Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Spring came to Paris today with blue skies and warm sunshine. A friend and I decided to take in the new Turner exhibit at the Grand Palais. The Grand Palais, like all the national museums, is closed on Tuesdays, but for the Turner exhibit, it's open from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Not too many people know this yet so when we got there at noon, the museum was practically empty. Two hours was almost enough time to see everything and we stayed until the guards chased us out.

A short walk across the street took us to the Petit Palais, which is a free city museum. City museums, in contrast to national museums,  are open on Tuesdays and the Petit Palais is a great place to have lunch. The food is good, pretty reasonable and there's a wonderful outdoor eating area with a great view. We found a table in the sun and pretty soon it was warm enough to take off our coats. We lingered over coffee, talking until the sun sank behind the building.

Not wanting to take the metro on such a beautiful day, we decided to walk home. It's a spectacular walk - down the  Champs Elysées (which looked particularly festive since it's adorned with Russian and French flags for the state visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev) across the Place de la Concorde, through the Gardens of the Tuileries and on to the courtyard of the Louvre with its famous glass pyramid.

As we approached the Louvre, we noticed barricades, official-looking limousines and lots of policemen. The Louvre, being a national museum, is closed on Tuesdays, but when the Presidents of France and Russia come calling, the doors are always open. The crowd standing behind the barricades was surprisingly small so we joined them. The next thing we knew we were face to face with French President  Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni. We may not be on the same side of the political fence - Nicolas and I - but still it's not every day that one meets a president up close and personal. Speaking of up close and personal, there's been some sniping in French gossip magazines that Carla, the former supermodel, is not looking so good lately.  Let me be the first to tell you that it's not true - she looks great.

A few minutes later, Medvedev and his wife arrived in a big black limousine. They were officially greeted and the whole group walked into the Louvre to inaugurate the new exhibit Sainte Russie. We were not invited, but before he left, Nicolas gave us one final wave. We waved back,  turned and  walked on home. 

To see more photos, click here.

                                                                               A bientôt,

 Photos by Geraldine Calisti Kaylor


  1. How fun that you got to see them! That was serendipitous! You got some great shots of them, too. Boy, Sarkozy has quite the profile, I'll give him that! Sounds like a perfect day.

  2. Wow!!!!!
    Very cool. That's what happens when you're a flaneuse.

  3. Nice chance encounter- I had one not so intimate with W. but close enough for me to send a little bird to him.....
    And I love the 'horns' in your parting photo at the cafe.


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