The Unplanned Things

by Kim on November 22, 2013 · 50 comments

Europe by train: day 7. Paris, France.

We visited the Louvre today. We were so excited. We stood in line outside of the giant glass pyramid and paid our entrance fee. Then we stood in line again and paid for the audio tour headset. Then I stood in line for the bathroom. Then Brian stood in line at the coat check. And then, finally, we were ready to explore the museum. We figured it would take all day.

Three hours later we were done with the Louvre.

I suppose I’d forgotten that I am not a museum person. I mean, Natural History museums with dinosaur bones and dioramas of the solar system? I can totally do that. Italian paintings from the 13th and 14th centuries? I last about twenty minutes. I got a C- in Art History. Barely. I’m sure there are some of you that will be horrified to read this. So let me save you the trouble of writing a scathing comment by agreeing that the Louvre is a stunning, world-class museum. It’s wonderful. It’s just not for me.

On our walk to the Louvre we’d passed a closed market. On our walk back from the Louvre we found that the boarded up stalls had been transformed into a Christmas market and it was in full swing.

There was an ice-skating rink and a life-sized statue of Santa. There were vendor stalls selling warm food and jewelry and stockings and snow globes. Christmas carols were spilling from the loud speakers. I am a Christmas fanatic so I bopped around like a kid who’d had one too many candy canes. It was holiday heaven.

We were freezing so we bought scarves. And then we bought mulled wine to warm our hands and bellies. We walked arm in arm, telling childhood Christmas stories and daydreaming about the Christmases in our future.

In each country we visit we buy one souvenir. Today we bought our keepsake from France. It’s a Christmas ornament with a tiny hand-painted Eiffel Tower. I hope that each year in the future as we decorate our tree we will see it and think of today. I hope one of us will say to the other, remember when we ditched the Louvre and stumbled upon that beautiful Christmas market? And for a moment we will be back here, in Paris, walking hand-in-hand in an icy-cold chill down a street awash in twinkling lights.

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