Two topics. Pretty much unrelated.
Firstly, we went to the Musee de l’Armee – that is the museum dedicated to the history of French war and conflict. A great deal of it is armour and armoury from before the French revolution. Ray said that if there were an EMP or world wide black out France would be prepared given the number of muskets and cannons on display. My favourite pieces were the swords that reminded me of the three musketeers and of the armour produced for 5 year old Louis XIV. Upstairs there was an exhibit on France’s role in WWI and WWII. By this point I was so hot and dehydrated that I couldn’t really care at all. But put Ray in a museum, and it’s hard to get him out. “What? There is stuff on display and I’m allowed to look at it all? Awesome.” Let’s just say I may have spent a good period of time waiting and playing Temple Run. Thank you iPhone. According to Ray though, he found it interesting to see France’s perspective on WWII (opposed to USA and Germany, as represented in various museums we have visited). I’m pretty sure he used the term “demolished” once or twice. He gave France a good pat on the back for fighting “bravely” and the exhibits honoured the few victories that France experienced. In turn the museum spent much time focusing on the French successes in Africa instead. Which, in the grand scheme of things, was not the most significant aspect of the war.
Then of course we must mention the crazy beautiful piece of architecture built to house the tomb of self-proclaimed emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I). It’s pretty much impossible for me to bring up Napoleon without Ray rolling his eyes and being annoyed that the guy declared HIMSELF emperor. After the revolution. And people went along with it. He doesn’t understand how this happened without him losing his head (and French people did lose their heads frequently in their history). Who declares themselves emperor store of Emperor Palpatine? The Buildings for both Napolean and the Musee de l’Armee are part of Les Invalides – a complex of buildings that also include a hospital and retirement home for war veterans and all things related to French military history. The buildings themselves are beautiful – but that seems to be common here in Paris.
Secondly – I must vent about the INSANE cost of drinks in this town!! Nothing is cheap. In fact, my drinks are often more expensive than my meal! In Germany getting water was pretty much impossible, but it seems that in France most cafes do serve tap water – a nice change. It’s not amazing, but it’s hydrating, so YAY! But for something tastier, I’ve been left few affordable options. In a cafe, a glass of orange juice goes for around $6.00-7.00 Cdn. Today at lunch my 500mL class of Pepsi cost $10.00. The last bottle of water I bought was almost $5.00. And Ray ordered the cheapest beer on tap, for a bargain $14.00. Within 24 hours we’ve realized that we must start by looking for the cheapest drink on the menu AND looking for cafe’s that have a carafe of water on each table. Paris definitely isn’t cheap. But I’ve started to notice that their are public water fountains all around – so when you come to Paris, bring a water bottle, find a fountain, or be prepared to pay through the nose to stay hydrated. C’est la vie.