(L) Arc de Triomphe
(R) A Renoir painting in the Musee d'Orsay
Jardin du Luxembourg
Day two began with a walk west through the Latin Quarter toward the Jardin du Luxembourg. On the way I had a few moments of quiet in St. Etienne Dumont Catholic Church. My walk continued past the Pantheon, then through the campus of the Sorbonne. The Jardin du Luxemborg was filled with French people enjoying a gorgeous autumn morning. The flowers were abundant, fragrant and beautiful. Another walk north toward the Seine, then west took me to the Musee d'Orsay, where room after room was filled with the Impressionist and Post Impressionist paintings and sculpture so well known and recognizable in the world today. I remembered playing the board game Masterpiece as a child, and having seen some of these paintings on that game's playing cards. In addition, I unexpectedly came upon the original of a painting of which my Great Grandmother Lektorich kept a small print hanging in her farm house in South Haven, Michigan. It was a shock to see the real thing and be flooded with the memories of studying that print while visiting. Never did I think of ever seeing the original. This evening a friend and I visited the Arc de Triomphe, climbing more stairs than I could count to gain a spectacular 360 degree view of Paris at night. The Arc is much bigger than I imagined. From the top, we also had a view of the Eiffel Tower lit in the night sky. We ended the evening with a walk along the Champs-Elysees, which I compare to Fifth Avenue in New York City or the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, except with the late night activity that I've only experienced in Europe. I feel strangely at home here, and even have people asking me for directions, thinking that I am French. Tre bien!