*lyrics from “Bonjour, Paris!” – Funny Face (One of my favorite movies)
I’m going to try to consolidate my 300+ pictures (many of which are “bad” according to my brother) into this one post. We did another round of marathon sight-seeing in Paris and two days was definitely NOT enough time to see and do everything I wanted to do.
First – if I had to do this all over again, I would have done more research! I would have created a plan. Going with the flow only works if you have more than 2 days… otherwise you waste time wandering around trying to find the open bus tour stops and dealing with a husband with frozen feet.
Second – my fear about Parisiens being rude to Americans? So NOT true. Or perhaps we just lucked out? Everyone was SO nice to us even though I completely blanked everytime someone spoke French to me. I would always open with “Bonjour” and could even order 2 coffees (deux cafes… ha!) but everyone knew immediately that we were American and would just start speaking English to us. And they were so nice. Everywhere. I loved it.
So now onto things we did. Well, I mentioned previously that we walked to the Arc de Triomphe. Because of that, I really wanted to go to the Louvre the next day. I didn’t know (apparently I’m an idiot) that the Louvre is one of the LARGEST museums in the world! You need an entire day or two just to go through the whole thing. We didn’t have that kind of time.
Because the Arc de Triomphe was so much closer to our hotel than we thought it was, we figured we could walk to the Louvre. It wasn’t that bad of a walk but when you factor in freezing temps, a long walk and then MORE walking and standing around inside a museum – it kind of blows.
We walked through the Tuileries Gardens and I imagine that it is probably gorgeous in the springtime.
A note about the Louvre. We got to the Louvre around 10am. There was a line wrapped around for what appeared to be MILES. It was insane! We found the end of the line and one of the employees said that there was a 4 1/2 hour WAIT TIME. But then he also said there was another entrance into the museum. Hmm…
Jeremy had read something online about a small newspaper stand that sold tickets to the Louvre. We walked around the outside of the museum and didn’t see a single newspaper stand. After being told of the 4 1/2 hour long wait, I decided that it wasn’t worth it (since we were so pressed for time).
A few people started to walk away and we noticed a few quickly duck into the mall that is attached to the museum (Carrousel du Louvre). I really needed to pee and it wasn’t very clear where the bathrooms were located. And wouldn’t you know – we stumbled upon the small newspaper store IN THE MALL. Jeremy noticed some folks buying tickets to the museum so we bought our tickets through them.
… and there is an entrance into the museum from the mall! Our 4 1/2 hour predicted wait time? It took us less than 20 minutes to get into the museum. Score!
The underground entrance into the Louvre:
Because of the enormous amount of things to see in the Louvre, I had to prioritize. I decided that I was okay with just seeing the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo:
(The Mona Lisa is quite popular)
We stayed primarily in this wing of the museum and quickly walked through each section. We were only in there for about 2 hours but we were EXHAUSTED. We saw lots of religious art, egyptian art and greek statues. I liked this guy. Despite being naked, he’s totally hanging out like, “hey – what’s up?”
The Louvre was crazy crowded too:
We ended up grabbing lunch at the food court in the Carrousel du Louvre because it was convenient. But holy hell – it was crowded in there too.
After the Louvre, we walked around for awhile. We saw the open bus tours driving around but couldn’t figure out where they stopped. We were getting tired so the idea of sitting on a bus and checking out sites seemed like a magical idea to us. But alas, when we finally DID find a stop (in front of the Musee d’Orsey) – we found out that they did NOT accept credit cards.
And we also didn’t go into the Musee d’Orsey because the line out front was insane! (This is the side of the museum)
It was also New Year’s Eve / Jeremy’s birthday. With the holiday and the limited amount of daylight, we knew we had to start heading back to the hotel.
We picked up a bottle of champagne and stopped into a patisserie to pick up a small dessert (to celebrate Jeremy’s birthday!). I didn’t take a picture of either.
We also stopped by a restaurant around the corner from our hotel because we saw that they had vegetarian pizzas. Yes, we were in France but we ate pizza. And? It was f’n fantastic! And our waitress was so sweet. She recommended a fantastic wine to go with our vegetarian pizza. I didn’t take pictures of us at dinner because I was trying to play it cool and not look SUPER touristy.
One thing I noticed in Paris was how slow the service was. I didn’t necessarily find this to be a bad thing. It appears most people took TIME to enjoy their meals and restaurants appreciate that (versus having your check thrown at you if you sit at your table longer than 30 minutes in America!).
Okay – crap, there is so much more to write. I’ll save the NYE Eiffel Tower stuff for another post. My Paris adventure to be continued…