Here's a tip, ladies:
If you're ever in Paris, and find yourself at the end of a long day of sight-seeing--feeling rather frumpy, old, and worn out--and someone then asks for your photograph, please don't fret. Just be sure to station yourself near a kind soul, whose warm presence will instantly transform your negative self-image. Instead of loathing the resulting photo, you'll find you've become a fresh, delicate flower...and this will leave you filled to the brim with goodwill toward all mankind. It works every time. I promise.
Merci, jolie Madame en violet!
And we move on...
Day Two in Paris began in earnest after a healthy breakfast in the hotel dining room, during which time yours truly single-handedly ate four amazingly fresh and flaky croissants (with a generous helping of raspberry jam), one yummy chocolate-filled croissant, two bowls of fresh yogurt--topped with some sort of French granola mix with dried fruit, some fresh pineapple, and two glasses of sparkling water.
What? I'm a growing girl.
stuffing ourselves to the point of sickness having a light breakfast at the hotel buffet, we headed off to the Metro and our first stop of the day at Musee D'Orsay.
The museum itself is an old refurbished train station. Inside, there's an amazing amount of open space--and so much to see.
It's my favorite museum in Paris. I love the Impressionist paintings, which fill an entire wing of the museum. Everywhere you turn, you are astounded by the captivating art surrounding you. It's almost too much at times.
Being able to share it with the kids and Mr. Lush was wonderful.
Next, we headed to the Musee de l'Orangerie, where Claude Monet's Nympheas--a series of giant paintings of his water lilies--fill two large, circular rooms.
Once inside, Monet's paintings surround you in the most gorgeous colors--blues, pinks, violets and purples--and make you feel as though you're slowly floating across a pond in a wooden row boat--while the sky and clouds above reflect off the surface of the water and deepen the shadows beneath you.
At least, that's how I always feel.
There's also an nice exhibit of paintings from Cezanne, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, etc. It's well worth a visit.
One can only follow such beauty with a visit to the underground Catacombs in Paris, where six million Parisians were buried during the eighteenth and nineteenth century, as church graveyards were moved.
The sign entering the Catacombs reads, "Stop! This is the empire of the dead!"
It was a sobering experience, to say the least.
The caves--carefully stacked with deep rows and rows of bones--seem to stretch on forever. We walked for over thirty minutes before we reached the end.
As we exited the Catacombs, the guards insisted on checking Mr. Lush's backpack, looking for stolen bones. We gladly handed it over for inspection.
Thank goodness we had the common sense to make the kids carry the skulls under their sweatshirts.
Our next stop of the day was at the Musee Rodin, where we took the obligatory photos with Le Penseur--The Thinker. The kids initially resisted the chin in hand pose, but quickly acquiesced after witnessing threatening looks from their irritated mother.
We walked around the beautiful grounds of the museum, and sat on a bench in the sunshine for a while and rested. We were all tired. Trying to escape from catacombs full of scary skeletons will do that to you.
In the background of the photo above, you can see the dome to Napoleon's tomb at Les Invalides, which is where we headed next.
Before we go inside, let me show you how we entertain ourselves in this raucous family of mine. Yes. It's Miss Lush. She's standing on my hand. She's standing... on my hand. Hee! She's so impossibly tiny! But how? How did she get there...on my hand!?
Oh, Eurolush, you do make us laugh...
More importantly, let's go inside and have a look...
Why! It's Napoleon's's tiny hat! And child-sized jacket!
And very understated giant coffin!
And we move on.
Next, we headed to the Le Tour d'Eiffel--Yes, in fact, I do insist on using the French names for everything, thank you for asking:
Where we promptly changed our minds about trying to take the elevator to the top, once we saw the line of people waiting at the bottom. We decided to wait until the next morning to make our ascent. (You'll see tomorrow, it was well worth the wait.)
For dinner we headed to the Rue Cler neighborhood nearby, where we ate a nice meal at an outdoor cafe, and enjoyed watching the Parisians parade down the wide sidewalks in their finest. Both Mr. Lush and I felt very under dressed and quite ashamed of our jeans and sweaters that day. We vowed to make an attempt to dress better once we returned home. Paris will do that to you.
After dinner, we headed to L'Arc de Triomphe, where climbed more stairs and made it to the top for a spectacular nighttime view. Mr. Lush took this amazing photo--
which I grudgingly admitted was worth the climb.
Then we crawled home and passed out in our beds, absolutely exhausted.
And Day Two was over.