Saturday, April 14, 2012


Today was our last day in Paris, tomorrow we take the train to Bruges, Belgium.  We will have two days to explore that lovely town.

We had another leisurely start to the day, we left our apartment at about 9:30 and took the Metro to the Musee de Louvre.  After just a couple of wrong turns (stay tuned--that's the theme of the day!) we found the right entrance and bought our tickets.  Here's Mom and Dad at the Pyramid, the great architect I.M. Pei's addition to the Louvre:

We had to clear a security check point, complete with a bag scanner.  They're pretty serious about protecting their treasures!

 Our first order of business was to see the Mona Lisa.  Mom really wanted Dad to see it, and he agreed.
I'm sure the minute he saw these crowds, he had second thoughts!

The first thing Dad said was "That's it?  That's all the bigger it is? I forgot to warn him that it is a small painting, and often people seeing it for the first time are very surprised!  Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece measures a petite 30 x 20 inches!

We patiently inched our way up to the front of the crowd, and had our "photo op" with that mysterious lady.  Here she is:     (sorry about that glare spot on her cheek-she's behind glass)

Here's Mom and Dad with Mona Lisa.  (Red Wagner: note the smile on Dad's face--I think he's smiling because this "Mona Lisa stuff" is almost over!)

And  the three of us:

Whew! That was a chore to get close and get a good look, but I think it is worth it.  I'm not so sure my Dad would agree!

We continued on, exploring the galleries in this wing of the Louvre.  There are many beautiful art treasures, but just as fascinating is the history and architecture of the palace itself.  There is beauty in every corner, on every ceiling and each hall.  Here are just a few examples:

Ceiling in one of the galleries:


Mom and Dad in front of one of the paintings:

Mom and Dad with "Winged Victory of Samothrace",  the Goddess Nike    2nd century B.C.

Domed ceiling in one of the many salons:

Yet another ceiling in another gallery.  There are hundreds of rooms like this!

Mom and Dad, admiring some artwork, just taking it all in:

Can you stand just one more ceiling picture?  Look at the detail!

Close up of the corner decoration.  Each corner was different!

Mom and Dad in a room full of artifacts and statues dating from 400-500 B.C.  They really enjoyed this room.

 As we were leaving this wing, I took a long shot through the many doorways and arches:

By now we felt like we'd walked miles, and agreed that it was time for lunch and a rest.  We could see one of the cafes on our "map" of the Louvre.  One would think it would be a simple chore to just follow the map, but this place is a huge maze of over 650,000 square feet.  Yes, you read that right--650,000!!
After several trips up and down a few elevators, map consultations with the room attendants, and more than a few wrong turns we finally found our cafe.  And there was a line--but it was short, and we didn't have to wait long.  We were escorted to a lovely table in a little alcove, and it had a wonderful view of a garden courtyard.

Here's Mom and Dad, lunching at the Louvre!  Mom had a cream of vegetable soup, Dad had a sandwich; and they each had a beer.

And here's my yummy lunch:  Just for my dear friend Brenda, it's my first ever club sandwich!  Thinking of you, Dear Bren!  I added a double espresso, hey--I need my energy to keep track of these two!!  It wasn't an inexpensive lunch--but it IS the Louvre, after all.  I thing one pays (through the nose!!) for the ambiance.....

After a nice long lunch and rest, we were on to our next stop--Napoleon's Apartments (Napoleon III) at the Louvre.  Once again, it was quite an adventure to find!  After way too many wrong turns, I was VERY happy to finally see this sign:

The first room we came to, a grand entry hall:

Next up--the Grand Salon, in all of it's elegant opulence:

 The over-the-top ceiling in the Grand Salon:

And my over-the-top parents in the Grand Salon!

And the three of us:

We continued on through a few rooms, and here's a lovely chair--a three seater!  We really wanted to have a little sit down and chat, but thought we'd might get in trouble!

Along the way to the dining room, we passed the "Petite Salon Manger"--or small dining salon.  Maybe they just had a quick snack here??

And the main dining room.  Wish I'd counted the chairs!

And Mom and Dad by the Grand Salon Manger:

After the dining room we came to yet another Salon--this one had a beautiful fireplace and a grand piano:

And the Grand Staircase--notice the crest with the big "N" for Napoleon:

Believe it or not, that was not all of Napoleon's apartments--there were several more rooms with furniture, artwork, porcelain dinner sets, and even a display of jewels and tiaras from Napoleon's time.  We skipped most of this, as Mom was getting tired and it was time to head back home.  We enjoyed every minute of our time at the Louvre.  (Well--maybe not the time we rode the same elevator up and down 3 times while trying to decide where to get off!!)

We found our way out of the museum, winding through the maze of rooms, salons and wings.  There is a Metro stop connected to the Louvre, and we walked there with nary a wrong turn!  Here's Mom and Dad, waiting for a train:

Mom and Dad climbing yet another set of those Metro stairs.  Dad is so sweet and helpful.  Mom never once complained about the steps--she's tough!

The Metro cars are crowded at this time of day--pretty much packed in like sardines.  At each line change a nice Parisian insisted that Mom take their seat.  It's absolutely NOT true that the French are rude; they are lovely, helpful and kind.

At our home Metro stop there is a small pretty park with a fountain.  I decided this was a great photo op, so Mom and Dad posed for a sweet picture.  Just look at these two love birds!!

We strolled back to our apartment, stopping at a nice sidewalk cafe for a creme brûlée.  Mom and I have  fond memories of our mother-daughter trip to Paris 11 years ago, and Mom still remembers the delicious creme brûlée she had.  Here we are, enjoying another one together: 

A short two blocks, and were "home" at 70 Rue St. Dominique.  Mom and Dad take a short nap, then we pack our bags and tidy up the apartment.  Dinner tonight?  Crackers and an apple and a little leftover red wine.  We're still full from our creme brûlée!

Our taxi to the train station comes at 6:45 a.m., it will be an early morning for these "Travelin' Tuttles"!

Tomorrow:  A 2 1/2 hour train ride to Bruge, Belgium.  Bruge is a beautiful medieval walled city not too far from Brussells.  David and I visited two years ago, and loved it.  I think Mom and Dad will enjoy the "quaintness" of Bruge and it's interesting architecture.  Stay tuned!


  1. Wow, beautiful day and pictures. So nice to see more pictures of you as well as the ones of all three of you. That espresso sure looked good! Safe travels. We will be watching for your posts from Bruge.

  2. What a grand final day! Glad the weather cooperated so they could stop for the nice picture in front of the fountain <3

    Creme Brulee with a beer? Might have to give that a try!

    Have a safe train ride and I am looking forward to your "reviews".

    I'm venturing out--- to Costco's---- so mundane compared to the Belgium!

  3. I think it will allow me to post tonight...yeah...I am missing the ability to post my comments. I love the pictures of your Mom and Dad....they warm my heart so much....then the pics with you in them too....memories to cherish forever! Your parents look like sweethearts. Holding hands and a kiss along the way. This type of marriage does exist....and in Paris no less!

  4. Oh...and the club looked totally yummy...good choice on the sandwich and expresso Di...and what a thrill for you to mention our names in the special to think your remembering us....

  5. Great picture of you and your mom enjoying your Creme Brulee treat. This will be a moment to always treasure. Napoleon's Apartment - pretty impressive! That dining room table is bigger than my apartment.... Don't you wonder what the meals would be like? Be safe on the next part of your adventure and I look forward to seeing ya soon.

  6. I am loving the blogs and photos. "Almost" makes me feel like I'm there, almost...Wonderful memories you're making with your parents and ones you'll always cherish. Love to you three Traveling Tuttlebury's