Claire finally saw the Mona Lisa, and Elisabeth was thwarted by “new” technology
Updated: Sep 10
Today was going to be busy since we ended up getting admission tickets to more places than planned due to the fact that those popular museums (I’m looking at you the Louvre) were full on other days. So today’s ambitious agenda was 1pm Sainte Chapelle, 3pm Conciergerie, and 4:30pm Louvre.
We decided to walk to the Sainte Chapelle and see Notre Dame on the way, and also stop to eat on the Île St. Louis. We found a lovely Boulangerie called “Aux Petits Cakes” and had the “formule” lunch which is a baguette sandwich, a drink, and a dessert for about 8 Euros. Most of the bakeries in Paris have these special lunch menus, and they are such a deal! Claire and Louise both had a classic ham/cheese/butter baguette sandwich, a soda or water, and Louise finished with a strawberry tarte, and Claire with a chocolate eclair (it was eaten quickly so the picture is of a lemon tart). So delicious. We sat on the end of the Île de la Cite in a little park and ate while fending off plump Parisian pigeons. Very nice.
We then proceeded to the Sainte Chapelle, Elisabeth's favorite church. It is in the middle of the Palais de Justice (the Paris Court), and it is very old. Since Notre Dame is closed because of the fire (it is being rebuilt with a target date to reopen of the Paris Olympics in 2024), there were even more people visiting the Sainte Chapelle, and it was relatively crowded.
And the second floor:
The stained glass is spectacular, and even the tiles are pretty:
After that, we were early for the Conciergerie, and some of us were beginning to regret our shoe choices. Jet lag comes for us all, eventually. And it was warm. We asked the Conciergerie if we could come in early and they said yes. It was blessedly cool since the walls are extremely thick. It is an imposing building and would have been an intimidating prison. Poor Marie Antoinette!
It was about 2pm and we were heading for the Louvre. It was very crowded. We considered ice cream but lines were long and we ended up sitting in a park watching a couple do yoga with a Spanish speaking instructor and a group of young fit people practice cheerleading acrobatics. We then walked around the underground mall and got in a little earlier than our passes allowed. It seems these timed entries are not so strictly enforced.
It was crowded, but we followed signs to the highlights and Claire finally got to see the Mona Lisa, or the Joconde as it’s known in France. Elisabeth had warned the rest of the family that it is a little disappointing, and they agreed.
Venus de Milo
Victory of Samothrace
La Grande Odalisque
Claire was generally shocked at the number of naked statues, and we all got a little overwhelmed. The Louvre is very large and full of people and you could stay there a week and still only scratch the surface of the art on display (just kidding, don’t scratch the surface, they frown on that).
When we got to the Metro, we thought we had a good plan and knew what tickets we wanted but the lack of human beings available to sell tickets and the slowness and obtuseness of the ticket machine made Elisabeth say bad words in at least two languages and she held up the line for a good 5 minutes. Sorry fellow tourists!