On Friday, the 16th, we returned to Paris to have lunch with the Louie family (from Altadena). They were finishing their 16 day trip to France, Switzerland and Italy and it was their last day in Paris, before leaving in the morning. We met at Notre Dame and toured the church together. Kerry, Katie and I decided that while the church is impressive, it just wasn’t as good as some of the other churches we have seen. Mainly because there were hundreds of tourists in the church, causing it to be more of a tourist attraction than a place of reflection. We have found in the wonderful churches we have been visiting in the small villages, that we like to go in, sit for awhile, contemplate the beauty & serenity of the church and then walk around it, marveling at the art & architecture. At Notre Dame, it was quite difficult to have any quiet contemplation. Oh well, the church is amazing anyway.
We then had a delightful lunch with the Louie’s, regaling each other with our travel stories. It was nice to visit with some friends from home.
We also saw a couple getting their wedding pictures taken at Notre Dame.
We parted company with the Louie’s and headed off to the Musee d’Orsay. We thought we’d just hop on the metro (it was just one stop away). Well, first, finding the Metro entrance was a challenge. Then, once we went down the Metro, we realized we were in an RER station, not a Metro station (even though they take the same tickets) and the RER did not have a stop at the d’Orsay. However, we decided to follow some signs to what we thought might be the right station. We walked underground for a good 15 minutes, but never found the right Metro stop.
At this point, I was getting quite frustrated. I seemed to remember from my previous trip to Paris (20 years ago), that the Metro was easy to access, easy to ride and east to figure out. For some reason, I was having quite a difficult time getting us to the right place. It didn’t help that I am suffering from that 40 something syndrome of not being able to read small print when I have my contacts in (since they correct for my distance vision) and the damn Metro maps were printed in 6 point type (I swear to god!!!) Finally, I threw up my hands and James said, let’s just go back up top...at least we can navigate by getting to the Seine! So that’s what we did and we ended up walking a very long time, but finally arrived here:
We spent a few hours in the d’Orsay and we all loved it! There was a special Van Gogh exhibit that was incredible. We did the tour where you hold the device to your ear and punch in the number of the painting in front of you and learned so much. The kids stay engaged the entire time! (The museum did not allow any photos inside...so I have none to share, as I am a rule follower...unlike some other members of our party, who shall remain unnamed!)
We then strolled down the Seine and looked for a quiet place to have a drink and supper. We saw this along the way:
We ate here:
I don’t know why James is making this face...but since he’s not reading the blog, he’ll never know I posted this picture. The bistro we were eating at was on a major intersection and we were incredibly entertained by the rush hour, Friday night traffic. It appears that it is quite legal for scooters, motorcycles and the occasional smart car to drive up onto the sidewalk when the traffic is not moving as quickly as one would like. We made a note that we should not walk near the curbs!
After dinner, we enjoyed the evening and strolled some more (having an hour or so until the last train to Joigny).
The light at dusk was magical and here are a few more pictures.
We all agreed, Paris is incredibly magical and we are incredibly lucky to all be here together. We definitely wish some others in our family (and some of our friends) were sharing this experience with us and we’re looking forward to having Katey & Megan and Lukas join us in a few weeks.
PS...on Saturday, following our Chablis adventure on Thursday and our walking tour of Paris on Friday...we all stayed in our pajamas and read all day!