The Calgary Herald had an article about planning a visit to the Louvre (specifically viewing the Mona Lisa) some time shortly before we left on our trip. The article advised lining up an hour before the museum opened. Well, we couldn't quite do that, but we got there 15 minutes after it opened, which turned out to be fine, even on a Saturday.
We got further advice from our bike tour guide to enter from below, which we did easily considering we arrived by metro which led us into a subterranean mall, which led us directly to the inverted glass pyramid.
We had bought 3 adult Paris museum passes the day before, so basically we breezed through security, followed the well marked path to the Mona Lisa, and there we were. It was busy already, but not crazy. I think Ken and I were both surprised at how much we liked the Mona Lisa - it had been so talked down by everyone we knew who had already seen it. My favourite painting is directly opposite the Mona Lisa. It is a painting of Christ's first miracle: turning water to wine. There was also a small dog in the corner of another painting that I just loved for some reason, and I wish I'd stopped to look at it longer and take note of what else was in the painting or even the name of the painting.
Jaclyn recognized she had an incredible opportunity to fulfill requirements for her 'great works' portion of her honours degree at BYU, and encouraged us to broaden our choices of the exhibits we visited.
I'm so glad, because it was so fun to wander into some of the less travelled parts of the Louvre, and turn a corner and find something familiar. Carmen right away started saying something about dum-dum. I don't know, you'd have to ask her.
This piece drew Chloe in. She recognized the loss this sculpture captured.
(Though she also had moments when she felt she couldn't go on.)
After a couple of hours we came out for air.
We walked under the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. (I'm having the hardest time with spell check and french spellings. My apologies if I'm massacring everything.)
Our next museum was Musee d'Orsay. No photography of the exhibits was allowed here, but we could take pictures in the cafeteria which had a wonderful view of Sacre Coeur from the clock window.
I was out shopping after we got home and saw a couch cushion with a familiar silhouette. Musee d'Orsay! It was fun for me to recognize something I wouldn't have known before, and then to come home and recreate it. Not sure how to put it on a cushion, though.
Our original plan had been to walk up the Champs-Elysees all the way to the Arc de Triomphe, but we were tired and the sky was ominous. Instead we took the train to the Arc de Triomphe, and then walked back towards the Louvre until we didn't want to see any more. It was a good call.
I think this monument was the biggest surprise of all for me.
I didn't expect the detail.
And the symmetry of the monument was striking.
We climbed to the top, and enjoyed the view in all directions.
The urban planning of this city is phenomenal. Place Charles de Gaulle, with the spokes of the roads that spread from the centre, was striking.
Chloe reminded me of a story I'd already forgotten of a prominent Parisian who hated the Eiffel Tower, but ate lunch there every day - he said it was the only place in Paris he could sit and not look at it.
Some sort of biking event below us (not the Tour de France).
Grande Arche de la Defense. We watched Bourne again when we got home, and there it was. How did we not realize that scene was in Paris?
Rain drove us back inside where we bought some jewelry (bracelets for me, and a charm for Carmen I think).
We started down the famous Champs-Elysees. We are not high-end shoppers, and we didn't last long, but this store was fun for the boys.
One of them will tell me what you are looking at here and I will add it in.
Again, I'm not knowledgable in this area.
We elected to return to our hotel neighbourhood to eat. Another dinner at a sidewalk cafe, would we never tire of it?