|We planned a somewhat
different day for Friday - only one museum! We took the Metro to the Etoile
and used the underground passage to cross over to the Arc de Triomphe. The
statues and stone work of the arch and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier make
an impressive tableau. After climbing to the top (the elevators are only
for the disabled these days), we had great views of Paris despite the haze.
Once we recovered from walking down all the stairs from the top, we strolled down the shaded sidewalk of the Champs-Élysées. The street is lined with fancy shops and restaurants - as well as a McDonald's sidewalk café. We opted not to demonstrate that we knew that a Quarter Pounder is called a 'Royale' in France, choosing instead to have a late lunch under the sidewalk marquee of a salon de thé. Restaurants in Paris never hurry you, so we enjoyed a leisurely meal and played 'spot-the-tourist' with the passing crowds of pedestrians.
After lunch we walked to the Jacquemart-André Museum. The museum is in the mansion of the couple who donated it and their art collection to France. The mansion was an interesting illustration of the extremes of wealth that private individuals amassed in the mid-to-late 19th century - Jaquemart hired the architect who had lost the commission to design the Paris Opera and gave him a free hand to show that he, and not the other guy, should have gotten the nod. Jaquemart and his wife bought Venetian art with a budget that exceeded that of the entire government of France, and acquired an amazing collection. Unfortunately, photography was prohibited.