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Day 1 in Paris: The Louvre and More...

Updated on April 2, 2013

The Louvre

Below the pyramid entrance at the Louvre.
Below the pyramid entrance at the Louvre.

The Louvre

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

The Assemblee Nationale (National Assembly).
The Assemblee Nationale (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

Visiting Saint-Chapelle

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?

At the Pont des Arts Bridge, you can see many locks. These locks represent a promise of eternal love between couples.
At the Pont des Arts Bridge, you can see many locks. These locks represent a promise of eternal love between couples.

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...

Map of Paris

show route and directions
A markerMusee d'Orsay -
Musée d'Orsay, 75007 Paris, France
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B markerJardin des tuilleries -
Tuileries Garden, place de la Concorde rue de rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
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C markerPont de la Concorde -
Pont de la Concorde, 75007 Paris, France
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D markerCarrousel du Louvre -
Place du Carrousel, 75001 Paris, France
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E markerPlace de la Concorde -
Place de la Concorde, Paris, France
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F markerConciergerie -
Musee De La Conciergerie, 2 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
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G markerNotre Dame Cathedral -
Notre-Dame de Paris, 6 Place du Parvis Notre-Dame, 75004 Paris, France
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