This was taken at the top of the Centre Pompidou.

My flight from Vancouver to Paris was uneventful, so we'll sidestep what I consider horrible days. I genuinely hate the travel part of travel!

I arrived in Paris mid-day and was acutely aware that I had little time to enjoy the city. I have been to Paris a handful of times before but have never stayed for an extended time. What else I had never done in the city was visiting the Louvre or the Centre Pompadour. That's not true. On our last visit to Paris in 2022, we looked at the Louvre from the outside, and I needed a washroom. So we asked a security guard who was kind enough to allow us to go in. We could have stayed. However, we're much too honest rule followers to do that. So after visiting the toilette, we returned outside.

So, on this visit, I was determined to rectify that. First, I had to get to my hotel. I got a train ticket to Gare de Norde at the airport, the North Station, which is very easy. There is tourist info at the airport, and you can buy a train ticket from them for about thirteen euros.

Gare de Norde is one huge building!

Gare de Norde

I was planning to walk from there to Hotel Peyris Opera. I want to give e-Sims from Airalo a go. Each time I have used them, I have needed help connecting initially, which is not helpful when you are trying to use your phone for directions on arriving. I got completely turned around and eventually grabbed a taxi. I have now decided that on arriving in a new city, I will arrange for transport directly from the airport or, as in this case, from a train station closer to town. No more stress in getting to the hotel!

The hotel was a quaint small hotel, as was my room. There was an old-fashioned elevator, thankfully.


I have tried to minimize my luggage and still need to reduce more. It is too heavy. I need help lifting my carry-on on the plane, and my camera backpack needs to be lighter, too. I would not be happy to carry my luggage up or down four flights. (more gym time?) As noted, my room was small but included two small balconies. One is in the bedroom, and the other is in the bathroom, with a bathtub! If you know me, you know I am ecstatic when there is a bathtub! It is rare in Europe to get one, and although I always ask, I don't expect one. 

This year, there has been a lot of talk about bedbugs in Paris, probably because Paris is hosting the Olympics this summer. It made me nervous, so I stored my luggage on the tile floor in the bathroom.

Bedbug scare.

I headed to The Centre Pompidou or the Centre National d'art et de Culture Georges-Pompidou. I specifically selected the hotel for its location. Once you see the outside of the building, the image will stay with you. President Pompidou wanted an establishment in the centre of Paris to house modern and contemporary art and presentations, exhibits, and live performances. It opened in 1977.

The first thing I did was ride the outside escalator up to the top floor. There are spectacular views of the city from that vantage point.

The first exhibit I visited was Posy Simmonds, a Brit known in France for her pioneering graphic novels. She is a cartoonist and a writer/illustrator of children's and adult books. She was recently awarded the "Grand Prix at France's Angouleme International Comics Festival...the world's most prestigious prize for lifetime achievement in Comics." This exhibit included "a retrospective of Simmond's work, including unpublished drawings, sketches and sketchbooks - from her press illustrations to her graphic novels and children's books."

Posy Simmods' satirical cartoons.

As a person who loves photography, I was excited to see the corps á corps. The write-up of this exhibit says, "The exhibition goes beyond classic categories of study such as "the portrait," "the self-portrait," "the nude" or even so-called "humanist" photography. It reveals particularities, "photographic" ways of seeing and makes visible correspondences between artists.

We discover common obsessions between them in their way of approaching the subject, as well as in their stylistic approach. The images exhibited also raise questions about the responsibility of the photographer".

I was overloaded after viewing all of Posy's exhibits and this one. I found the photographs and stories of abortion particularly thought-provoking and depressing. 

 It was a very long day, so I decided to return to the hotel. I wandered and got lost again and I finally gave up and took a taxi. I grabbed a quick Vietnamese meal at Pho Bobun kitty-corner to the hotel and went to enjoy the tub.

The following morning, I grabbed a quick coffee and croissant and headed to the Louvre for my 22-euro ticket entrance at 9:30.

The building is massive, and I approached it from the wrong angle and was confused about where the entrance was.


Finally finding it, I went through security and thought about how to approach touring the Louvre. That required another coffee and croissant. This time, a pain de chocolate. I know, but it's Paris - where else will you get CROISSANTS!? 

Photo by Cristiano PintoCon Unsplash.Unsp

How to attack the Louvre - whoops, I shouldn't EVEN write that. What is the best approach to see as much as possible without getting burnt out? 

The Louvre is the world's largest museum, with a total area of 782,910 square feet. It's compared to 280 tennis courts. I love the building itself - or rather, all the different pieces that make up the Louvre. Parts of the building were originally constructed in the late 12th to 13th century - and remnants of the fortress can still be seen in the basement of the building. In the 15th century it became the primary residence for the French Kings as the Louvre Palace, and as of August 1793 it became a museum to "bring together monuments of all the sciences and arts". At that time it had 537 paintings. Currently "the Musée du Louvre contains approximately 500,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art in eight curatorial departments." Up to ten million people visit every year.

There is a very cool open-top elevator. "The hydraulic elevator, appearing to be a piece of artwork itself, is encircled by a winding staircase and carries up to 10 passengers between floors. A slide-out walkway allows passengers to enter and exit the unit and disappears when not in use." Unfortunately, it was only being used for handicapped people when I was there, so I couldn't try it out. Apparently, I am now learning, that there are 18 elevators in the Louvre - why didn't I notice them?

Hydraulic elevator

I decided to find three main items. You really can't go to the Louvre and not see the Mona Lisa. So that was on the list, even though it is now a selfie site. The other two were The Winged Victory of Samothrace and Venus de Milo. I succeeded in finding two out of three. I saw a whole lot of statues, paintings, jewelry, weapons, tapestries, stained glass, and beautiful ceilings. You always have to look up when you are travelling as there are the most amazing ceilings - everywhere. (not so much in North America).

It took me about 2 hours to locate the Mona Lisa. I finally got close enough that signs were directing me to her. Of course, there was a massive crowd around the painting, which was sectioned off. Security allowed some people, mostly kids, to go under the rope to have their picture taken slightly closer to the painting. As is always noted, the painting was much more petite than her reputation.

I located The Winged Victory of Samothrace.

It was time for lunch, and I had a quiche in the cafe on the upper floor. There is a balcony off it that was closed. It would have been nice if the day had not been overcast, and I could have sat outside. 

After last night's photographic show and the overwhelming number of things in the Louvre, I was overstimulated and decided to wander down the Seine. I came to where there were all these green booths selling posters, books and tourist items and was shot back to 1975, the first time I was in Paris. I have a very vivid memory of how the area around the Seine looked at that time. The booths look to be precisely the same ones!

I continued to walk down to the Norte-Dame, or the Cathedrale Norte-Dame de Paris. I have seen her several times. First, of course, in 1975, when I climbed to the top of the tower, and then in 2022, after the fire in 2019, when significant sections burned down. It is still under resurrection and not open to visitors.

I had a very early flight the next day, so I took a taxi back to the hotel, where I had left my luggage, and waited to see if it would stop raining. I had arranged to stay at the All Suites Hotel near the airport, so I grabbed an Uber there. I can't recommend this place at all. It had no soul; things were old, used, and plain, and the receptionist was a bit of a jerk. Hotels can still be plain; the reception you get often makes up for the decor. Not so here. I was happy it was for less than one night. And less than one night it was.

I got up at 3:30am to get the hotel shuttle at 5:00 am for an early flight to Tangier, Morocco. A few other people were in the lobby waiting when suddenly they were gone. So either I missed the shuttle, or it never came? I suspect the shuttle attended all the hotels in the area, so I think the Uber I called was faster and cheaper.

And from there, things went downhill. Did I say I hate travel days?

But more about that next time. 

Until next time..........

Gaye Tims

My name is Gaye and I am travel junkie in need of a fix. I have been torn between travel, creative arts and the law. Now I am giving into my creative side by including travel and lifestyle in my blog.
Vancouver, BC, Canada