Monday, May 11, 2009

The Louvre and Pax Lodge

Paris; Monday; The Louvre

We didn't have any specific plans for today although I was thinking of heading to Montmartre and Sacre Coure. That plan was scratched with one look outside- gray and drizzly and most likely cold. We decided to try for something indoors instead but museums were out because they are usually closed on Mondays. Since museums are about the only indoor things on our list, we double checked and found out The Louvre is open Mondays (closed Tuesdays) so that's where we decided to go. We raced out like a herd of turtles (thank you Lois for that analogy- it's far too accurate and The Eldest and I have been saying it repeatedly on this trip; cracks us up every time) and grabbed breakfast at a little shop on the way to the Metro, which we have all figured out thanks to our chance meeting last night with the couple from London. The Eldest once again navigated successfully to The Louvre. (She told me I have my sudoku puzzles that I enjoy solving; she has subway systems.) We didn't enter through the pyramid since the metro station is a part of an underground mall that's connected to the Louvre entrances. It's quite a set up down there! Food court, shops, Starbucks, you name it. We were directed to an office (set up in a shop-like space) where I purchased a 4 day museum pass for myself; The Eldest gets in free since she's under 26. The guy at the information desk said he thought I would qualify for the free admission too- what a flirt! Guess I can check “flirting with a Frenchman” off my “things to do in Paris” list. ;)

We finally got into the Louvre! Like everyone else, we went into the Denon wing first to catch the Mona Lisa. She is lovely; I'd been warned that she was small so she was actually a little bigger than I had envisioned. Prior to seeing her, though, we saw “Winged Victory” which is placed right at the top of a grand staircase; wowee wow wow, that's one impressive statue, even if it is headless. The third “must see” is the Venus de Milo and we went to where my Louvre guide book said she would be but she wasn't there after all. There was a temporary exhibit in that room so she's either rotated out for now, loaned out, undergoing maintenance, or moved somewhere else. Regardless, we didn't find her, but we spent a good bit of time looking at other statues from the same era. The Eldest even spent a little time sketching one of the busts, something on her Paris “to do” list. It was about this point when we got really hungry but the lines at the cafes inside the museum where a mile long. We wandered back out of the Louvre proper and into the mall area and finally discovered the food court. (I was determined NOT to eat at Starbucks!!) We ate at a Spanish tapas bar, so now we've eaten French croissants in London and Spanish tapas in France. Sheese. Halfway through the meal The Eldest started feeling sick, and then she got worse and worse, so instead of going back into the Louvre as planned we left. I was having a hard time of it anyway since the fibromyalgia was acting up. I would have pressed on (after all, how often do you get to go to the Louvre? I can give in another day) but with The Eldest also feeling ill we left. I would have liked to ask about the Venus and found another painting my dermatologist recommended for us to see, but we were just too wiped out to continue. Home again on the metro, and the end of our Louvre day.

Pax Lodge
I'm back tracking a bit here to write more about our accommodations in London. We stayed at Pax Lodge, a World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) world center. It was absolutely fantastic. The rooms were neat and clean (I think I've written about them already- they are kind of like dorm rooms) and the staff is so warm and friendly. Part of our Girl Scout Law states that we are to be a “Sister to Every Girl Scout” and they certainly made us feel like family. We even found ourselves referring to the Lodge as “home” while we were in London. I so wanted to hug all of the staff members when we left! I asked if we could get a picture with a couple of the girls before leaving and they went ahead and called as many staff members over as they could find. (I'll post the pictures after we get home.) There are a few paid staff members but many of the girls are there working on a volunteer basis. They are from all over the world and have five month shifts. The center pays for room and board and gives them a small allowance. The girls are encouraged to travel during their time off as well so it's a wonderful opportunity and something The Eldest may apply for when she's older. I am really going to encourage the girls in The Middle Child's Brownie troop to start working towards a trip to Pax Lodge when they are old enough; I can't wait to get back there myself!!

1 comment:

Kevin said...