Monday, May 6
Monday morning, we had a bit of coffee at home and then found a sweet little sidewalk café for breakfast. The server was energetic and friendly and even moved us to a new table under the awning when it began to rain. We enjoyed espresso and orange juice and basket of freshly-baked croissants and baguettes with jam. Delightful!
While we ate, we saw a nice two-toned Triumph motorcycle go by and the driver spotted Jim in his Harley-Davidson shirt. There was a funny little moment of very localized international diplomacy as they nodded and smiled at each other before the biker went on his way.
We paid another visit to the grocery store and walked back to the apartment. We were feeling the effects of jet lag so rather than push ourselves, we decided on naps and showers.
We needed to get our Museum Passes and I wanted to see the medieval Unicorn Tapestries so we set off for the Cluny Museum. Or at least we thought we did. Jim had a very rare moment of being directionally-challenged (I mean really rare, like I’ve never seen it happen before) and we ended up going in the completely opposite direction and getting soaked in the rain.
Our immediate goal became “find Kate an umbrella”. We stumbled across a little indoor shopping mall (which I think are uncommon outside the US) but couldn’t find what I needed. We found a shoe shop down the road and got a small one for €10.
We got reoriented and finally found the Cluny. Unfortunately, the tapestries were in Tokyo while their display area was being remodeled. I was disappointed but we needed to get our passes anyway and they included admission to the Cluny so we walked around for a couple of hours. Officially titled Le Musée National du Moyen Age (The National Museum of the Middle Ages), the museum is housed in the Hotel de Cluny, a 15th century mansion:
The building itself was as interesting as the stained glass and medieval relics inside:
Including even the drainpipes:
And a vaulted ceiling resembling a fractal:
We picked up lunch to take back to the apartment and enjoyed another nap before heading back out. Most bakeries seemed to be closed by then but we did find one tiny shop with a nice woman who helped up count out the right amount in coins. We stopped at Carrefour, another larger grocery store to buy a few more items. (I made a mental note to go back to get some food souvenirs.) We had an embarrassing moment at the register when I realized I’d forgotten to weigh the produce. In Parisian grocery stores, the clerks don’t have scales at their registers like in the US. The customer weighs the produce in the on a little scale in the produce section that prints out a label with the price. I’d read about that on Trip Advisor before we left but had forgotten. Of course, there was a huge line where moments before there was no one! So Pro Traveller Tip – remember to weigh your produce in France! (I don’t think I’ll be forgetting that one again.)
We made it home and ate supper. So much for my vegan diet. The cheeses here are every bit as good as you’ve heard!
We rested our feet and then walked out to visit the grounds of the Louvre and the Tuileries, the beautiful gardens near the Louvre. The cool stone walls warmed right up in the evening light:
Like the Cluny, the outside of the Louvre is as lovely as the art inside:
The Tuileries are the gardens behind the Louvre. The tulips were blooming:
Some of the trees were flowering, too. There was an interesting juxtaposition between a effusively blooming tree and a statue that displayed complete anguish – with Parisians chatting casually nearby appearing oblivious to either one.
I did feel like the country cousin walking around staring at all the amazing architecture and history. I found myself a little aggravated at the residents who seemed to take no notice. But I suppose anyone living in an environment like that would have to get used to it sooner or later. You couldn’t just live there and be amazed at everything all the time – you’d never get anything done!