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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Dempsey is a Golden Retriever puppy who is in training to become a Helping Paws service dog for an individual with a physical disability. He lives with his parents Doreen and Paul, and Bailey the cat. None has ever trained a puppy before. These are their adventures. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the blog author. The contents of this blog have not been reviewed or approved by Helping Paws, Inc.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Sightseeing in Paris

The first Sunday of every month, museums in France are gratuit – free! As those who know me will attest, there is something about that word that I just love and I love it even more in French. So, Paul and I met a friend at the Louvre early Sunday morning in anticipation – or dread – of the usual long line. Strangely, there was none. As we later learned, the underground line access from the Metro is significantly shorter than the one outside. In exchange for the much more grand entrance, we stayed warm and were in the museum within minutes.

The first obligatory stop was a visit to Mona Lisa. I had never seen it before and expected something much larger. When I pointed out to Paul I thought she looked like a man, he mentioned the theory it may actually have been a self-portrait. I checked it out and sure enough, there is some evidence to suggest that may be so. Maybe Salvador Dali was on to something?

The Louvre, like many museums, has an abundance of paintings depicting the crucifixion. Room after room after room…the sheer number reminded me of Monty Python: line on the left, one cross each. Spoiled the somber mood a bit.

When we saw the sun was out, we decided to take advantage and headed to Sainte-Chapelle to see the stained glass – also gratuit! The windows are spectacular and unexpected as the chapel is rather small and so close to Notre Dame, it goes largely unnoticed. The chapel was built by Louis IX in 1248 to house the Crown of Thorns and a fragment of the Cross among other holy relics gathered by the King.

From there, we crossed the bridge over the Seine to Pizza Milano for an Italian dinner with our French friend. To conclude our international day, we saw Finding Neverland, a movie about a Scottish author, living in England writing about another far off land. Paul and I now have officially seen more movies in our less than three months in France than in our three plus years together.

Since the Louvre is so big – over half-a-million square feet total - we returned Wednesday evening, when it is open till 9:45. Sadly, not gratuit, but réduit (reduced) -- another word I like! This time, we had the chance to see the old and the new. The new is the glass pyramid set outside and designed by IM Pei in the 1980s; the old is the medieval moat in the basement, which wasn't discovered until the 1870s. Je préfère le vieux; Paul aime le vieux et le nouveau. As an Asian realtor once told me when Paul and I were looking at houses, all Asians like modern. So much for political correctness.