From Santa Barbara to Paris

Since it is the holiday season, and we are currently trying to hit some of the more “touristy” places in our free time, we keep ending up sending a lot of time in this horrible thing called “queues”. Unfortunately, unlike in any of the Disney parks, where I know a number of workarounds (like rider passes), there is rarely a quick skip/hidden back door for general attractions, especially the ones that charge money.

That’s where it comes in handy to talk to people. You see, lines, to me, are somewhat like tickets: if I’m going to pay a lot, I don’t want to stand in line. If I’m going to pay only a little, or nothing at all, then I’m perfectly fine with standing in line. But don’t ask me to stand in line forever and pay for it. Now, talking with people, especially people who are natives or have been around for a while, usually helps to find either the cheap version or the no-line version. In this particular case, our first tidbit of news came from a kindly elderly woman who, upon discovering we were being touristy, told us that we simply must wait until Sunday to go to the Louvre, as that was the one day we could get in for absolutely free (tickets start at 15 euros). This immediately upset the apple cart of our plans, but we were okay with that, because the apple cart didn’t really have any apples in it.

We were discussing this, and our plans surrounding our day at the Louvre, in another queue when we somehow began talking with the gentleman behind us (I think he asked if we wanted our picture taken, or something along those lines. Anyway, a conversation ensued). He was from Santa Barbara, California, which is (in California terms) not far from where I live when I’m stateside (translation: perhaps six hours drive?), and his son was spending a semester studying in Paris. He too was planning on visiting the Louvre on Sunday, because, despite the fact that his annual income is much higher than ours and he had come to Paris with a lot more free time and a lot more money to spend, he too was interested in keeping some money in his pocket. According to him, he has heard that the wait to get in to the Louvre on a free day can be five hours or more, and it’s advised that, if you want to beat the long wait, you come at least an hour (if not more) before the Louvre opens.

We’re not doing that, because we love our sleep too much. So we’ll see how we fare.

Before I close for today, I might as well include some notes about this “freebie” day. Apparently, between October and March (aka, the not prime tourist season), the Louvre is open to the public for free on the first Sunday of every month. This does not include their “special” exhibits, but it does include all of the permanent exhibits, so you can always see things like the Mona Lisa and Napoleon’s chambers. It also includes access to the bookstores and the coffee shops, although you do have to pay for your own books and coffee (which we’re fine with. We’re just happy with the idea of coffee).

So we sat down this evening and went through to revise our plans. The Eiffel Tower has been put off (again) and we’re hoping to hit the Louvre and the Musee D’Orsay on Sunday, and check that much more off our list.

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