Day 1 in Paris: The Louvre and More...
In Paris, one of the must visit places is definitely the Louvre. Yes, the famous Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci is here....but that is not all, there are many other awesome paintings which deserve to be admired too. As we were there on the first Sunday of the month, entry was free. We chose to queue indoors at the Carrousel du Louvre entrance and waited for less than 20 minutes. Once inside, we explored the various floors. My personal favourites are the Galerie d'Apollon which showcases French crown jewels and the Napoleon III apartments. Even after 3 hours, we still could not finish exploring this huge museum.
The Musée de l'Orangerie
After lunch at the Carrousel du Louvre, which is a shopping mall, we then walked through the Jardin (Garden) des Tuilleries to get to the Musée de l'Orangerie . This museum is also free on the first Sunday! This museum is much smaller compared to the Louvre but if you love Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces by artists such as Monet, Renoir and Picasso, then this place is definitely worth a visit. I was attracted to a painting by Renoir titled "Jeunes filles au piano".
The National Assembly
Walking Along the Seine River
From the Musée de l'Orangerie, you can see the Place de la Concorde and further up is Avenue des Champs Elysees. At Place de la Concorde, it is impossible to miss the 75-foot tall granite Obelisk of Luxor. This was a gift from Egypt and it is still standing tall there.
We decided to return another day to visit Champs Elysees and instead crossed the Pont de la Concorde to get to Musee d'Orsay. Unfortunately, when we reached Musee d'Orsay, the queue was super long. As we did not want to waste time on queuing, we continued our stroll along the Seine.
Saint-Chapelle Stained Glass Windows
Similar to the Louvre and the Musée de l'Orangerie, entrance to Saint-Chapelle and the Conciergerie, which are both located on the Ile de la Cité (Island of the City), is also free on the first Sunday. So, we grabbed the opportunity to visit both as they are located very close to each other. At the Saint-Chapelle, do ensure that you walk up the steps to the upper floor. This is because it will lead you to the beautiful stained glass windows which are seen in the photo I took above! It's really awesome and you can just sit there admiring the windows before you exit. Another special thing to note is that France's Supreme Court shares the same courtyard as Sainte-Chapelle. Hence, the need for the metal detectors before you enter the complex.
At the Conciergerie, you will be able to see a former royal palace which was transformed into a prison during the during the French Revolution. Its most famous prisoner was Marie Antoinette in the days preceding her execution. During our visit, there was also a rather unique exhibition going on.
Le Pont des Arts: Love = Locks?
Another Day: Notre Dame Cathedral
From here, it is easy to walk over to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Unfortunately, just when we had arrived at Notre Dame, it started pouring. As the queues to enter both the cathedral and the towers were very long, we decided to leave and come back on another day. And that was our last stop for our tiring but exciting first day in Paris! One word of advice, wear good walking shoes or your feet will suffer...
More info on Europe
- Day 2 in Paris: Exploring Montmartre, Champs Elysees & Eiffel Tower
- Day 3 near Paris: Visiting Versailles
- Day 4 in Paris: From Marais to the Bastille
- Day 5 in Paris: From St Germain to Champs Elysees
- Day 6 in Paris: Opera, Perfume and Fashion!
- My Week in Italy: Rome
- My Week in Italy: Florence
- My Week in Italy: Pisa
- My Week in Italy: Venice