Thursday, June 29: This morning, Mike and I go out for a 3 mile run in the Luxembourg Gardens. Then we go to a patisserie and Starbucks for breakfast with Adam before we shower. We bring Alex, who stayed in bed, some pastries. We then take metro to the Rue Cler Market near Invalides and the Eiffel Tower.
At Rue Cler, we pick out raspberries, strawberries, pears, apples and nectarines, along with a baguette and pain du campagne, brie and Gouda. Mike and the boys get sodas from a market. Then we walk to the esplanade (park) near Invalides (Place des Invalides) and eat our picnic. Mike and I enjoy a petite bottle of wine in the shade, sharing bread and brie and the fruit.
We don’t open the Gouda because we plan to snack on it later. I pack up the food into two of the bags and the trash in the third. I take the trash bag and Mike and Alex pick up the other two. A garbage collector in front of us changes the trash bag and into the new bag, I throw my trash bag. Mike says, “What are you doing?” and he tries to pull out my bag. “Oh no, what’s this?” he says when he realizes it’s trash. “Where’s the other bag of food?” It turns out he thought he had the bag of trash and threw it away. And the trash collector just hauled it away, along with our Gouda and bread.
We all give Mike a bad time about throwing out a whole block of Gouda and our late afternoon snack for the rest of the day.
After our picnic, we take metro again to the Louvre. On the way we pass the offices of Air France, the wonderful airline that carried us here to France, and numerous monuments and statues.
We also walk across one of the many bridges over the Seine and watch boats cruising down the river.
The Seine is a 776 km (482 mi)-long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin. There are 37 bridges within the city and dozens more spanning the river outside the city (Wikipedia: Seine).
We take the boys to the Louvre, but they don’t show much interest in it. Adam doesn’t want to go in, but he wants to see the glass pyramid and he takes a bunch of “artistic” photos of it. Mike and I spent a long time here in 2003, and since the boys are bored and antsy, we don’t stay long.
The Musée du Louvre —in English, the Louvre Museum or simply The Louvre—is one of the world’s largest museums. It sits on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (district). Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet). With more than 8 million visitors each year, the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum, according to Wikipedia.
The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, antique sculptures. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation’s masterpieces.
The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, most the works being royal and confiscated church property. The size of the collection increased under Napoleon and the museum was renamed the Musée Napoléon. After the defeat of Napoleon, many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. (Wikipedia: The Louvre)
After visiting the Louvre, we walk back to our hotel. On the way, I separate from the boys and go on a mini-shopping spree. I buy on shirt on sale, “soldes,” and two pairs of shoes “soldes” at Salamander. They’re really nothing interesting, just more of what I already have. The place where I buy the shirt is so crowded that while in the queue I try on the shirt over my T-shirt in front of a mirror in the corner. Other women are doing the same. I don’t know why, I’m surprised to find French women swarming at a sale just like American women.
I meet the guys back at the room and we nap for a bit. We make a stop at a sidewalk café for some drinks. There’s a cute French couple sitting beside us. I’m envious that they’re flirty and cute and have lots to talk about. I want to be the girl, young and French and cute and in love.
How I love the cafés of Paris! I’ve been twice to this beautiful city, and I could be perfectly happy just sitting at a café all day, watching people, drinking coffee, beer or wine, and writing the day away.
We eat dinner at Tokyorama near our hotel. It’s pretty good but they give Mike my tuna and when I ask for my tuna, they say they already gave it to us and Mike ate it. I say, “Je ne comprende pas,” and they repeat it and laugh. I think they think I’m lying and just trying to get free food. That pisses me off especially since it’s their mistake that they gave my food to Mike and Mike had no idea what things came with his meal. I insist we not leave a tip, although you’re only supposed to tip 5% normally. Sadly, my non-tipping doesn’t punish them much.
We stop for glaces. Later we return to our hotel room and gather our belongings together for our trip to Normandy tomorrow.