The trees in the Jardin des Tuileries are finally starting to show some green and some hope that warmer days may be ahead before we leave Paris. This was a little playtime for Catherine since as soon as she spotted the carrousel her eyes lit up with excitement. Then we spent a very relaxing morning under the spell of Monet's Nymphéas at the Musée de l'Orangerie. We also enjoyed their wonderful collection of works from Pierre-August Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau and others. The only art I did not particularly appreciate were the paintings of bloody carcasses by Russian artist Chaïm Sontine.
We walked down Rue de Rivoli and past Place Vendôme with its beautiful column that was started by Napoleon and modeled after Rome's Trajan Column to celebrate the victory of Austerlitz. The very expensive Hôtel Ritz and other expensive boutiques like Cartier line the square.
The Duc d'Albret Brasserie was our lunch destination as we had heard that they had wonderful inexpensive croque madames. We sat down at an extremely small table and they brought us two large chalkboards with entrées and their prix fixe menu. Luckily Anne made me ask if they served croque madames. They took away the chalkboards and handed us a wrinkled menu in plastic on which must be their locals menu. So we had delicious croque madames, a little different take on them than their American versions, but wonderful and very inexpensive. Our waitress became quite enamored of Catherine and engaged her in a little French conversation and also offered her two cookies, langues de chat, which Catherine loved.
We shopped our way to L'Église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine which was designed as a temple to the glory of Napoleon's army and with its huge columns it barely resembles a church. The inside also featured some very modern artwork that Anne thought resembled figures from outer space.
And no trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Louvre. Well, at least not without a visit to the Louvre Bookstore.