Prior to this visit, I was 19 years old the last time I was in Paris. Then, I traveled with two girlfriends, mounds of wonder and a backpack large enough to hold six weeks worth of supplies. This time, although I may have walked almost as much, it was a different me that visited France.
This time I loved the city, it felt charming and welcoming. We arrived early evening, just in time to unpack, take a walk, and locate a bistro for dinner. The Arc de Triomphe reminded me of my younger years in Greenwich Village, walking under another arch near Washington Square Park. Our energy was on the wan from wandering through Harrod’s earlier in the day, before leaving London (as complete a department store as ever I’ve seen) and traveling. It’s the kind of tired that comes from a long, productive, satisfying day.
The following morning after a light breakfast, we head in the direction of the Eiffel Tower. The structure isn’t beautiful, but massive and monumental. The Jardin de Tuileries, a large and nearby park with flowers and land sprawling as far as the eye can detect, brims with color and fragrance enough to delight
Leaving the park, we take a turn in time and space as we head toward Les Invalides, most notably known for housing Napoleon’s Tomb. As you can see from the photos below, the French are quite comfortable with sumptuous elegance.
The complex of buildings along with their contents, tell the story of the military history of France.
On to Musees d Orsay, a beautiful building (aren’t they all) that was a former railway station.
We stop for a much needed lunch break (I get cranky if I go too long without eating), and take some time to digest all we’ve seen so far, before moving on to the mother of all museums, The Louvre. If the sheer size of this museum doesn’t dazzle, approximately 650,000 square feet of space, then the 35,000 plus objects within its walls, from prehistory through the 21st century, will. It is a sight to behold. Judge for yourselves…