Paris, Day 1

Today was our first full day in Paris, and I was working to balance everyone being rested and curious while still checking a few places off the sightseeing list every day. With a big list of things to see and do, I become energized and am ready to go. Mike does not like to adhere to a list, and the girls will generally do whatever as long as they’re not exhausted. The Euro16 crowd partied most of the night, so Mike didn’t sleep too hard. We got going by 10:00, though, and after a quick Uber to the Louvre, we started our Paris exploration.

We signed ourselves up for a “Highlights of the Louvre” English tour in the early afternoon, wandered around a little ourselves, and then joined an our official tour. This was a great system for us because it allowed us to see the museum’s favorites without wandering too much like we had done at the British Museum.

First things first: coffee and sandwiches at the Louvre snack shop

Elizabeth playing “Got Your Nose” with a sphinx

Greek Antiquities Gallery

Aphrodite (Venus de Milo) straight ahead

Sleeping Hermaphroditus with the mattress sculpted by Bernini

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Medieval Louvre Palace walls from appx 1202 unearthed/restored appx 1989

Crazy scene at the Mona Lisa: If you’re going in close, you have to commit to the struggle

Mike is pretty tall, so he had the best chance of seeing her up close

Of course, Julia is pretty small, so she could weasle her way up front, too

Liberty Leading the People, Delacroix, commemorating the July Revolution of 1830

The little boy in the painting was Victor Hugo’s inspiration for Gavroche

The Coronation of Napoleon, completed in 1807 by Jacques-Louis David

The Virgin of the Rocks, Leonardo da Vinci

End of our Louvre tour: the bottom of the pyramid

Leaving the Louvre, we took a path through the Place du Carrousel and into the Tuileries gardens. Along the way, we stopped to just relax and people watch. The whole area was being prepared for the July 14th military parades, so we walked around a lot of barricades and places already off-limits to pedestrians. It was still a nice walk, though.

Security everywhere along the path

Finding the perfect chair to people watch and relax for a while

We stopped for what I had planned on being a short break at the Musee de l’Orangerie, a museum dedicated to impressionist paintings. Eight of Monet’s water lillies murals are on display here.

They’re being so patient indulging me in my water lillies

We eventually walked to the Arc de Triomphe, a deceptively large monument built to commemorate Napoleon’s victories. It had an observation deck, but we were totally worn out and decided it was meant for another day if we could squeeze it in.

Fountain on the way to the Arc

Taking the garden path because the main street is already blocked off and secure for the July 14th parade

Arc de Triomphe (as seen from the middle of the street when crossing to reach McDonalds)

A better and closer look

Walking back to our apartment, we paused while crossing the street and stumbled upon a space remembering Princess Diana. We were walking over the tunnel where her car crashed back in 1997. It is a nice tribute that people still leave remembrances here.

The walk along the river was a nice way to end the night.

Our neighborhood is far enough from the Eiffel that the walk along the river is quiet

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