home page

about us
       about us

see The Beast
       see the beast

our photo album
       our photo album

explore tucson
       explore tucson

other links

email us
       email us

sign our guest book
       sign our guest book

home page



Day 9
Slept well. Rose early in order to hopefully beat the crowds at the Louvre. Enjoyed a very nice petit dejeuner (breakfast of coffee or hot chocolate, French bread and croissants) at the hotel, then walked down to the Cardinale Lemoine Metro station and were on our way to the Louvre.
Carol at the Louvre
The Louvre is massive beyond description. First built in 1190 as a fortress to protect Paris against Viking raids, it is hard to imagine that it was at one time the palace of Charles V (around 1360.) This enormous place was someone's home. It would take weeks to see all of the art housed here.
We spent most of our time in the galleries of the Italian Renaissance masters like Raphael, Boticelli, Fra Angelo, Giotto and Leonardo Da Vinci. Since we arrived early, the crowds were light, and we were able to spend some time at the Mona Lisa. We saw Winged Victory, the Venus de Milo, and statues by Michelangelo. We spent two hours at the Louvre and became numb trying to comprehend the magnitude and importance of these timeless, priceless works and we had to leave.
Mona Lisa at the Louvre   Venus de Milo at the Louvre
Out into the sunny but cold and windy Rive Gauche (Right Bank) on Rue Rivoli and east, past St. Eustache, an enormous gothic cathedral and its lovely park, and turned towards the Marais.
We walked blocks until we passed the modern Pompidou Center and many shops selling cheeses and hams and wines and olives at a market near the Fountain of the Innocents. I had a fresh juice to help my cold, and the woman vendor kindly offered some advice regarding remedies (Actifed.)
We wanted to see the Musee Carnavalet and on the way we sat at Café L' Oree du Marais for lunch and a rest. Enjoyed hot soupe a l'oignon and pain (bread) and San Pelligrino sparkling water. Then we walked a block to the Carnavalet where I was in search of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man, as important to the French people as our Declaration of Independence. We saw fragments of the Bastille. This is a very important museum to the French people.
Musee Carnavalet
Us with Louis XIV, the Sun King
We strolled from the museum to the nearby Place de Vosages, very likely the most perfect and beautiful square in the world. Laid out in the time of Louis XIII, the homes surrounding the exquisite green park and its fountains and statues are perfectly balanced with nine on each side, and it was here, at #6, that Victor Hugo lived for sixteen years and wrote several of his masterpieces. Having been a fan for many years and currently reading his last novel, Toilers of the Sea, we had to tour the museum that was once his residence. A lot of Hugo memorabilia can be found here, and some of the same furniture he used is still in place.
Place de Vosages
Victor Hugo  Le Maison de Victor Hugo, now a museum
We continued our day by strolling up Rue Saint Antoine towards the Place de la Bastille and decided we needed rest, beer and wine, so we stopped at a nice brasserie called Modern Tabac, sat outside and enjoyed the people and the sunshine.
The French people are as beautiful as we remember, especially the women. The predominant fashion is black - anything black, but with style and panache. We see more and more of an American influence everywhere, which is in many ways a shame. We are noticing more McDonalds, Budweiser, Marlboros and cell phones. Globalization is great but in this cultural sense it is a shame, we feel.
Rested, and our thirsts quenched, we proceeded east along Rue Saint Antoine for a block until we came to the large, traffic congested Place de la Bastille. This is a huge and relatively hazardous intersection with eight major boulevards feeding into it, as well as the Canal St. Martin, lined with boats of all shapes and sizes. At the very center of the Place de la Bastille is a column called Colonne de Juliett, 170 feet high, commemorating those who died in the street battles of July 1830 that ultimately led to the overthrow of the monarchy. The crypt at the Colonne de Juliett contains the remains of 504 victims. This same spot is the where Bastille stood, the prison stormed by the revolutionary mob on July 14, 1789, an event celebrated by the French at home and abroad each year. This large, traffic-clogged square was the sight of a bloody battle that marked the official beginning of the French Revolution. So much of the French history is bloody and as you view the many paintings of this era in the various museums, this terrible fact becomes evident. Robespierre's Reign of Terror alone took the lives of over 60,000 people suspected of betraying the Revolution, most without a trial. Robespierre himself was guillotined on July 27, 1794.
Le Canal St. Martin
There happened to be a huge antique fair that ran from the Place de la Bastille south along both sides of Canal St. Martin. For 38 francs each ($5) we spent the next hour and a half perusing all things old and Parisian. Carol was in heaven, although somehow we left nearly empty-handed. The prices of everything was astronomical. But we had a great time being "looky-lews…"
By this time (4:30) our feet were feeling their usual afternoon exhaustion, so we caught the Metro back to the hotel for a siesta. The formula that seems to work best for us when we travel is to get up around 7 AM, have continental breakfast at the hotel (most of our hotels included this breakfast although our Parisian Hotel des Grande Ecoles does not include this in the price) or else find a nearby café for a bite, then begin to explore until around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, then back to the hotel for two hours rest and a shower, then back out to enjoy the night. One thing that all the large cities of the world have in common is the dirt and grit that pervades everything and must be scrubbed off twice daily. The afternoon showers feel so refreshing…
It is wonderful that our hotel room in Paris has no television. In London I was continually tuning in CNN during our afternoon siestas, or else I was picking up newspapers to stay up on events. Here in Paris, with no TV, and not really having a clue about the language (Carol is our mouthpiece in France…) I am quite oblivious to what is happening in he world, and truly, ignorance is bliss…
So after a short nap and a shower, we dressed for the night. Took the Metro from "our stop," Cardinale Lemoine, to Sully-Morland in search of L'Excuse, a restaurant Carol had read about in our guide book. The books we use when we travel are fabulous - published by Dorling Kinderly. Every bit of information one could require is in these books, even language guides. On the way to the restaurant we passed a luthier's shop and watched him as he worked on a bass fiddle.
Parisian luthier
We found L'Excuse with little trouble and sat down to a typical 2 ½ hour leisurely French dinner. The French usually don't even think about eating dinner until around 8:30. I ordered sardines in a flaky pastry with carrots and string beans for an appetizer, salmon and mushrooms for my entrée, and crème broulee for desert. Carol ordered an appetizer of salmon with herbed goat cheese and lemon sauce, an entrée of chicken stuffed with fresh tarragon on a bed of potatoes with bacon and crispy crepe, and crème broulee for desert. As an appetizer, the waiter served us a tiny poached egg with whipped cream, horseradish and balsamic vinegar - devine... With our meal we had a bottle of Saint Amour 1999 red wine. The entire meal was delicious, cost 572 francs ($76.00) and we were actually sad to leave.
Happy Carol at  L'Excuse
We thanked our gracious maitre d' and waiter and walked out into the cool Parisian night. We decided to stroll the mile or so back to the hotel instead of taking the Metro, so we walked south along Rue St. Paul in the Marais towards the Pont Louis Philippe across Isle St. Louis. At night the lights of the buildings along the Seine glow on the water in a special, warm way that must be seen first hand to be appreciated. The postcards come close, but don't capture the true spirit… To see the ghostly grand gothic silhouette of Notre Dame juxtaposed against the brightly lit Eiffel Tower is truly a memorable experience… Ahhh, Paris…
The City of Light at night...
The grand Dame sparkles like a jewel
Le Tour Eiffel
Made it back to the hotel in short order and quickly snuggled into our large comfortable bed and reflected on the magnificent day we had just experienced…

Previous Day

Next Day


 copyright 1998 / david and carol lehrman / all rights reserved
email david@davidandcarol.com