hitting the museums in Paris

The thing you have to remember about walking anywhere with Kaitlyn is to double… or triple… the amount of time you think it will take to reach your destination.

After checking into the hotel, we decided to walk to the Musee d’Orsay. It was the first stop on the itinerary we’d laid out a couple of nights ago.

We are staying in the Latin Quarter, next to the Odeon Theater. It’s probably a little over a kilometer to the museum. Debbie looked at a map and figured it was a 15 minute walk… no reason to take the metro. And, besides, you can’t see the city from the metro. So we walked.

On the way it started to rain. Don didn’t pack a jacket, but he hasn’t complained once.

Then Kaitlyn saw a crepe carte and announced she was hungry. So we stopped. She insisted on her usual… ice cream. We tried to talk her out of it, since it was cold and rainy, but she had her mind made up. I introduced Don and Debbie to the joys of Nutella.

By the time we got to the museum , it was 4:30 or so. Only an hour till they start to clear the galleries. We were probably silly to even attempt to rush through, but we did. That followed some drama about the purchase of the museum pass. I apparently steamrollered the decision to buy 2 day passes, which I said only because I thought that the passes are a waste, that they aren’t’ so very useful when it isn’t peak tourist season so there aren’t as many lines to try to skip, oh and because we’d decided it the other night when we mapped out our Paris plan. I was just trying to keep things moving forward.

I took Kaitlyn and let everyone else go off on their own. Partially because I was mad about the stupid pass thing. And partially because I’ve been to this museum and that makes it easier to see the exhibits at Kaitlyn’s pace. She buzzes past the things that are generally worth seeing (like the Monet paintings) but then stops and asks a zillion questions about a display showing how many steps it takes to make a sculpture. At least I think that’s what the display was; it was all in French.

When we basically got kicked out of there, we went to the Louvre. It’s pretty much across the street (and river), so we walked. But in the cold, pouring rain we should have taken the metro the one stop over. Kaitlyn looked like she’d just gotten out of the bath when we got there. Then I carried our dripping wet coats all around the museum. The only one of us who appeared to have the water beading off was Don.

I have only been to the Louvre one other time and found it to be too immense and overwhelming. We had 4 hours before it closed and all I wanted to do was to identify our must-see items then head right for them. Instead, our first stop was to eat. To add to my frustration, we ended up in the same bad cafe as when I went with my brother and his family. Ninety percent of the menu is not available after 3:30. All I ordered was a glass of wine. I am not going to eat something I don’t even want just to eat.

Finally, we went to find some art. Bill had already made sense of the Louvre map you can pick up… which was about 3 hours faster than it took any of us to figure out that stupid map the first time I went.

We started with Venus di Milo. Not spectacular to me. (Patrick, Julie, Sarah: no need to fret over missing it) Then we went to the Mona Lisa. There the museum employees have apparently given up any hope of stopping people from taking pictures, even though there are signs all over saying no pictures.

The most interesting thing we saw was under the museum… the old palace wall where the moat used to be. The moat built to keep the king from being attacked by his own subjects, mind you. I’m most fascinated by the history of the building more than what’s inside it.

Kaitlyn did pretty well, considering a museum like the Louvre is not really geared to a 4 year old. She wanted to know about a lot of the paintings we saw, which tested my ability to make up stories. (“Mommy, what are they doing? Why are they eating?” which can only be answered by fabricating tales) When she walked through the hall of ancient Greek statues, we had her pose in the same stances as the statues so we could take pictures.

Debbie says she’s not going to join us tomorrow morning. I don’t know if we’ve worn her out, or worn her down.

4 Responses to “hitting the museums in Paris”

  1. Debbie says:

    The whole “museum pass drama” was just due to a lack of communication between all of us. 🙂

  2. Debbie says:

    I was soooo glad we ate right away after getting to the Louvre. I would not have had the energy to go through the museum without eating first. Thanks for allowing us to do that before we set off into the colossal institution that is the Louvre.

  3. Debbie says:

    My aching legs and feet were the reason for taking the next morning “off.”

  4. D.A.D. says:

    I can just see all this unfurl. Amazing how dealing with the routines of visiting these centuries-old institutions can be overwhelming. But everyone is still talking to everyone else, apparently, which is a good thing.

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