Divide and Conquer
Aug 24, 2012
|Bill ventured out this morning to purchase Paris Museum Passes at the Louvre. We've decided that even if we don't save money with the passes, not having to wait in ticket lines will save us a lot of time and stress over the next few days. So will coming and going as we please. Or at least at the whims of our kids.
Of course, we got another late start today. It's hard not to with Owen still awake each night at midnight. I have to admit that as much as I hate the late nights trying to get Owen to go the #%@$ to sleep, the leisurely mornings are just fine with me.
Our first stop today was the Louvre. We went in the "back" entrance instead of standing outside the glass pyramid in the ticket line. Once in the back entrance, you're basically in a shopping mall. There are people getting Starbucks and buying Apple computers. Of course, we got Starbucks too. Then we went through security and into the museum. Love those passes so far! Not sure of where to start we just picked a random direction and found ourselves in the French sculpture wing. I had high hopes for our visit when I heard Owen exclaim, "Oh my God!" The room is vast, the ceiling is high and glass and it's full of enormous sculptures. It was awesome, in the true sense of the word. Unfortunately, within half an hour, Owen had his head buried in my iPhone playing Angry Birds Space. At least it afforded the rest of us the chance to look through some of Napoleon's Apartments. Those rooms are really ornate and gaudy and fun.
Seeing that our time at the Louvre was limited (at least for today - we have those passes remember?), we decided to split up. Bill, Teddy and Owen would head to the catacombs and Henry and I would check out the Musée de l'Armée at Les Invalides. The French military museum has a number of sections, but Henry chose the WWI and WWII part to visit. The exhibit starts inexplicably (to me) with the late 1800's. There are also cases and cases of military uniforms on display. More than anyone could really want to see. Still, it's a pretty interesting exhibit and there are many English descriptions of the items on display so we spent a lot of time there. Once again, I was impressed by Henry's knowledge of military history. We were talking about the Gatling gun and he told me it had been used by the North in the US Civil War. Then he went on to tell me it was used in the Boshin War, a Japanese civil war in roughly the same time period. I'd never heard of the Boshin War. The things my kids teach me!
Before we left Les Invalides, we stopped in the Chapel of Saint-Louis-de-Invalides which is a beautiful domed chapel that houses Napoleon's tomb among others. The domed ceiling was especially beautiful.
While Henry and I were off learning about the world wars and what uniform each specific French regiment wore in Algeria at the dawn of the 20th century (I'm not exaggerating), Owen and Teddy made their way through the catacombs. Apparently, Owen wasn't frightened at all. Bill said he even touched a bone. Eww! Overall I think they thought it was an interesting sight, although Bill said the sheer number of bones was disturbing after awhile.
Our family reunited at a metro stop at yet another mall, Forum Les Halles. Owen ran up to me as we were all exiting the station so it was perfect timing. It was also perfect timing with a rain storm. We'd left our umbrellas back at the apartment so we stopped at the first cafe for a drink. I love just stopping for a drink or a coffee. It was a great way for our family to reconnect after our separate adventures, although the kids quickly grabbed at our phones to play games so it was mostly Bill and I reconnecting. The French have the right idea with all this cafe sitting. I wish they weren't all smoking though.
When the rain let up, we forced the kids back to the Louvre. Friday is a late night and we thought it might be a good time to try to get in to see the museum's two most popular works - the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. We made like obnoxious tourists and raced past all of the other works of art and were able to get in right away and see both works tonight. I think it made it kind of fun for Owen that we were on a mission. After snapping a few photos of each of the famous works (Teddy getting some great ones of the Mona Lisa) we spent a few more minutes looking around at paintings and sculptures we think we might like more and then made our way back "home."
Bill and Teddy went out to the neighborhood pizzeria to pick up dinner. Bill got the "chef's" pizza just to try something different. It had a poached egg on it. The French seem to throw a poached egg on top of everything.
Bill commented tonight about how much he likes that we're in an apartment and not a hotel. I have to agree. I'm sure a lot of people would hate this place. The towels don't match, it's clean enough but not sterile and it has a real lived in look - there's no maid service or concierge. It's like we've borrowed a friend's place for our stay. But we're in a little neighborhood of shops and restaurants and I feel like its giving us a small taste of what it's like to really live here.