The Louvre, Lunch with an Akimbo Alum Writer, Cristina g.d., & Galeries Lafayette
I had more time to write today since we got home earlier than the last several days of sightseeing.
Shoe leather and one Bus helped me/us achieve over 24,000 steps today. My gang is around the same amount of steps as me, and we each marched over 10+ miles across the city. (and I wore my boots instead of my running shoes - not the best decision either).
I also panicked about getting to the Louvre on “time” with our 9 am pre-purchased entrance tickets. However, I/we should have known due to yesterday’s Uber request between 8 and 9 am, there are NO taxis or Ubers to be had. And, frankly, I’m not one to panic, though I had a hunch that the Musee (Museum) would be crowded and the early bird gets the first glance at Ms. Mona, as in The Mona Lisa - all true.
With one damsel in distress, my two knights in shining armor (black down coats) tried to help - even one knight downloading a transportation app to help move the process along, but no dice. Nothing worked.
So we moved to Plan B. The “B” doesn’t mean Bus, but Plan B equaled a bus for us! I found a young man prepping tables and chairs for the lunch crowd and asked him how we could get to the Louvre since no taxis/Ubers were available then. He nodded, knowing our “problem.” He quickly whipped out his smartphone, made quick work of the bus schedule in the city, and told us to get on the 72. From a good distance away, he asked me, “See that white car turning? That is the bus stop.”
We thanked him profusely, using the correct French dialect of Merci Beaucoup, and hustled over to that spot. Not one bus #72 came by. We walked further down the wrong road, stopping at another bus stop. No buses. Sweat was rolling down my back by this point (it was a cold morning in the 40s F). I had to ask someone since I was about to jump out of my boots.
I asked a few people for help to no avail. Finally, a kind French woman who spoke English on her way to work walked us toward the stop we needed for the 72. Whew! We were on our way to the Louvre once again. More rounds of Merci Beaucoups!
As we entered the 72, the driver rolled his eyes at us (he had to open the door since he had stopped at the light and thought he was done picking up passengers. We had our credit cards out to tap and go. Ahh, but that didn’t work. More eye-rolling by the driver who gruffly said, “Cash only.” He about had it with us by this point, and we were happy we were on our way to the most iconic Museum in the world and to check off a big bucket list item. It’s all in the perspective, right?
Son Ryan saved the day. He had gotten Euros back in the States before we left, and I didn’t. I thought I could use my credit card - everywhere - which, I learned today, is not the case in riding city buses in Paris, France, certainly not the 72! Daughter Olivia and Hubby Bo got into Paris yesterday and joined us at the Museum - they took the train and arrived well before we did!
The throngs of people were only a few minutes away after our gang got to “push” our way (okay, not really push) to the front of the M.L. And there she was, as every textbook or art history book has among its pages, the superior work of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
And those eyes. Mona eerily followed everyone around the room, whether they noticed it or not.
The marble statue of Venus de Milo was another hit, as well as viewing several other galleries (French Impressionists, where hardly anyone was in those galleries). There was no time to waste since the place is HUGE; it must be so it could house over 35,000 pieces of art/sculptures/paintings and everything artsy imaginable. In minutes this art palace was overheating with thousands of people in its bowels and hallways - all gearing up to see up close and personal the greatest painting ever or leaving it.
A few hours later, we met with Akimbo Alumna in WIC, Cristina Garlingdon, her husband Christoph, and her two-and-a-half-year-old son, Axel. It was a great lunch meet-up in a cafe near the Louvre. I’m thrilled Cristina made the trip from East Paris (near Disney) to join the fun. She is a delight and a brilliantly talented artist (her husband is also an artist). Her son, Axel, was cute as a button and a real trooper with all adults yakking for an hour in a busy cafe.
The last bit of energy we could eke out was a whirlwind trip through the largest department store in Europe, The Galeries Lafayette. Ryan was hunting for some authentic French-made cologne and found it in the men’s wing.
As we headed back, walking the 2 miles back to our apartment (Airbnb), we walked along the Seine for a spell, passing the Musee D’Orssay (which was staying open late today). However, I couldn’t find any takers to go in with me at this point of the day, so we all slugged it back home - the shoe leather express all the way, baby!
My legs are a bit sore, feet too. Tomorrow, sneakers for whatever we’ve got planned for our last day in Paris!
Thanks for reading along…
Viva la France!
1) No intro needed; 2) inside the Louvre looking up and out; 3) Venus de Milo, 4) Eiffel Tower from Galeries Lafayette on the 6th-floor rooftop with great views of the city below; 5) Bill & Ryan in a large hallway gallery; 6) me and Cristina and Axel outside the Louvre; 7) Rooftop photo with the entire family; 8) Ryan selecting a pleasing scent; 9) the thing that Ryan wanted the most in Paris- a baguette!