Tuesday, my class at Paris VII was canceled for la semaine du lecture. I asked a girl in my class why they had a random week off in the middle of February, and her response was “Vive la France!”
So, instead of getting lost in cité université this week, I decided to go on an adventure to the Louvre, La Comédie Française and Île de la Cité. For some obscure reason I still hadn’t been to the Louvre and finally had a free day to go.
Adding to my adventure, I decided to take the bus instead of the metro. The metro has kind of put me in auto-pilot navigating the city(since it requires little to no effort) and I was beginning to feel like a Parisian groundhog. I’d been under most of the city, but had no idea what was above it.
I left my apartment, shortly after realizing I left my keys and phone inside. Thus the beginning of a true adventure. At least I remembered my Navigo, otherwise I would have been doomed. I went to the bus stop right outside my apartment building, lingering for a few minutes before realizing that bus would take me in the opposite direction. As much fun as a day trip to the banlieues sounds, I decided to find the right bus stop, which happened to be just outside the other entrance to my building. At this point, I was ready to just hop on the next bus that came along because I was so eager to see everything…luckily it was the one I wanted.
After about 30 seconds on the bus, I realized I live down the street from the opera. I mean, I knew it was close but I didn’t realize how close it is. Literally, I could walk down my street, stay on my street, and get there in probably 20 minutes. Pretty cool.
Once I reached the Louvre bus stop, I walked around the building to get to the entrance. I walked, and walked, and walked…and finally saw the notorious I.M. Pei pyramids indicating I found my destination. They may be pretty at night, but during the day they are not exactly breathtaking.
As I reached the entrance, I saw a big mob of people, which I thought was the line to get in. Nope. Right behind that big mob of people taking pictures “holding the pyramids” was a sign that said Le Louvre est fermé. What the heck. I ventured all the way down there just to find out the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.
In recounting this story to several friends, they told me I probably should have done some research online before I left. But wouldn’t that take the adventure part out of it?
So, I decided to go to Musée d’Orsay instead, just down the street. I accidentally walked into a big government building (naturally, I was following people who looked like they would go to a museum. Someday this method of finding places will end poorly) and the security guard asked where I was going. I told him I didn’t know (it was true!) and he looked at me like I was crazy, then pointed me to the museum. Once I got there, it looked as though everyone had the same idea I had, because lines were everywhere. I was not in the mood to join a mob and decided to keep looking for a destination.
Outside the museum, I walked down a few streets and contemplated just sitting at a café for an afternoon, but then decided against it. I began walking along the Seine when a woman stopped in front of me, picked up a ring, then after I had already passed her asked (in English) if it was mine. First of all, how would I possibly drop something IN FRONT of me and not notice? Second, do I really look like someone who who carry around what looks like a men’s gold wedding band? No. So I kept walking, ignoring the very common gypsy scam, crossing a bridge over to the Tuileries.
That was when I saw the Mussée de l’Orangerie and decided to make that my next stop. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a place to cross the street for about a mile, so I walked and walked and walked again. Along the Quai des Tuileries, another woman stopped in front of me, holding up a gold ring asking if it was mine. Either I’m missing these gold filled streets, or the tourist scamming gypsies have no originality (I’m inclined to go with the latter on this one, I usually spot shiny things pretty easily). I completely ignored her this time, making her look thouroughly angry. Good.
I finally was able to cross the street and then had to double back around through le Jardin des Tuileries (which always makes me think of this), passing the boat-filled pond to reach the museum. And you want to know what I saw there? I’ll show you.
Who decides to close the museums on Tuesdays and why did I not know this?!
At this point, I was tired of walking up and down the cobblestone streets in my not-meant-for-heavy-walking H&M flats. Naturally, I decided to take the bus home instead of the metro I know well, just because I wanted to stay above ground. I walked for about half an hour looking for a bus stop and thankfully my roommates were home when I got back to let me in. Alas, my museum adventures must be saved for another day…just preferably not a Tuesday.