many I lost count. Outside, there were status and gargoyles and towers. There was also these things called flying buttresses, which extend diagonally from the walls of the church on the outside to help hold up the church. They wouldn’t have needed flying buttresses if they had I-beams! Gargoyles are supposed to protect the church, but I don’t like them because I think they look evil. We bought a rosary from the church for my grandma.

Musee d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay was another museum with a lot of famous paintings, but it is not as big as the Louvre. They also had a small model of the city of Paris that was under a glass floor. I ran over it pretending I was a supersonic jet. We saw paintings from Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Degas, Sorolla, Toulouse Lautrec, and a lot of others. We saw a self-portrait of Van Gogh (with both ears) and we also saw Starry Night. The Starry Night painting isn’t the swirly stars you’re thinking of, but it had stars reflecting onto the water at night. It reminded me of anchoring in our boat or crossing the Atlantic. It was my favorite painting in the museum because I could relate to it. Before we go to most museums, we learn about famous paintings so that when we see them it is more interesting. And it works! The museum was in an old train station, which was also cool.


We went to the Pere Lachaise cemetery, which is partly famous because it has Jim Morrison’s grave. We found his grave, but we went to others as well. A nice French man, who was talking a walk before lunch (he called it his “appetizing morning walk”) took us to see some other graves. He showed us the man who figured out how to extract sugar from beets, and the man who brought potatoes to Europe. People had put potatoes all over his grave! We also saw the grave of the French playwright Moliere. We tried to find a few others, but it was too confusing.. My mom wanted to see a famous ballerina’s grave, Isadora Duncan, but we couldn’t find the grave. Some graves were so old in the cemetery that we couldn’t see the dates on the tombstones. Some were so old that trees were growing directly out of the grave. Others were beautiful, shiny marble inlaid with gold leaf. The oldest date we saw on a gravestone was someone who was born in 1732. It isn’t that old considering how old Paris is. The cemetery was like a miniature city, with street names and everything. Some graves were for whole families and looked like miniature churches. There weren’t just tombstones, many graves were above ground and are called mausoleums.


We took the metro to the Pantheon, which was commissioned to be built by King Louis XV but wasn’t finished until the French Revolution. There were a lot of pictures and memorials honoring the French Revolution. Under the church, was a gigantic tomb with a lot of famous French people buried in it including Marie Curie. She was the first woman to get a Nobel Prize in two subjects (physics and chemistry) and she was also the first woman to get a Nobel Prize. And she was also the first woman to be interred into the Pantheon. We also saw tombs of the man who invented braille, and the man who wrote the Hunchback of Notre Dame (Victor Hugo). Louis VX wanted the church to be grander than St. Paul’s Cathedral in the Vatican, but my parents didn’t think he was successful. I’ll let you know what I think when we get to the Vatican!


One day we went to lunch with my mom’s friend who lives in Paris named Simon. It was a typical French café. I ordered a Caesar salad and it was delicious. The restaurant was in the famous Marias district of Paris, which has a lot of windy pedestrian streets and a lot of cafes. After our lunch we went to a famous café called Les Deux Magots, or the Two Maggots. My mom ordered a hot chocolate with whipped cream. The hot chocolate was thick, but not as thick as Spanish hot chocolate. The whipped came in a separate cup and I ate the whole thing. The café is famous because a lot of authors and writers used to come there including Ernest Hemingway. The next day, we went back to the Marais and had falafel. We ordered it from a walk up window and ate it standing on the street. It was a phenomenal falafel. It’s interesting because you can tell where France used to have colonies by the restaurants it has. There are North African restaurants and also Vietnamese restaurants. We also went to a restaurant called “Le Creperie” and I had the most delicious crepe ever. It had coconut ice cream with coconut shavings, banana and Nutella. The bread that we’ve had in France is amazing. You could go to any bakery and get a baguette hot out of the oven. It tastes even better than it sounds.

Getting Around Paris (Trains, Metro and Walking)

We took the train into Paris from Toulon. At one point it got up to almost 200 miles an hour. Now that’s fast! It took 3.5 hours and you could see snow on some parts of the journey. The train we took was a TGV train, which is France’s high speed train. When we got to Paris, we entered into an amazing domed train station. It was beautiful with wrought iron and glass. It was like something out of the movie Hugo without the clock tower. It was the first European train station that I’d ever been to. From there we were able to take the metro to our hotel. We took the metro almost everywhere. It was easy to figure out the metro because we’ve been using the metro in other cities including New York City, Washington DC, Lisbon and Barcelona. We also did a lot of walking around Paris. We walked along the river Seine and also along some locks along the canals, feeding into the river. Speaking of locks, people put padlocks on the bridges going over the Seine. People put corny messages on them for love. Simon told us that they had to fix one bridge because there were so many locks on it and it was getting too heavy. We walked over one bridge (Pont Alexandre) with gold painted statues on it and it was a very grand bridge. Walking around Paris is nice, there are so many beautiful buildings with wrought iron and many streets are cobblestoned. Some cobblestoned streets were paved over and it made me sad to think that such a pretty street was being ruined.


After we visited Paris, we watched the movie Hugo. It was so much fun to see the sights in the movie and recognize them because I had seen them with my own eyes. Of the big cities we’ve been to on this trip, Paris is the most beautiful.


To see the pictures of our trip go to our Flickr side:




One Response to Our Trip to Paris

  1. Giselle

    What a great description of Paris! Van Gogh is one of my favorites too. I’m so glad you got to see some of his paintings.

    We are planning to go to Paris with Skyler and Ben this summer. I’m going to have them read your blog post so that they can get a sneak preview! Sounds like you had a great time. Maybe we will watch Hugo before we go.

    Can’t wait to see you this Fall!!!!! I bet you have so many amazing stories.


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