Our best technique for keeping everyone happy while travelling is letting everyone give input on our activities. Our second day in Paris we let the boys choose. Thomas wanted to go to a World War II battle field but since there are none in Paris, we went to the next best thing: The Museum of the Army. It is located in Les Invalides, which was built as a veteran’s hospital by Louis XIV.
The boys only saw a small part of the museum (I was at the Orsay, taking in the splendor of impressionist art at the time) and they’ve already told us they want to go back. They first checked out the armor – lots and lots of armor.
I’m told this is a manicure set. I’m not sure what that has to do with the army, but I guess everyone needs to trim their fingernails now and again.
Jeremy did not take many pictures. I was very
paranoid nervous that the camera battery was going to die since we used up the first battery on Saturday. I told him not to go crazy with photography – we still had plans to go to the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe – and Andrew took me very seriously. Every time Jeremy saw something cool he’d say, “Let’s take a picture of that!” and Andrew would say, “NO!” (P.S. The battery did survive the duration of the trip but lesson learned – next time I’ll bring the charger!)
Les Invalides also houses Napoleon’s tomb and the tombs of his family members.
After a quick snack and a visit to the bookstore, we walked along the Seine to the Tour des Egouts. We took a self-guided tour of the “guts” of Paris as Jeremy called it. It wasn’t Rick Steves who alerted me to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – it was the original Trivial Pursuit game. It was a Geography question (the blue pie piece) that asked, “What city’s sewer tour is highlighted in the Michelin travel guide?” I may have gotten that question wrong 20 years ago but I won’t miss it again!
We did not see any live critters, thankfully, just these stuffed ones.
Of course like all European museums there were mannequins.
I hate to spoil it for all of you who will be touring the sewer in the future but here’s what you’ll experience: Lots of different devices used for cleaning out the sewers, a history of the sewers, and yes, a bad odor. I was thankful to have a cherry chapstick in hand that I used to save my olefactory system.
After this tour I was certainly more thankful to all of those who keep this system running. Can you imagine the mess if they didn’t? The recognition and appreciation they receive is minimal, unlesss you’re this guy and your bust is on display where you did your life’s work. I did tell my children that if they want job security they should consider this for future employment.
In closing, be sure your camera battery is charged, don’t forget your chapstick, and don’t take your sewer system for granted.