Today we’re talking artwork, macarons, and rain!
We started our day at the Louvre. As usual, we arrived around the time they opened, so the line was pretty short. We used the pyramid entrance, but I’ve heard that you should use another entrance if you show up later. Apparently the lines are a lot shorter at the other entrances.
After buying our tickets we decide to see the Mona Lisa first, hoping to beat the crowds. A million stairs and winding hallways later (ok, that might be a slight exaggeration), we found it! Apparently everyone else had the same idea because there was a pretty big crowd already there, but we eventually made our way close enough for a quick look and picture. Surprisingly, the painting is pretty small (31 in x 21 in).
From there we made our way to one of the most famous ancient Greek sculptures - Venus de Milo.
Our last stop in the Louvre was the Egyptian Antiquities wing. I’ve always been fascinated with Egyptian history, so I loved seeing all of the sphinxes, sarcophagi, and statues.
By then we were sick of the Louvre. This is probably going to make me sound like an uncultured brat, but I didn’t like the Louvre. Yes, the building is beautiful and the artwork is amazing, but it’s also hot and really crowded. OK, and can we all agree that you don’t need to take multiple pictures of yourself in front of EVERYTHING?! Seriously, take a picture and move on!
Anyway, after the Louvre we walked through the Jardin des Tuileries. After sweating in the crowded Louvre, sitting in Tuileries Garden felt like heaven. There are plenty of chairs around, so we took some time to cool off and enjoy the beautiful garden. This is one of my favorite pictures!
At the edge of the Tuileries Garden is the Musée de l’Orangerie – home to Monet’s famous Water Lilies. Did you know that Water Lilies isn’t just one painting? It’s an entire series of paintings and the Musée de l’Orangerie is home to eight water lily murals by Monet. The paintings are displayed in two oval rooms. The museum doesn’t allow photography, so I pulled this picture from the internet. It is pretty amazing in person.
Also at the edge of the Tuileries Garden is Place de la Concorde. Once known as Place de la Revolution, it was the site of the guillotine used for executions (ex. Marie Antoinette) during the French Revolution. Now it’s a peaceful public square and home to the 3300 year old Luxor Obelisk, originally located at the entrance of the Luxor Temple in Egypt.
By then we were hungry for lunch so we stopped at a café for a Caesar salad –best Caesar salad I’ve ever had! For dessert we bought a couple macarons at Pierre Hermé. A must while in Paris!
We took the metro to see the beautiful Paris Opera building and ate our macarons on the steps. Enjoying a beautiful Paris day whilst eating chocolate macarons on the steps of the Opera…it doesn’t get much better than that!
From there we walked to the Galleries Lafayette to do some shopping. Unfortunately, most of the items were out of the price range and we only left with a few small gifts to take home to friends.
We hopped back on the metro towards the Arc de Triomphe. Unfortunately, it started to pour rain so this is as close as we got. I had to take this picture while holding an umbrella, trying to block the crazy sideways rain. We were only outside of the station for a few minutes, but still got soaked. It sucks that we didn’t get to see the Arc closer or climb to the top, but this is the only thing we missed because of rain during our entire trip, so I can’t complain too much.
That night we headed to the Eiffel Tower to see the light show. We arrived just before dark, so the lights were already on. The Eiffel Tower is amazing during the day, but is absolutely gorgeous at all lit up at night. It’s a must-see while in Paris, plus the light show is spectacular…especially if you stop to remember where you are and truly appreciate the moment.
Next Week: Versailles