Posted by: Marco | August 14, 2010

Lucky Friday the 13th

After battling unblievable crowds at Versailles, we vowed to play the game better. So on Friday morning, we got up early, hopped on the Metro and headed for the Louvre. Armed with prepaid Paris Museum Passes, we were able to access the reserved entrance called Passage Richelieu. We were the 2nd people there!! After a pleasant 30 minute wait for opening time, we rushed in to the Louvre, got a map and rushed off to La Jaconde (AKA Mona Lisa). We found her. Only about five others were in the room admiring her. We got front row seats for several long minutes….and the then hordes of less savvy museum goers arrived!! We made a beeline for Venus de Milo and again found her alone in her room. We chatted a bit, and left. Then we took our time wondering the immense and stunning interior of the Louvre. What a place! In our opinion, this Palace is far nicer than Versailles. A surprize discovery was the relatively new exhibition of the Medieval Louvre, the excavated underpinnings of the medieval castle that predates the modern Louvre. We strolled through the northern European paintings to find Rembrandt and Vermeer, a family favourite. We had listened to an audiobook called “Chasing Vermeer” and really wanted to see the painting that played a prominent role. We found it!

After sneaking a gorp snack inside the Louvre among medieval tapestries, we headed for the Napoleon apartments. These are very Versailles-like but more impressive because the salon and dining rooms are fully furnished. UNBELIEVABLE. Check out the photos.

After a quick picnic lunch on the edge of the fountains  by the Pyramids, we headed for the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Musée de la Mode (the French fashion museum). Owen suffered through it, and Anique found it fascinatingly weird.

We then walked the Champs Élysées, fortified by fantastic sorbets, all the way to the Arc de Triomphe, with a quick stop at Gucci. Shannon felt a very out of place. Owen and I didn’t bother going in.

Our Paris Museum Pass allowed us to jump the queue to get up the Arc de Triomphe. What splendid views from the top!!

After a leisurely stay at the top, we spiralled our way down and took the metro to downtown. We walked over to the Île de la Cité to find a long lineup to Notre Dame. Once inside, we shuffled along with the other tourists and checked out the interior of this impressive cathedral. We had hoped to go up the tower (free with our pass) but we just missed the last admission time.

We decide to walk back to our apartment from there (40 minutes or so) but needed a snack to fuel our journey. A chocolate croissant and an apple were just the ticket.  We walked back via Île St Louis. As we crossed the bridge to the north side of the river, we saw a BMX track on the bank of the Seine. Kids were BMXing for FREE! Kids had to be 8-16 years old and taller than 130cm. Owen is 7 and measures 129cm. The young lady looked at Owen and said:”Tu es trop petit, mais puisqu’il n’y a personne là…” So they both rode the bikes like pros.

And so ended a very lucky Friday the 13th. Check out the PHOTOS.



  1. WOW! You guys don’t dissappoint! You don’t waste any time. You’re doing and seeing everything! I love the pictures. They do way better than my imagination.
    That is so fun that you looked up Vermeer. I got Ruby that book, “Chasing Vermeer” off the free shelf in the library entrance and she has read it twice. I’ll have to tell her about your entry!

  2. Denis-Guillaume really likes the BMX photos and Napoleon’s “chair” . I like the “other marathoner”!

  3. Thanks one and all for looking after Coco so well. My class will be thrilled when they see him and his new friends enjoying the sights in Europe. As you’ve noticed, he is a little shy but he’ll come around in no time. Enjoying the entries and the pictures. Wow…keep it coming.

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