This morning we found more of the local Paris and less of touristy Paris. We went off in search of parks and toy stores and we found a nice park right near the apartment and a couple of toy stores in lovely old buildings. There were French families with little children playing in the park and adults doing Tai Chi. On the walk to the toy stores we saw lots of people just going about their lives. People were shopping in little stores and eating at cafes. Just seemed like everything was geared toward the people living and working there. There were lots of lovely bakeries and cafes. The toy stores had well made, high quality toys and very nice displays.
I will say the French have a flair for presenting things very nicely. Folks also tend to be rather well dressed. They also make it look rather effortless. I don’t spend much time in large cities so maybe that is just an urban thing but we saw women who looked like they could be in a magazine fashion shoot and several men in suits on bikes. The photo of the woman with the dog was taken in Lille but could easily have been in Paris.
So I don’t know how long it takes for Paris fashion trends to migrate to the Midwest but the current style here among the 20 somethings involves skinny jeans, short – mid thigh hemlines, the occasional bare mid-drift, very high heels, long straight hair and fire engine red lipstick. Oh, and well defined eyes- ie eyeliner and long lashes. Throw in a neck scarf and a jacket or wrap and you too could be French! Even the not 20 somethings were looking rather stylish is skinny pants and high heels. I don’t know how women walk all day in those high heels on cobblestones.
Pointly, elf like shoes seems to be in fashion for some of the men as well as the preppy throwback of sweaters tied about the shoulder. And skinny jeans. In Belgium we saw men and women in baggy haram pants but haven’t seen that so far in France. Even young kids look rather stylish. I’m not sure how the French are able to rock those skinny pants and live among all these fantastic bakeries but somehow they do.
After our morning excursions we ventured out to the Louvre in the afternoon. There are actually a number of shops (including an Apple store) at the Galerie du Carrousel entrance. There wasn’t a line for tickets or security so we easily bought tickets and went in. In retrospect, I think I should have also rented a nintendo audio guide because it gives info on different pieces of art. As it was, I went back out and bought a guide book at the entrance then went back in through security so we could have a little more background info on the art we were seeing.
The Louvre is the largest museum in the world. The collection is housed in an old palace, which Paul felt could use a little remodeling so there wasn’t so much going up and down of steps to move through areas on the same floor.
The Louvre is absolutely amazing. As you walk up some steps you realize the statue greeting you at the top is none other than “Winged Victory”, a 3000-year-old piece of antiquity. I had a flashback to my 16-year-old self walking up these same steps in July 1982 and marveling at Winged Victory. She’s aging well and will still be wowing people long after I’m dust. Venus d Milo is here as is artwork from the greatest masters of art know to humankind. We saw papyrus from the reign of Ramses and Egyptian tomb artifacts. (Enmgamer said I was a complete fan girl about the museum)
It is amazing to see our world’s history there for the viewing (or a version of history anyway since history is typically written by the victors with the viewpoint of the vanquished and marginalized voices not represented or not represented accurately).
We watched the movie “The Monuments Men” right before we left for Europe. Vermeer’s painting “The Astronomer” is featured in the movie as one of the paintings that was stolen by the Nazi’s and recovered by the Monuments Men. It is part of the Louvre collection. It was the last piece of art that we looked for before we left. I couldn’t find it in the room listed in the guidebook so asked a museum docent if it was in a different place or on loan but they just pointed me back to the room I’d just checked. Vermeer’s “The Lacemaker” was there but only the info card for “The Astronomer” was on the wall.
I asked another museum docent who insisted “The Astronomer” was there and when I said it wasn’t he told me in his best snooty English with a French accent that “There must be a problem with your eyes” as he got up to show me where the painting was. Well, was he surprised to find the painting was indeed not hanging on the wall. He tried to read the handwriting on the info card but declared the print was too small for him to read. So I said, smiling, “Okay, so there’s nothing wrong with my eyes after all”. To which he agreed and said my eyes were fine!
We left the museum and visited the gift shop where we found some interesting books and souvenirs. I found a book on the Louvre for families in French and I was so glad that I asked if they had the same book somewhere in English. It turns out there’s a second gift shop right next to the one we were in and it had it an English version as well as another book by the same author. I’d wished we’d had it before we went it because it broke up the museum into 1 hour kid friendly interesting tours around different themes with bite size pieces of information. I found later that is available on Amazon for a penny so if you are planning a trip to the Louve it would be worth getting “Objective Louvre the Guide to Family Visits” and Objective Louvre the Guide for Family Surprises at the Louvre” before you go.
We ended up eating at the McDonalds upstairs in the museum complex because it was fast and easy and everyone was tired and hungry which isn’t a good combination when you still have several metro rides across Paris and a walk to reach home. After eating we sat at the fountain in the Louvre courtyard and enjoyed the lovely evening. Once again we returned to the apartment, tired, having had a full day.