Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Louvre and Versailles

Another great thing about living here for a while is one doesn't feel obliged to always do the touristy thing. Of course, we are tourists, but when we have this time, we can just enjoy the atmosphere of the beautiful things to see and do here without lining up with the rest of the unwashed masses.

The other day, Judy said she wanted to go to the Louvre, just to walk around a bit. We had sent many friends to the Louvre but hadn't been there ourselves for about 40 years, other than going into the "new" entrance in the glass Pyramid.

So, we got a relatively early start and took our metro from Place Monge to the Louvre stop which has an exit from the station directly into the Louvre ticket area. After messing with the automatic ticket vending machine for a while (multiple cards, multiple languages, multiple attempts), we finally got our passes to enter. After all these years, we wanted to see if they had found Venus de Milo's arms.

The Louvre is massive but the maps are pretty good and they highlight where the most well-known works are including the Big 3  (Venus de Milo, Winged Victory and the Mona Lisa). We found our way to Venus, stumbled on Winged and skipped Mona and decided to head for a cafe. One problem with negotiating the museum is that many of the elevators and stairways only go in one direction. We entered one elevator on the 1st floor, looked for buttons to go the 2nd floor until the door opened again and we saw it only went down. Eventually we found a cafe on the 2nd floor of the wing that is closest to the Seine. We stood in a short line for a few minutes, but could only see a small bar in front of us, not knowing what kind of cafe it was. After a brief wait, we were led by the  host out onto a balcony of the museum overlooking the courtyard and the Pyramid. It was spectacular. What a treat to be seated among the statues of dignitaries in this historic place.

Both our cameras were dead, but I had a sketch pad with me. Our cousin, Bonnie, gave it to me when she and our friend Sandy visited. Here's my take of one of the statues, then a scene from the wading pool while Judy cased out the Pyramid shopping area.

To continue this theme of visiting iconic, historic sites in France without actually visiting them, we went to the Chateau de Versailles with Jacques and Claire today. Took the metro to the end of the line where Jacques picked us up. We only went there to walk around the huge 6km long reflecting pool behind the Chateau. (back in the day, I used to ride my bike around this pool with friends. I had a pretty good crash here one day. Reminder, don't pedal when taking sharp corners...)

There was lots of activity. Teams of rowers practicing with this beautiful backdrop.

Joggers on the perfectly manicured alley-ways along the pool.

Swans and rowers competing for space.

Natural lawn mowers for the Chateau

and Judy and Claire walking back to the car.

No day would be complete, however, without a great lunch. We went to the Brasserie du Theatre which is located, coincidentally, next to the Theatre on the Boulevard du Roi, which intersects with Boulevard de la Renne.

Judy had the Salmon Norvegian complete with little mussels... had to take a picture.

This was a charming restaurant with a distinct bistro look and atmosphere. 

A perfect way to cap off the day. Good idea, Jacques and Claire


  1. You aren't ever coming back to the US, are you? We are enjoying following your trip!

    1. Judy is already looking at places for next year but I'd like to get the Jeep out on the Red Rocks. We'll see who wins...

    2. Judy is already looking at places for next year but I'd like to get the Jeep out on the Red Rocks. We'll see who wins...


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