2013: Paris

Last Day in Paris

May 2


It was our last day in Paris, and our final big target was Musée d'Orsay, the second-largest Museum in the city. We arrived early, before opening, but the entry queues were already swarming around the front, winding back and forth inside a forest of post-and-rope stanchions for crowd control. I wondered if this was a normal day, or a bit of pent-up demand from the previous holiday.

While we waited, I posed with the signature rhino sculpture outside.

I had believed the rules set out on the museum's website, which stated that cameras were not allowed. Of course, after we entered the museum, we saw other people snapping away. Here's a shot I found online showing the main hall. The building is an old train station that was magnificently renovated in 1986.

Even though the mob outside had looked daunting, inside there was plenty of room to wander and browse. It was also easy to navigate, unlike the overcrowded and confusing Louvre. The layout is a large rectangle, with smaller display rooms set on the sides of the main hall on three floors, so it's no problem to keep track of where you've already been and where you're going.

The Orsay contains the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art in the world. I enjoyed it very much, and would have stayed a big longer but for my fading energy level.

Since we were spending our last day in Paris, after leaving the Orsay we chose a final stroll along the Seine, taking a few more snaps along the way. Including, of course, those last photos of Notre Dame.

Boat on the Seine. Grand Palais. Assemblée Nationale, home of parliament. The Louvre.
Tourists. The grand old lady.  Yes, I was here! Heading home.

For our last dinner, we chose a somewhat fancier place in our neighborhood. The food was excellent and the service even better. Once again my halting French seemed to get an A for effort.

Over the week I had been looking for a Paris souvenir. I usually try to collect a stuffed animal from places we visit, but Paris really isn't a stuffed-animal kinda place. There were several boutiques along our neighborhood street, and we had window-shopped in them a few times. The only interesting thing I'd seen was a cute but rather expensive ceramic cat figure. I'd looked at it several times, but couldn't commit to spending the money. Finally, on our last day there, I decided I wanted to take it home. I returned to the shop, only to find it was gone! Je le cœur brisé!

I returned home to Mike where my distress made him confess: he'd bought the thing for me and was going to spring it on me at home. Je suis joyeuse!

There was one more story to tell before we left Paris behind. On our last evening in the apartment, it was my intention to do laundry. I'd specifically rented an apartment equipped with a washer and dryer, so that we could bring only half the needed clothes and wash them halfway through the trip. The machines, and even the products, were unfamiliar. I found these little cakes that appeared to be detergent, placed one of them in the washer's drawer, and ran a cycle that I couldn't identify from the symbols.

All seemed to be well until I started to remove the laundry, and discovered that the "cakes" were still intact in the drawer. Gee, maybe it was because I forgot to take them out of the plastic wrap! OK, no harm done; I'll just try again. Except that now, we were unable to get the machine started again. We made a phone call to Karen, our landlord, who made some suggestions, but no go: the washer was out of commission. Karen confided that she'd been having trouble with it and probably needed to get some repairs. Terrific timing, hon.

So all I could do was dry the rinsed-but-not-washed clothes and hope for the best. Oh, and have a lot more WINE!