Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jardins Tuileries and the Louvre

Gentle readers, are you bored with Paris yet?

When I left new England, rain and snow were pelting down at me out of a gray sky. I woke up on my first day in Paris to sunshine, warm weather, and flowers in bloom all over the place. It was lovely. We took a walk to Les Invalides, across the Pont des Invalides, and then over to the Jardins Tuileries.

Nobody has been able to explain to me why the weather is milder in Paris than it is in Rhode Island even though Paris is approximately seven degrees north of us. Someone said something about the Gulf Stream warming things up over there, but the Gulf Stream flows right past us too so I'm thinking that can't be it. Must remember to ask The Fisherman.

Whatever the reason, we thoroughly enjoyed walking in the sunshine. We stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe right in the gardens.

Seeing kids sail boats on this little pond made me want to be a kid again -- or at least borrow one so I could sail a boat and pretend it was all for the kid's benefit.

At the end of the gardens is I.M. Pei's Pyramide du Louvre, and the Louvre itself. You already know about the Louvre, don't you? Of course you do. You read about it in The Da Vinci Code.

Okay, fine. The Louvre massive, and it's gorgeous. The building we see today was completed during the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV, two guys who were not known for restraint in design. There are what I came to call "Harry Potter stairs" all over the place -- meaning that when you go up or down a flight, you don't always end up where you expect.

I didn't take any pictures of paintings for one simple reason: I saw the Mona Lisa. I've probably seen hundreds, maybe even thousands of images of that painting in my lifetime and not one of them ever did it justice. I figured, if professionals with fancy equipment can't really capture paintings, how can I do it with my cute little point-and-shoot camera? So I didn't even try.

I got a couple of nice shots in the sculpture gallery, however, and I am happy with that.

The Foodie and I ended our tour with a look at Napoleon's apartments. Napoleon was another guy whose tastes ran to the opulent. I also got a good look at the crown jewels of France, which were awfully pretty. One crown that I really loved was surprisingly simple and elegant, decorated with pearls and diamonds.

I had to push my way through a big crowd to get to see the bijoux, but get through it I did. It's not for nothing that The Foodie refers to me as The Magpie.

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