Day Two in Paris

Instead of going to the Louvre, which none of the kids cared to do, we got up Tuesday morning and instead went to a much smaller museum on the edge of the city in the 16th arrondissement – Musée Marmottan Monet. This museum boasts two upper floors of exhibits and a full permanent collection of Monet’s work on the bottom floor.

The original Mona Lisa is in the Louvre, but this one is a replica painted by a student of da Vinci’s.

Personal favorite below: Rachel dans Lady Macbeth by Charles Louis Müller.

Jackson and I goofed around in a modern art display.

Afterward, we took the Metro to the 5th Arrondissment, the Latin Quarter, which is home to the Sorbonne, Shakespeare and Company, and a little church we wanted to visit – Saint-Étienne-du-Mont. It was on the steps of this church where Gil would sit and wait for the time-traveling car to pick him up and take him back to the 1920s in Midnight in Paris.

Interestingly, the other couple sitting next to us were Americans and had the same idea.

Finally it was time to visit Shakespeare and Company, the one place I wanted to visit in Paris.

The upper floor is a reading room and makeshift museum for bibliophiles and fans of the Lost Generation writers to play make-believe, as if they are actually in the company of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

This note in particular made me tear up.

The main floor of the bookshop were shelves of fiction and nonfiction, primarily English copies. There was only one section of books in French, which actually surprised me. It was there where I looked for a French copy of Frankenstein, but they didn’t have one in stock. I opted instead for a copy of Mary Shelley’s short stories.

We finished our walking tour of Paris by crossing the Seine and visiting a few thrift shops so Emma could find a truly Parisian souvenir for her wardrobe.

Despite all the walking, I was still hoping to find a piece of local art and peruse the artists who set up shop along the river. However, fatigue set in for everyone, so I martyred myself and gave up hope. In hindsight, since I passed on the art in Montmartre, I wish I’d just pushed a little longer. This was my second regret. Next time, I suppose!

We did have one last stop before the night fully concluded: Chuck researched local bookstores in Vincennes, found one near the apartment, and took me there to get a copy of Frankenstein in French. That man has my heart!

The next morning, I was a ball of nerves since we all needed a negative Covid test to return to the United States. The pharmacy down the street was incredibly helpful and patient with us, and mercifully, we all returned a negative test. We checked out of our beautiful apartment and got on the road to Frankfurt.

To break up the five-hour-drive, we stopped at a mall in Luxembourg to walk around and get a bite to eat. It was the one and only time I went to Starbucks on our trip.

Driving through the French and German countryside was peaceful, clean, and easy, exactly the opposite of long-distance interstate drives in America. I was particularly pleased to see how Germans allow for wildlife crossing on the autobahns. I wish we could figure this out for the U.S.

We stayed in a hotel next to the Frankfurt airport, so by Thursday morning, all we had to do was get dressed, eat breakfast, and catch the shuttle to the terminal.

Behold, three teenagers who were all ready to go home:

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