I’m convinced that we can all learn something from one another. The French have wisely chosen to honor Sunday as a day of rest by keeping most businesses closed. While it may seem inconvenient for tourists, I for one did not mind at all. In fact, I celebrated it. The streets were empty with the exception of a few museums and restaurants thus families were home together. What a novel idea!
Pete and I enjoyed a “no rush” kind of day and found the change very much to our liking. (The slower pace was also quite beneficial for my aching back.) We decided to try the Musee d’Orsay, even though it was the first Sunday of the month and admission was free. Much to our surprise, our afternoon arrival worked well and we were admitted within 5 minutes! Let’s hear it for not following an agenda! My favorite Impressionists were Degas and Renoir and we were treated to a plethora of their great works. Of course Degas’ dancers have a soft spot in my heart and remind me of my girls. My mom loved Renoir’s Dance in the City painting so it was special to see the original. It was an enchanting afternoon filled with great art and sculpture. Some artists we loved and some we appreciated but didn’t have a particular fondness for like Van Gough; poor soul, he never did find any peace or happiness in his life.
A cafe lunch complete with glasses of rose wine from Provence followed and we contentedly sat for quite a while. Napoleon’s Tomb was our next stop and it did not disappoint in terms of magnificence and scale. I’m not sure how I feel about this one time Revolutionary general turned royal Emperor. Ego led to his demise, but he did know how to celebrate himself for all eternity. The gold-domed church is amazing and the coffin is the biggest I’ve ever seen. (There are actually six coffins inside the one on display.)
I’m still not sure how Napoleon’s body got from his exiled spot on the island of St. Helena, after his defeat at Waterloo, to this magnificent cathedral but I hope to find out before we head home on Friday.
We are off to Normandy tomorrow and will be praying for all of you especially our soldiers – those who have given their life for our great country and those serving now. We especially remember Pete’s brothers Steve and Kurt and our nephew Calvin. All are serving(ed) bravely in the Army and Marines and we thank them for their heroic service. As we approach Independence Day in America, let’s all make a point to thank our military men and women for their courage and bravery. Without them, we would not live in freedom. As US Citizens, we have much for which to be grateful.