France Day 39: Tuileries Garden, The Louvre, and Le Tour Eiffel
This was the day the baby in my womb got its nickname. It was past midnight, and I was carrying Bittykins, sitting on what was becoming a decent-sized little bump in my belly. We were approaching the escalator to what must have been one of the very last Metro trains of the night. Even for Paris, it was too late for children to be out. I cupped her sweet little head full of blonde curls in my head and sniffed it, and I pressed my cheek to her forehead. "Oh, Bittykins," I said. "You may be the only little girl I ever have! I may only ever have little boys after you." To which she quickly replied, "No, Mommy! You got little girl right dere!" She points to my belly. "And her name is Winky Winky!"
We've been calling him or her Winky Winky ever since.
All day was full of sweet little moment like this, though I was getting so tired we spent much of the day in the apartment. It was so hot and I was so tired from all the going and exertion recently, and just the night before we had hired a babysitter named Sophie and gone out on a date to the Moulin Rouge! So we more than made up for it in the afternoon and evening. We'd eaten brunch and cooked and ate again before venturing out. Sleep, food, music, talking, lounging around...these are also what vacation is made of.
First, the Tuileries Garden. They had goats there, naturally mowing the grass in some of the gardens. They hung out in the ditches for shade and water during the day; there were little bridges for them to go under and clean food and water. They've got the right idea here, we thought. Forget loud lawnmowers! We sat for awhile around the famous fountain and for some reason, there were planks of wood floating in it. I don't know why, but the children really enjoyed watching them float around. I could have edited the photos so the water was perfect, but to me, the memory of their fascination is where the happiness lies in the images.
Second, we wandered over to the Louvre pyramids, where, magically, somehow, for sunset, we were the only people there. I had a dream of 15-20 minutes to shoot sunset through the pyramid while our children played.
Finally, we made our way over to the Eiffel Tower, what Butterscotch had been looking forward to for many months. To see it (somewhat) up close and personal. We didn't get close enough to go up in it (lines are very long) or touch it (many crowds, late night), but we certainly got close enough to find the many vendors of much-wished-for snow cones and slushies. For me, it was a dream come true. While we were walking, somewhere around Musee D'Orsay, I said, "Wow, I REALLY wish I had a slushie right now." And lo and behold, we found them as soon as we arrived. Candy abounded, and a beautiful carousel spun around in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, which glittered with lights every 15 minutes for its nighttime show.
The lights reflected in the Seine below, where we sat and ate our ice dreams, which felt so good after the hot walk. The night sky was a refreshing cover, the sun finally setting, now well past 9:00. They call Paris "The City of Lights" and for me, it isn't just for the dazzling lights display or the city itself. Paris is light from within -- its people, its history, its satisfaction in having found all the best parts of life and living them each day with joy, determination, and acceptance. Paris is music, art, God, love, food, wine, dancing, victory, tenderness...at once natural beauty, aging history, and the wellspring of modernity itself. It is almost incomprehensible, and you can find there nearly anything you're looking for, especially the best of what you already have.