This is part 2 of our Summer blog update. If you missed the first part, click here.
The next weekend we took a train to Paris! We paid extra for the “quiet car,” but unfortunately the woman sitting behind us didn’t pass that message along to her two kids. Oh well, it happens. Once we arrived in Paris though, we started walking around and visiting places. We saw the Musée D’Orsay our first evening. It’s a beautiful museum in an old train station. We saw a lot of cool art, including paintings by Van Gogh and Monet. I was also excited by a couple of paintings that had really terrible renditions of cats.
The next day started out rainy, so we packed our umbrellas and raincoats and headed out to see the Eiffel Tower. This was a really good choice, because no one else was there! Score! We eventually made our way to the Champs Élysées and ate sandwiches while we walked towards the Louvre.
I knew that the Louvre was going to be a big endeavor, but I didn’t realize just how massive it is. We spent 4 hours wandering through the long halls and saw some incredible works of art. The Mona Lisa was moved to a new wing, because they were renovating the room she is usual in. This was frustrating because that meant an entire wing of the museum was basically off limits because of a line that spanned all five floors in the museum just to see a single painting. Needless to say, I wasn’t amused. I wanted to see all the paintings in that wing, but sadly didn’t get a chance because there was no way we were waiting in a long line just to see the Mona Lisa. Not worth it. (I have some opinions about the Mona Lisa that would take up too much space on this blog. In short: she’s basic.)
We did get to see some exciting pieces, like the Winged Victory, Venus de Milo and Liberty Leading the People. All in all, it was a very successful, but exhausting, museum trip. We ended our day with a delicious dinner of pizza, veggie lasagna and fantastic cocktails. No complaints here!
Our final full day we saw Sainte-Chapelle which easily had the most stunning stained glass I’ve ever seen in my life. If you ever have a chance to go, you HAVE to see this. I’ll actually be offended if you don’t. (Okay, maybe not offended, but I will bug you about seeing it until you’re annoyed.) The windows stretch up what seems like forever and are full of so much color it’s almost overwhelming. I really liked that the windows all represented chapters from the Bible, stories of Jesus’ life and other disciples, and the story of Revelations. It was amazing to see the amount of detail the artists had been able to create in the glass.
We left Sainte-Chapelle and walked towards Notre Dame. Unfortunately, it’s still very damaged, but we were able to look at it from the outside and marvel at the size. We walked along the side on the Seine and could see some of the windows that had been damaged in the fire, as well as the damage to the roof. It was sad, but comforting to see how much of the building actually survived.
Lunch was at Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore and it was delicious! A cute English bookstore that has turned into a must see for some people. I was excited to see that there was a cat that lived in the bookstore.
We walked along Champs Élysées again, and this time made it to the Arc de Triomphe. It’s HUGE! Of course it is, but I wasn’t prepared for how big it really is! It was terrifying watching people run across the insanely busy roundabout to get to it. There is a tunnel to cross under the street!! Don’t run across the street!
Eventually we made our way back down Champs Élysées, grabbed some things for dinner and had a picnic on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower. It was a great way to spend our final evening. As the sun began to set, we took the elevator up to the very top floor of the tower. Watching the sun sink down and giving the city a beautiful orange glow really was the best way to end our first trip to Paris. I can’t wait to go again and see things we missed the first time.