Europe

Saint-Germain-des-Prés: A Leisurely Stroll.


Tuesday, October 12th, 2004: Paris, France

We allow ourselves the luxury of a lazy morning, and sit in the apartment, reading the paper and drinking coffee, once we wake up. Our plan today is to visit the Musée d’Orsay, the train station on the rive gauche that was turned into a museum 15 or so years ago, and which holds the nation’s art collection dating from the 1848 revolution onwards.

We decide to walk to the museum, along Boul. St. Germain, past the chic cafés, les Deux Magots, Flore, and Lipp, past the chic designer shops, past the chic furniture shops, past the chic home accessory shops, then past the chic kitchen design shops, the last 3 types eliciting sighs of “if we only had a home”, sung to the tune of the song from The Wizard of Oz.

We turn towards the Seine. The change in atmosphere is dramatic: we walk into an area dominated by 4 and 5 star hotels and the art galleries and restaurants that serve their clientele. We round a corner and there is the museum, but there are also at least 1,000 people in the line waiting to buy tickets. (We realize that coming here on the day the Louvre is closed was not such a good idea). So we head to the advance sales window, and buy tickets for later in the week. The sun has begun to poke through the clouds, and we decide to take advantage of the sun and to spend the rest of the day walking.

We walk a few hundred metres along the Seine, and then cross over to the Tuileries and the Louvre. The Tuileries are full of people enjoying the sun. We walk through the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, the arch at the Louvre end of the Voie Triomphale, the long straight line that heads through the Place de la Concorde, up the Ave. de Champs- Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe and on to la Grande Arche de la Défense.

From the Tuileries we take the Métro #1 to the far-end of the Champs-Élysées, and walk backwards, towards centre ville. We window-shop, but are not tempted. When we reach the Rond-Point, at Ave. Franklin D. Roosevelt, our feet lead us down the stairs into the Métro and to home, where we dine on pizza and have an early evening.

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