So, here is the end of my report of our recent week in Paris. I posted about the earlier bits last weekend.
Wednesday we were up early for our half-day visit to the Louvre. I think the secret about the Carrousel entrance is out as there was a long line to get through security and of course, the Museum Pass did not help bypass that. It moved fairly quickly, however and then we were through. I had mapped out our plan of attack in advance. Denon wing first to see Greek/Roman art, then a quickie view of Mona Lisa and the Coronation of Napoleon, switching to the Richelieu wing to see the apartments of Napoleon III, lunch, then downstairs to the Medieval Louvre. Denon wing was madness. I stood at the back of the room watching for pickpockets and let my 10 year old wiggle to the front of the crowd surrounding the ML to get a good view. Took us forever to get to the Apartments, got lost several times, but the good thing was that we saw many unexpected delights in our wanderings. Much of the time, the richness and beauty of the rooms themselves equalled the beauty of the art on the walls. Saw two lovely Botticelli frescoes, which made me happy since I missed out on Botticelli last summer in Florence.
The Apartments were very grand, and my son was excited to see them after visiting the Napoleon III exhibits at Invalides. The galleries away from the Denon wing were much quieter and less crowded, way more pleasant to tour. We then headed back to the central lobby for lunch, where I discovered that I had forgotten the lunch I had packed in the fridge at our apartment! Had to buy two overpriced sandwiches at the self service cafe there, along with a very tasty bag of roast chicken and thyme flavored crisps. Wish we had those at home! After lunch, we headed to the Medieval Louvre. Very interesting to see the remains of the old towers under the museum. There were very few people here. Good exhibit as well on items that have been dug up in this area during excavations. Most fascinating of all was the Salle Louis, which is hidden behind the excavated objects exhibit. It was very dark, with dim lighting here and there, a row of what looked like cells at the back and pillars with grotesque figures, including an amazing happy- looking pig's face. Best of all, there was no one else in this wonderful room for the whole 20 minutes we were there.
Back out into the light and our half day at the Louvre is over. Stopped on the way out at the gift shop exclusively for children, which is a great place, and the kid bought two new Horrible Histories books. At the metro stop, witnessed the scam of the "helpful" person offering to assist with tickets. Rode the metro to St. Cloud and lined up for our tour of the Parc des Princes. It was about 45 minutes and included the trophy room, VIP area, stands, VIP lounge (I was imagining Posh Spice here lounging after a game!) , Interview Area and locker room. Little guy was wearing his PSG shirt and was in 7th heaven, I took his photo next to the new trophy for the Ligue 1 win. Lots of soccer fans on this tour.
Afterward, we spent an hour in the playground across the street running off some steam. Little guy was all wound up after the stadium tour and hoping to encounter a pick up soccer game, but it was not to be. Headed back to the apartment, stopped at Franprix for dinner and relaxed.
Next day, it was raining deplorably. It was supposed to be Mommy's Day to Go Shopping Alone and in Peace while Spouse Takes Kid to the D'Orsay, but of course it was not to be. Spouse was called unexpectedly back to work and it was the kid and I again today. I dragged him shopping with me in the morning. Went to the Gare St. lazare because I wanted to buy some Kiko cosmetics and then to a few shops near there. Grabbed an early, cheap lunch at Pomme de Pain, which was not great, but we wanted hot sandwiches because it was so cold out! Next on my list was the free haute couture exhibit at the Hotel de Ville. There was no line to get in and this was the highlight of my day. Surprisingly, the kid enjoyed it as well. Such beautiful dresses. My favorite was a 1920s dress with beautiful hand beading, like a peacock. Passed a wonderful couple hours here. It was pouring even harder when we left and we were cold and wet, with a broken umbrella, so we headed home.
Warmed up with some coffee at home and then the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful evening. Spouse was finally done with work and we all decided to go to dinner. Took the metro to Dupleix and grabbed the last outdoor table at Au Dernier Metro, which had a busy,convivial atmosphere, the kind of place where people from all walks of life stop for a drink after work. The French menu came with a lissoot specials so, we ordered some items off that. A very good meal for a reasonable price. I loved the handwritten sign on the window that said (in French) , "Please do not yell or sing loudly outside out of respect for the neighbors", so it must indeed be a very popular place, especially as the night wears on!
Returned to our apartment and gave my spouse my Museum Pass to bring our son to the top of the Arc de Triomphe while I walked around. Felt bad for spouse as he has been working this entire week and did not really get to see the city at all! I popped into Publicis Drugstre just to check out it's overpriced so-called trendiness. They sold Pierre Herme macarons, but not being hungry at the moment, I was not interested. Went back to the apartment and finished up packing. Off to Juan les Pins the next day for 5 days of relaxation. It was a wonderful week exploring Paris with my little boy and I'm sure I will treasure these memories long after he is grown!