March 17, 2002
Sunday morning le petit dejeuner of cheese omelets and cafe creme at a local bar was followed by idle roaming through the nearby open-air farmer's market at Place Monge. The fruits and vegetables were all so healthy, aromatic, and pleasantly displayed -- a far cry from the ghetto grocery stores we were used to. We decided to see what eye-candy the Parisian museums had to offer and so navigated our way down, through, and up the metro to the Musee d'Orsay where we stood in a long line for 45 minutes before we were finally allowed inside. Once a train station and a hotel and set along the banks of the Seine, the museum itself alone is worthy of some oohs and ahhs. I admired the wide glass awnings at the entrance, and the enormous clock at the end of one of the wings, and the lofty ceilings and long walls adorned with carvings of stone roses, before I even laid eyes on any of the art.
We began our self-guided tour with the upper level to view the impressionists Monet, Manet, Rodin, and crew. After a quick lunch at the museum's cafe, we continued our self-imposed art-appreciation day by going through each of the exhibits until we finally deemed ourselves saturated with paintings, sculptures, objets d'art. Oh, how I envied Van Gogh's lazy models napping in "The Siesta".
With a family as large as ours, we were bound to have a relative or two expecting a visit; this trip was no exception. We had a cousin in Lyon who was anticipating our arrival the next day and so we headed towards the main train station to book our seats. Although we are well-seasoned travelers, Gare de Lyon stumped us and we could not figure out how to get train tickets, when the trains departed and arrived, or where the metro ended and the RER began. After much hand-wringing, back-tracking, and broken French, we finally managed to secure our tickets.
We continued our confused, convoluted cavorting through Paris by attempting to find a flea-market on the outskirts of town. We arrived at what we thought was the Marche aux Puces de Montreuil in the 20th arrondissement, but upon seeing the nearly desolate sidewalks lined only with second-hand sneakers and cheap, dingy t-shirts, we quickly turned around and returned to the more familiar and comfortable Left Bank. We spent the evening braving the wind atop the Eiffel Tower and had a spectacular view of the glittering city at night. The cold started to seep into our bones and so dinner consisted of hot French fries, savory French onion soup, and fresh French crepes filled with Nutella. When in France . . .