Yosemite Hike - 2011

Thursday, August 9, 2012

We Triomphed!!!

Fitting title to basically our last full day in Europe as it wasn't the most stress free day we've had. More on that later. As usual so many wonderful things to see, but tried to take it at a leisurely pace.

The day started with a nice Parisian breakfast in our apartment. Fresh croissants from the bakery, fruit, yogurt and a little muesli. Ready to take on the day as the Louvre, among other things await.

Our apartment....First come the stairs, 81 of them!

Master Bedroom

Kitchen/Laundry Room

Living Room AND the girls's room with large couch, chairs, nice table and rolls for the floor.

View of our street - Rue de Bourgonne

Staying one street over from the Rodin sculpture musee and two streets away from Napolean's Tomb and the War Museum, provided great start to the day. Scott really wanted to see the Rodin sculptures as it reminded him of his days at Stanford where they have a wonderful Rodin sculpture garden.

A pose by "the thinker" we ventured through the beautiful gardens with sculptures hidden in different parts. We were all amazed at the fine precision and real sized body parts shaped from marble and bronze.

Short! The first thing that came to mind peering at the top of Napoleon's tomb. It was great to be a king or leader back then, as they built their own huge buildings as their memorials or resting place. The kids kept asking was Napolean a good guy and do the French regard him highly? Needless to say we gave the kids a short answer, not knowing for sure how the French view Napoleon.

His tomb was quite impressive and each family member and other great war leaders each got their own wing and tomb.

One of many glorious ceilings

The War Museum brought back memories of studying WWI and WWII in school. The girls really have no idea of the history of the wars and didn't understand the Allies and Axis powers. Scott absolutely soaked up the museum and told the girls they would learn about WWII by reading "All Quiet on the Western Front".

Great museum to see the perspective of the French and witness the timelines of soldiers clothing, guns, chemical warfare, tanks, and planes that shaped the wars over time. A good walking timeline of the wars.

Quick Metro ride to Louvre for a picnic lunch on the grass. Didn't get much better than baguette sandwiches, olives, salads, cheeses and a little beer to take in the nice sunny day, before venturing through the glass pyramid into the Louvre.

We have learned after 3 weeks that breakfast at home and packed lunches is the best plan for us to mitigate stress of deciding where to eat or disappointment with bad meals and the stress of making a decision that usually disappoints someone.

A bit of a rough patch between girls, nothing a Parent Induced Peace Treaty "PIPT" can't solve or else we don't go in.....

Syd all "Louved" up and ready for art, post "PIPT"!

A lot to see, but really focused on Greek sculptures starting with Venus de Milo and the moving to Roman sculptures, before exploring the art of Medevil times during the Italian Renaissance.

Disappointed they were sold out of audio tours but luckily we had downloaded Rick Steves audio tour (thanks Grawleskis!) on the iPad to take Sydney through the history and famous pieces in the Louvre - she was enthralled!!! We're pretty sure she could walk all 13 miles of it if we let her.

Shelby wanted to bee line right to the Mona Lisa. As we soaked up the different art and artist, you know when your close to the Mona Lisa as the crowds become huge. The girls wiggled up from ten rows deep to peer at the most famous piece of art work in the World. Unfortunately she didn't wink, but posed pleasanty for our camera.

A perfectly planned day perfect went a bit haywire from here...

The plan, Jana & Shelby high tail to line for climb at Notre Dame, Scott & Sydney see Vermeer and then head to ND. Unfortunately, Jana realizes she doesn't have her wallet and not sure if she's handed to Scott, he is good at holding things, or more likely, has she set it down to a foreigner's delight?

Shelby stays calm, helping Jana with a plan - write a note for Scott to stay put and then, the not so good plan, try to find Scott & Syd in the Louvre. Needless to say we came up empty handed, went back to bag check noticing Scotts bag was gone, apparently not getting the note.

So, Shelby & Jana ultimately decided to head to ND with no money in pockets. A bit of a stressful time with talks of what ifs and maybe and should we have, but all good as we round the corner to ND and see Scott and Syd waiting. Relief, appreciation and order restored once again and nothing an ice cream from Bertillion can't calm!

Next misstep, a walk to a pizzeria recommended in the guide book only to find it close until mid August. We've found that quite common, as many Parisians are on vacation. Quick taxi to another place, but once again poor service and average food for $75.00.

Another little find that Shelby wanted to see was Luxembourg Park and it was glorious! Unfortunately the children's park closed so we wandered for 15 minutes, knowing we'd like to return. Promptly at 8:45pm, the guards blow whistles and everyone departs and gates are locked.

Glorious light and foliage all around - 8:30pm

One last stop on our 2 day museum pass, the Arch de Triomphe at night. Under the Champ de Ellyses and up 100 or so stairs to the top of the Arch. Quite a spectacular view at 10:00pm complete with the light show of Eiffel Tower. Met a great Wisconsin family of seven traveling for 10 weeks and 10 different countries in Europe.

Down the stairs, under the Arch we go...

We searched for crepes with The Schwartz Family, exchanging travel tales and more on the Champ de Ellysees, but no luck for something under $10, all deciding to take a raincheck until tomorrow. Loved knowing others are price conscious and also that others sometimes have a a hard time finding what they want. We were beginning to think it was just us!

In the end, a triumphant day!

Shelby: Picnic at Louvre, Arc de Triomph & meeting The Schwartz
Sydney: The Louvre
Jana: Picnic @ Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens & meeting The Schwartz Family
Scott: War Museum, cruising the Louvre

Location:Paris, France

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