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Louvre + Walking Tour

Paris, France: We had a good night. Both slept well and woke at a reasonable 7a. Jet lag is no fun. DT worked out, we had coffees at the hotel buffet (super nice!) and headed to the Louvre Museum, just across the river. We had not been to the Louvre for over twenty years, so thought we’d better go see how the most famous woman in the world has been holding up.

Though we had early morning timed tickets, the lines were ridiculously long. At least the weather was perfect and most fellow "waiters" were friendly and keeping patient. However, after we entered the museum under the famed pyramid, the crowds were just stifling. Different cultures deal differently with crowds and there was someone from everywhere at the Louvre today. Forget manners. Every man for themselves! A few photos of our sardine-can-like stroll through the Louvre this morning:

The Three Graces (daughters of Zeus)
Venus de Milo
Winged Victory (We call her NIKE.)

And then we entered the hall holding the Mona Lisa. Or I think we saw the Mona Lisa. She was so far away and completed mobbed with people crowding to get a glimpse of the mysterious woman.

I. Can't. Even.

This is close as we came to actually seeing the Mona Lisa for the third time. (PS: notice no masks!) The other two times (in the 90s), there were crowds, but nothing like this. It is only $18 to enter the Louvre Museum. Maybe they should raise the prices and lower the amount of tickets sold? The experience of viewing the world's finest art behind a throng of heads is just not very enlightening said a short person. We have a gold-framed copy of the Mona Lisa in the powder room of our La Quinta house. DT says it can be seen in private at any time. For free. Oh, did I say powder room? Y'all know we call it the Louvratory, right?

The crowds were really getting to be over-whelming. Jostling. I may have been having some-sort of claustrophobic panic attack, but I wanted nothing but to get out of there ASAP. David was in agreement. We fled the scene after only 90 minutes in the finest museum in the world.

Louvre pastries

A pastry shop near the exit provided the best vista to the lovely lady this morning. So sad. Once outside, we regrouped. I had planned a walking tour mostly in the 2nd Arrondissement north of the museum after our museum visit - a route of sites I wanted to see and places Dave would also enjoy. Our route today covered over 6 miles.

Palais Royal

Originally built to house the a French Cardinal in 1633, then was used by Louis VIII and XIV until they moved to nicer digs in Versailles. The palace is now used to house government offices. A large garden, sculpture garden, fountains and tree-covered paths fill the inner courtyard. Shops and restaurants now line the covered walkways along the perimeter of the courtyard.

DT thinks I look like a mime. I only brought seven outfits. Get over it.
Palais Royal
Galerie Vivienne

Our next stop was to stroll through the nearby Galerie Vivienne, one of the first (1823) indoor/covered shopping "malls" in the world, copying the beautiful tiled galleries in Milan, Italy. Only a few shops were open as most business shut-down for holiday in August. Trudging along, we had a quick stop to see the fantastic cooking supplies and gourmet dried fruits and nuts at G. Detou, before taking a quick left to walk up and down another pretty pedestrian-only cobblestoned street - Rue Montorgueil. We walked up and down and finally sat down for a snack. Our foods were just okay, but we were hungry, ate quickly and then explored the southern section of the street.

Rue Montorgueil

It's a thing in Paris to drape your establishment in fake flowers.

Suburban mall in the heart of Paris?

Next on the agenda was a stroll past the largest and most popular food market in Paris, Les Halles... which, due to it's popularity (traffic, congestion, stench, and noise) was moved to the city outskirts years ago). Would you even believe it if I told you the famed iron structure is now an underground shopping mall operated by Westfield? Truth!

But wait - there is more! Another fabulous famous building on our tour route was La Samaritaine, an old department store that had closed years ago. The building was purchased, refitted and opened a few years ago in the original location, retaining a nod to the original Art Deco style. It truly is exquisite.

Samaritaine escalators - I didn't buy a thing
Pont-Neuf - with the Eiffel Tower in the distance

Then we crossed the Pont-Neuf (New Bridge... which ironically is the oldest bridge in Paris) and made it back to our hotel... where DT claims I fell asleep two minutes later for a good long nap.

As we reached our hotel - from a different direction than we had used before - we found a very nice restaurant! It was not touristy at all. In fact, I couldn't even find a website for the establishment. All I saw was a slab of au gratin potatoes as we passed by an outdoor table and I was sold. I really needed to eat those potatoes. We didn't get back to the restaurant until after seven, but were promptly seated. The dining room was just lovely, with a (faux) olive tree "planted" in the center. It was dripping with huge fat (faux) olives. The potatoes were a divine as I expected, the house wine was delicious and we both left very happy, and will sleep well tonight. No set plans for tomorrow, meaning no reservations nor tickets to anything, but I do have another walking tour to present to Dave. We will see, but again, there is something for everyone.

Until my next update, your tour-guide correspondent.

Pedometer: 18,000 steps.

Louvre Museum

4 thoughts

  1. Our niece who visits Paris frequently says
    La rue des Martyrs has always been her favorite food street while staying in Paris
    Load up with banquettes, cheese ,melons, caramels beurre sale’ and macarons is her favorite thing to do
    Je Vois LA Vie en Rose’

  2. SB baguette! Auto correct!
    BTW. I now understand you wondered how the girls got a picture of Mona with out any one else near them!
    Love your mime outfit. All that walking has paid off you look amazing and slender!
    C’est la vie

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