Saturday 22 October 2016


For a special birthday celebration, Younger Daughter and I went to Paris this last week. Paris for the day was mad, exhausting and wonderful. Rather to my surprise, I ended up less tired than my daughter despite being over four decades older!

We caught an early Eurostar from Kings Cross St Pancras to Paris.

The highlight of our trip was the Musée d'Orsay. This is a former railway station which was converted into an amazing gallery after its platforms became too short for modern trains. It is full of the most amazing and famous paintings. Many of these were paintings that we had read about and seen as prints. 
The building itself reminded us of the clocks in Hugo Cabret which is set in another Paris railway station.

We were able to see right behind the clocks.

Seeing so many van Gogh paintings with the heavy brushstrokes and thick paint was amazing as well as seeing Degas' Little Dancer. We had read Lawrence Anholt's book about the Little Dancer but weren't prepared for how small this sculpture is in real life.

Next, we went on a boat trip and saw Notre Dame. I hadn't planned this as an educational trip but it turned into one. There was the Notre Dame with the Rose Window, gargoyles and flying buttresses that we had learned about in the Veritas Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation course last year.

We got off at the Louvre but didn't go in. We just wanted to see the pyramid.

Hot chocolate!

At this point, I was beginning to feel a bit guilty as my daughter was tired and we had several hours to go before our return trip. We pushed on, walking the Paris streets to the Opera and the shops.

Then a final trip up to Sacre Coeur.

After another sit in a cafe then we walked up although not quite to the top.
Paris in the dusk and rain.

I was grateful to my husband and Middle Son who held the fort at home so that we could go.


  • a ten hour day in Paris is exhausting for a ten year old, and their parent!
  • despite the exhaustion, we are both glad that we went.
  • seeing the real pictures is the high point of art appreciation. I was glad that we had spent time reading James Mayhew's Katie books and Lawrence Anholt's Little Dancer as well as looking at other prints. 
  • the Orsay made us hand in our backbags and just carry valuables. They gave me a thin plastic bag for my purse and passports but this gave up. It would have been easier to have taken a small bag of my own.
  • our local library had up to date (2016) guide books with maps. I had Paris maps downloaded on my phone but ended up using the map in one of the guidebooks.
  • revising French with Duolingo was worthwhile although most people speak English anyway. 

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  1. What a special day trip! I'm sure your daughter will remember it forever.

  2. What a great day out - and hopefully something that both you and your daughter will remember for a long time!

    1. Yes, we have been talking about the trip ever since. We looked at a van Gogh print today and talked about the textures that we could see on the actual picture. It was a lovely day.