Paris is a very famous city, for many reasons. I will admit: The first 8-12 hours that I spent in this place, I did not necessarily get the hype. This was mostly due to a frenetic travel day complete with a near-miss Airbnb connection and a growing sense of the gap in my French language skills.
Yes, I took 2 years of French in high school, which moderately assisted me with signs [my fondness for maps was probably more helpful] and discerning which words were likely directed towards me and my friend.
Certain things did come back, however. Such as, my remembrance of certain pieces of French history and culture.
Basically, I was a slightly-more-educated-than-some-but-certainly-not-as-educated-as-most tourist. With a massive camera and bright teal blue Chucks.
Armed with a full-day metro pass and a scribbled-on map of the city, Emily and I set out, determined to embrace the City of Love with our own hearts open.
First stop: Sacre Coeur. This Catholic basilica was built in 1914 and was constructed as both a political and religious monument to celebrate the gracious heart of Christ. I can get down with that.
What a breathtaking cathedral, with a ton of stairs and a gorgeous panoramic view of the city. It sits at the highest point in the city of Paris.
Next stop: Arc de Triomphe. This is a monument built to honor those who gave their lives in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, their names are inscribed on the inside.
It was quite a madhouse of vehicles in the traffic circle around it. Consider what it might look like if Frogger was translated into real life. We ran for our lives when crossing the street, and the cars did not slow down for pedestrians. To be fair, if they did, no vehicle would ever get anywhere in the city.
We wandered down the famous Champs Elysees and marveled at the incredible expensive wares, none of which we could afford.
Here are a few shots of the picturesque landscape along our journey.
Then, we enjoyed the Grand Palais prior to adventuring into the Musee D’Orsay.
This is museum of modern art, housed in an old railway station built in the late 1800’s. It holds French art from approximately 200 years ago, and nothing after the 1940s. It is the largest art museum in Europe. I wandered around for hours, feeling like my IQ was raising simply by being under the same roof as the works of Monet, Manet, Renoir and Van Gogh.
I have included a few of my favorites below.
[La parc a moutons, clair du lune; Jean-Francois Millet 1872]
[Vision de Saint Genevieve; Alfonse Osbert 1892]
[Herculanum, 23 aout, an 79; Hector Leroux 1881]
[Le Desert; Gustave Guillaumet 1867]
This one haunted me. I stood and stared at it, unable to look away. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was incredibly intricate colors and textures.
[Soleil couchant a lvry; Armand Guillaumin 1873]
[Clair de lune sur la port de Boulogne; Edouard Manet 1969]
[La Nuit etoilee; Vincent Van Gogh 1888]
This was another one that completely captivated me. I mean, it’s one of the most famous artworks in the world for a reason. The colors and the way it makes you feel cannot be captured in a photo or by words on a blog. There was a thick crowd around this one.
There were many, many more that I loved. But that’s plenty for now.
As said before, the museum was held in an old train station. The 5th floor boasted a restaurant and a giant clock.
After absorbing as much art and culture as our brains could hold, we trekked off to see the infamous Louvre (just from the outside.
Oh, and a not-so-quick wait in line at Laduree for the best macarons on the planet.
With the sun setting quickly over La Seine, we quickly booked it over to Notre Dame and craned our necks upward at the vastness of it.
The last item on our list: Eiffel Tower at night. I had no idea, but when it gets dark the tower is all lit up and actually sparkles like diamonds in the night.
The metro brought us right up to it, and I could hardly believe my eyes.
It’s SO much bigger in person than it could ever seem in photos.
Oh, and just to prove that we were actually there:
This marks the last night of my 2 week trip [!], and I cannot believe how quickly it has gone by or how WONDERFUL my experiences have been.
Also, how much my feet hurt.
Thanks for following along, if you’ve been. I’ll be home soon.