Having been driven by my desire to do too much in one day, we decided to take a much more relaxed approach to our sight-seeing. And after our nearly 30,000 steps the first day, we quickly learned how to use the subway.
Just down the street from our apartment was the Nissim de Camondo Museum, an aristocratic residence from the 20th century. While certainly not the residence of a king, it showed how the very well off lived at that time. And there were no lines and no waiting.
The four-story building overlooking the Monceau Park was filled with paintings, tapestries, pieces of art and furniture.
The story of its owner was a sad one but as we would learn the next day, his generosity led to significant donations of his art to the French people, which would end up in another museum we would visit.
It was lunchtime when we left the Camondo, but rather than stopping at a sidewalk café, we made our way to another residence museum, Musee Jacquemart-Andre to eat in their café since it had been highly recommended. We had to wait in a small line even though it was almost 2 PM but were lucky to get a table on their porch. Fortunately it was covered as the rains returned.
My wife had told me that quiche is one of the main dishes we should have in Paris and so I took her suggestion and had a delicious salmon and spinach quiche…
…followed by a delicious pastry and Cappuccino.
After lunch, feeling quite satiated, we decided to skip the museum and run back by Notre Dame. Since we had figured out the subway system, it was a quick trip. But only to find long lines again.
While it would have been nice if we could have gotten in, our main purpose to return to this part of Paris was to visit the Left Bank and specifically to check out Shakespeare and Company, a bookstore institution situated in the Latin Quarter.
My wife had a great time browsing through the bookstore, one of her favorite activities, which was followed by another picnic in our apartment of delicious French baguette bread, meat, cheese, and French wine.
For our third and final day in Paris, we really debated what to see. We were torn between going to Versailles and the Louvre. Knowing that there would be long lines at both locations, we decided to take in the smaller and hopefully more manageable Museum Orsay. Having mastered the subway system, we set out for the day.
When we exited the subway and as we passed Tuileries Gardens, we realized that with clear skies (the first we had seen), that you could actually see that the Eiffel Tower was in fact quite distant. Had we had this clear visibility on our first day, we likely would not have tried walking from there.
Unfortunately, we found a relatively long line to get into the museum but after a relatively short 35 minutes, we were inside.
I found the interior of the museum very interesting since it was a converted train station…
…and was pleased to find a smaller version of another of Eiffel’s famous structures.
This museum boasts one of the largest collections of impressionistic artwork and I must say it was a bit overwhelming due to the shear volume. They also just happen to have a special VanGogh exhibit we enjoyed but not until after we had waited in another line to enter it. No photography was allowed in the galleries but you can check out the link to find more information on this worthwhile museum.
Following lunch in the museum café, we set off on our next excursion to Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur church, the highest point in Paris.
With a clear day, we knew we would get our best photos of the entire city of Paris. But first, we had to ride the Funicular not so much to avoid walking the steps up as just to enjoy the ride.
We arrived to find a large crowd but a great view.
And the lines were very short to enter the church so we were able to get inside (but again no photos allowed).
As we sat along the street enjoying a break from our day, we decided to have dinner in our own neighborhood since we had not done that yet.
Taking the subway back and feeling so confident at that point to even stop and assist an elderly woman who was obviously puzzling over the subway system, we trekked back to our adopted neighborhood.
As we made our way through our park for the last time, we decided to stop and capture one more memory.
That night we ate at a brasserie recommended by the apartment owner and my wife really had the best dish.
Being our last night in Paris, we reflected on our too short visit. We bemoaned the poor weather we had had on the first couple of days and how many lines we had encountered. We talked about the fact that we had not dined in any fancy restaurants but yet we had enjoyed very beautiful and delicious dishes. But the main thing we realized was that we would have to come back for another sampling of Paris. So even though it took me 35 years to get my wife to Paris for the first time, she so fit into Paris that I knew we would have to make a second, longer visit in the near future.