Saturday, December 5, 2015

Left behind at the Louvre: Part one

Paris was the last stop on our European trip in 2011. We got there by way of Rome, Florence, Munich and Antwerp. We did all our travelling by train so we saw a lot as we made our way from city to city.

We arrived in Paris early Saturday and spent the weekend seeing lots of Parisian sights and eating good food. We reserved Monday for the Louvre and were leaving for home on Tuesday.

We got to the Louvre quite early — for us. (When we're on a trip, Dan would like to get our days underway by 7:00 a.m. William and I are a little harder to get moving in the morning. I'd like to think we've compromised but I doubt if Dan is really happy with our start-times. If there's something he really wants to see, he'll often take off early and then come back to get us. That works.)

But we got to the Louvre at a pretty decent hour and began our walk-around. The Louvre is, of course, huge. We knew we'd only be able to see a fraction of the art there and we tried to make some choices of both well-known and less-well-known exhibits. We saw both the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa. Well, you sort of have to, don't you? I'm glad we did. But we saw a lot more and really made the most of our limited time.

At a certain point, we decided to have some lunch. It was good — I had a curry-type dish and a salad. As we were leaving the restaurant, a wave of weakness and light-headedness and just general awful-feelingness swept over me. I thought I was going to collapse. We were just off the lobby and there were chairs and tables — all occupied — but I found some kind of uncomfortable little ledge to sit on. I sent Dan and William off to see more stuff and said I'd be fine; they should check on me in a while.

I didn't get any better. I felt worse and worse. Fortunately, a table became vacant and I was able to get off the little ledge and sit in a proper chair. I wanted to lay my head on the table but I didn't want to attract attention to myself. I put my sunglasses on so I wouldn't have to make eye contact with anyone.

When Dan and William came back, I told them I had to go back to the hotel and they're so nice and I was so sick, they didn't just put me into a taxi. They came with me, all the way and tucked me into bed. I insisted I could manage from there and they should return to the Louvre. Which they did. They saw a lot more and took lots of photos. I looked at them when we got home but it wasn't the same.

By evening, I was well enough to go out to a nice restaurant and have a bit of soup. And then we packed because we were leaving in the morning, Tuesday.

When you buy something at the Louvre shops, you give it to the sales person, pay her/him, and get your receipt. On your way out, you go to a different counter, produce your receipt and you're given your purchases. As Dan was packing that evening, he realized he was missing something. He had some of his purchases but he soon figured out that some had been left behind.

He looked quickly to see what time the Museum opened in the morning, assuming there'd be time to make a dash there and pick up the packages before we headed to the airport. And what did he find? Tuesday is the only day of the week the Louvre and all its shops are closed.

He checked with the desk at our hotel, got a few phone numbers where someone might know what to do — the Louvre is publicly-owned and it's directly administered by a government department. Its employees are, in effect, civil servants. We pretty much knew though, at this point, that we were going to Canada without some of our purchases. It wouldn't have been a huge problem except we weren't talking about a few souvenirs. There was some very nice jewellery in those packages. All paid for and receipted.

There were lovely earrings that were inspired by a Berthe Morisot painting.

The painting and the earrings together

The painting a bit closer-up

The earrings a bit closer-up

I'll come back tomorrow to tell you more about what was in the packages and whether they ever found their way to Canada.

The follow-up is right here.

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