I was in Paris all last week. It's spring, but the weather was still pretty cool. Being a lover of impressionist art, my first day was spent at the Musee d'Orsay.
As you can see from the banner, there was a special Van Gogh exhibition. When I entered the museum, my favorite impressionist artist was Monet; when I left, it was Renoir. I guess I'd just never seen so many Renoirs in one place to develop an appreciation of his work. Here are two of my favorites.
After spending several delightful hours at this museum, I walked along the Seine and took about 20 pictures of the Eiffel Tower from afar. Here's my favorite shot from that collection which includes two of the beautiful pillars of Pont Alexandre III. You might also notice the dark gray clouds. This is what Paris looked like most of the week I was there. But, I was pretty lucky, because it didn't rain as much as was predicted.
Okay, maybe I have two favorites.
On the way to finding the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées, I passed by this statue of Winston Churchill marching in front of one of Paris' palaces.
The Petit Palais is a beautiful building that houses one of the many art museums in the city.
A little farther along the way, I ran into Mr. DeGaulle, also marching.
I finally found the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées and tried to imagine Parisians lining the streets to welcome the American soldiers marching into the city decades ago.
With all the traffic, it was impossible to get a really good shot of the Arc de Triomphe from where I was, and by this time I was just too tired to walk any closer.
That evening, I enjoyed a delightful dinner hosted by my friends Caroline and Nathalie (who I met in New Zealand) and Nathalie's mother Isabelle. They kindly included my friends from Brisbane, Paul and Diana, who just happened to be in Paris at the same time. It was delightful to spend an evening dining on delicious food and wine at the home of a Parisian, so much more enjoyable than eating at a restaurant, and I could kick myself for not bringing a camera!
The next morning, I put myself trustfully into the hands and scissors of a French hairdresser who spoke very little English. He called a friend of his who was fluent in English and explained through his friend what he planned to do with my hair. Here's the result. Tres chic, eh?
Then I spent the rest of the day at the Louvres. Oh my, that is such a huge place. My friends here in Paris advised me to decide in advance what I wanted to see and then focus on just a few areas. Of course I went to see the Mona Lisa, but you couldn't get near it because there were so many people. I also saw several other da Vinci's, a lot of French artists' work, and some fantastic sculpture. I didn't take any photographs inside the museum, because it was just too crowded, and the museum's website has a great records of much of their collection. As you probably know, the Louvres was once the royal palace and I could barely get it all in a photograph from across the river!
The following day, my Parsian friends took me to Versailles....oh my! We had lunch before our tour and Caroline and Nathalie had the French version of a hot dog, which is served in a split baguette with ketchup and bernaise sauce.
You get an idea of how huge this palace is at the entrance courtyard.
I took oodles of photographs, but will share only a few here. The camera just can't do justice to this palace and its grandeur, plus there are all those pesky tourists who make it almost impossible to get a clean shot of anything! I got just a few without tourist heads.
This is the famous Hall of Mirrors, when the cost of mirrors was dearer than gold. The models in the first shot are the lovely Caroline, Isabelle, and Nathalie.
In the chambers of the queen, where she laid her royal head in her royal bed.
We walked through the extensive gardens to see a couple of petite palaces that were also on the grounds.
Here's one of them and probably my best photo of the day.
There were many fountains in the gardens. This was my favorite.
That evening, I enjoyed another dinner at Nathalie's apartment and met her brother Èdouard and his partner Jean-Louis. This time I got a picture...from the left, Jean-Louis, Èduoard, Isabelle, Nathalie, and Caroline. Maybe this is my best photo of the day.
After dinner, us four girls took a drive to see Paris by night. This is the beautiful Operà House.
The famous Moulin Rouge.
The Bascilica de Sacré-Cœur, where a crowd of people was sitting on the steps singing along with piped music from the 1970's.
And who knew that on the hour after dark, the Eiffel Tower goes twinkly?
I went to the Rodin Museum the next day, but my iPad hadn't recharged and was pretty much dead, so I have no photos. While I was there, my back went into spasms, so I left before I finished the museum tour. I'll have to go back to this museum.
I feel I haven't done justice to this glorious city that I loved at first sight. I'm so happy that I'll be returning to Paris at the end of June. Maybe I'll buy those pink gloves.