When les Verts go marching in.
 
Making it to Paris in time for les Verts’s visit was arguably the biggest concern we had in terms of the timing of our move here.  Many months before we landed on this distant shore, Nez’s dad had asked whether we were 99% sure we were moving to Paris or 100% sure.  Only if the answer were the latter would he proceed with les Verts’s travel plans.  Being eternally optimistic and a bit bombastic, we did not hesitate to respond, “100%.”  We arrived in Paris with our suitcases a mere 12 days ahead of Nez’s sister and her family.
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(Photo - Les Verts)
 
 To a place where history is kept.
 
 
 

12 May 2008On the heel of a packed day.  This morning, there was an unspoken pact between all of us to sleep in a little bit longer.  Sometime before noon, we took the métro over to les Verts’s pad on rue des Grands Augustins.  The children might or might not have been ready by the time we arrived but that was not a problem.  No one here was constrained by any kind of schedule.

We grabbed sandwiches for lunch from the neighborhood restaurants, the regular ham and cheese kind for the children and döner kebab for the adults.  The Language Chameleon picked up some aspirin at the pharmacy and discovered that they were about the size of a U.S. quarter.  In this land of small portions, pills somehow are peculiarly supersized.  Because our dictionary was at home and because we had not started our French lessons yet, we could not translate the word effervescent (French for effervescent) on the label.  It is believed that he took the French aspirin as is instead of dissolving it in liquid as instructed.

 

Paris makes a photographer out of everyone, as Berryana was about to
find out in front of the
Saint-Michel Fountain.
 

Kingskid won out on the choice of the day’s attraction; all things French military awaited at Les Invalides.  

 
 

Choosing between war and the arts.  When it came to deciding on today’s attraction, we considered either the Louvre or Les Invalides.  An incomparable, world-class collection of art awaited in the former, which piqued Eurogrl’s interest; knights, swords, and all the other war things stood in perfect formation at the latter and aroused excitement in Kingskid.  Because Eurogrl was the kind of big sister that everyone wanted and because the Louvre was probably overly crowded at that time of day, we took the RER to Louis XIV’s old home for his disabled soldiers and made, at least, Kingskid’s day.

We traced our way under the canopies of the rows of trees lining the big esplanade leading to the Hôtel des Invalides from the river.  We stayed out of this massive open space on account of the punishing midday sun.  There was still no relief from the heat. Inside, our first visit was to the Musée de l’Armée, or to the young American boy in our party, le paradis.  The first room we entered was guarded by a regal knight in armor mounted on a towering horse.  Behind him, in the long dark recess of the hall were one suit of armor after another and rows upon rows of weapons of all kinds.  In another room, more armors and weapons; in still another room, more of the same.  It was that kind of place.  Eurogrl’s eyes seemed to say:  “Don’t look at me.  I voted for the Louvre today.”  Riot lent Kingskid his camera and the young knight errant went wild with it.  More than anything, the motion-blurred photos testified to the momentary excitement these aged, inanimate objects gave to a child of seven.

 
 
  The famous pink stroller (may it rest in peace somewhere in Germany) came in handy whenever the objectives were far off.
  “Mission Accomplished”:  The fortification and defense of Les Invalides proved no match for the little Americans.  (Photo - Les Verts)
 

All of those rooms only took us to roughly the end of the Middle Ages, there was still much more to be seen.  But by then, even the shine in Kingskid’s eyes had dulled a bit and everyone else (save for Riot, who could spend days here and planned to) was ready to move on to something else.  That something else was the Tombeau de Napoléon.  In the Église du Dôme, where the temperature dropped a good ten degrees, we viewed the stone-cold monuments to the former Emperor of the French and a host of its other military leaders.  A tired Berryana was carried like an empress on her pink stroller down the steps into the crypt where the earthly remains of Napoléon rested inside successive stone sarcophagi, surrounded by panels depicting his accomplishments.  It was a grandiose tribute to a giant of history who conjured a million small man/large tomb remarks.

 
 
 
  When Kingskid gets around to learning about knights at school, he will be way ahead of the curve.
  Some members of our party probably wondered:  “After these, are we done with knights for the rest of the trip?”
 

A short evening.  We did finish out the visit with a by-now obligatory trip to the gift shop.  By then, Riot had to excuse himself to head home to respond to some urgent request from work.  The rest of the crew retired to the apartment by the quai.  When reunited, we made a short evening of walking along the boulevard Saint-Germain looking for dinner and not finding much.  (Unfortunately, Nez and Riot were still a month away from moving to this terrific area and discovering all of what it had to offer.)  After the long day yesterday, we all decided to call it an early night to recuperate for tomorrow.






























Even a knight needs some rest at the end
of the day, whatever the color of the stroller
and on whatever stretch of Parisian sidewalk.  


 
 
 
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Go!
 
Holla
 
 
 
 

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