On August 9th we arrived in Paris where we stayed two nights with my friend Anssi Karttunen, a brilliant modern and baroque cellist who will play a concert with ARTEK next January. Paris! I hadn't been to Paris (passing through on the train does NOT count) since I was...23? Long time. I had forgotten what a beautiful city it is. There was a fun "beach festival" along the banks of the Seine; Samantha was tempted to stay there and lounge in the beach chairs all afternoon. However, we went on, and visited Notre Dame, then walked all around the Left Bank, and had a lovely French meal. The next day - note, this is a keyboard-free day! - we went to the Louvre, following Anssi's direction to enter through the "back" door, and bypass most of the long lines at the pyramid. So much art (and SO MANY tourists, far too many with cameras. Almost got pushed down the steps at the Winged Victory).
We only did Flemish and Italian art - that alone was almost too much for one day, and we treated ourselves to a fabulous French gourmet meal in the upscale cafe in the lower level. After the Louvre, we visited Sainte Chapelle (here, we had to stand in line about 60 minutes, including 15 irritating minutes at the actual ticket desk where clueless American tourists couldn't seem to figure out purchasing admission...) and saw the amazing stained glass windows, worth the wait. A great end to a great trip with my wonderful daughter, whose knowledge of art history amazes me, and who made beautiful watercolors and drawings for each host that we stayed with. Here's her watercolor of statuary at Notre Dame.
The next day we took the Eurostar again to London, made our way to Heathrow, and - after a 5 hour delay for our plane - discovered that so many passengers had managed to transfer to another flight that we each had an entire row to sleep in - oh joy! - made it home to JFK and our apartment, where husband, sister, boyfriends, and friends awaited us.