Souvik and I had a long debate on whether to buy the Paris Museum Pass, and finally decided yes. Then we had to juggle our itinerary to include a few museums to make the pass worthwhile. Yes, we’ve got the Louvre in now, as well as the Musée D’Orsay, but agreed to start with the most manageable Musée de L’Orangerie.
The Musée de l’Orangerie is best known for the being the permanent home of Nymphéas, a series of large paintings of water lilies in two oval galleries designed by Monet himself. I believe we had our money’s worth, just seeing these water lilies on such a grand scale.
Next stop: across the Seine to Les Invalides, built in the 17th century by Louis XIV as a hospital for unwell soldiers. It is also the final resting place of Napoleon, and has some military museums too.
The structure itself is on a grand scale, but I can’t say much about France’s military history, and the section on the world wars seemed to focus far more on the army uniforms than anything else. Well, this is France, the fashion capital of the world, so I suppose that’s to be expected. The church is grand too, and so is the tomb, but we came away unimpressed. The ornate dome is inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and has a way of popping up in many of the panoramic photos.
We weren’t ready to tackle another museum today, so walked back to the right bank to Place de la Madeleine. A Greek-styled church built as a temple to the glory of Napoleon’s army, La Madeleine is now known for the gourmet and haute couture shops around. We had a bit of retail therapy, shopping for mustard at Maille and then macarons at Ladurée.
By now my feet were killing me, and we had a long trudge home. Also, the sun had come out after ages, so the crowds on the street had doubled. I was grumpy-groany all the way back, and relieved to flop on the sofa. After resting our tired feet, we decided on dinner at Chez Omar, recommended highly by Dan, just 5 minutes from home. We got there early, having heard reports of long waiting queues. The speciality of Chez Omar is couscous, the quantity sumptuous, and the taste divine. It was such a pleasure to eat hot food after ages! And the hot sauce accompaniment – off the charts!
Good food equals happiness, and heavy meal means that Souvik quickly falls asleep. I let him. Until 9.15pm. The sky was clear, a perfect night for photography from the top of Arc de Triomphe this time. Still not recovered from the day’s exertions, we took the train. Waved our museum pass at the entrance, but we had to climb those 284 steps again. And quickly. So there we were, me huffing, not permitted to use the tripod, taking long exposure shots at night. I will surely cringe when I see these on the laptop! But Champs Élysées looked so beautiful!
We were all shooed out of there at 10 minutes to 11, not even allowed to hang out until the hour when the Eiffel Tower would sparkle. Spoilsports! I caught sight of the moon rising, and went back for a very quick shot.
By now I’d used up all my energy reserves. Getting home, we decided that a midnight snack of La Fermiere yoghurt was the perfect way to end the day!