These past few days have been absolutely exhausting, but I’ve made some amazing memories in Paris with one more full day to go before traveling to Geneva. Since arriving in Paris on Wednesday evening, I have arrived back at Nico’s flat well after midnight due to my adventures.
After a wonderful day in Disneyland, I wasn’t sure what other excitement Paris would hold for me. My friend Patrick picked me up at 1:30pm on Thursday, and took me on his own specialized tour of the city, taking me to each of his favorite spots from his time here. Thursday was his last day, and sharing my first full day in Paris with him could not have been better.
We started the day at Musee D’Orsay, which is across the water from the Louvre. Unlike it’s behemoth counterpart of an art museum, Musee D’Orsay is definitely walkable in a couple of hours. I believe Patrick and I saw the whole thing in about two hours, taking our time and going through each floor. A word to the wise, do NOT start at the bottom and work your way up. Start at the TOP FLOOR of the museum and work your way downward. The museum flows MUCH better that way.
Outside the museum at the elephant statue!
The museum is housed in an old train station
And you can see the Louvre from the top floor!
The museum has the best collection of Impressionist art in Europe – Monet’s works are not to be missed! They share the top floor with other key Impressionists such as Degas and Renoir.
“Tempete, cotes de Belle-Ile” – Claude Monet, 1886
“Danseuses bleues” – Edgar Degas, 1890
“Paysage algerien, le ravin de la Femme sauvage” – Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1881
Van Gogh has a significant presence, as well. There is also art deco furniture, realist paintings, several religious paintings, some modern works on the lower floors.
Loving the art deco style in the furniture! It was created during what some consider to be the best time in France for creativity.
“Le Chambre de Van Gogh a Arles” – Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
“L’Eglise d”Aubers-sur-Oise, vue du chevet” – Vincent Van Gogh, 1890
“La Danse au Moulin Rouge” – Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, 1895
(This was Patrick’s favourite, and I loved it! Toulouse-Lautrec was the primary artist for the Moulin Rouge at the time. He drew/painted all of the famous posters!)
I will say, however, the most pleasant surprise of the entire museum was a fully restored ballroom area that reminded me of the dance/dream scene in Anastasia. Patrick and I had the room to ourselves for a couple minutes, and I sang the first verse quietly while taking pictures.
See what I mean? “And a song someone sings/ Once upon a December”
Our next stop was “Wine by One.” To get there, we walked through the “Jardin des Tuileries” which is the garden area just outside the Louvre and ate crepes!
“Wine by One” is a cute little wine bar with over 100 bottles of wine “on tap.” You load money onto your card, grab a glass, walk over to the selections, and choose a taste, 1/2 glass, or full glass of what you’d like! The cases are arranged from light to dark, with varieties from the U.S. to Argentina to Frace (of course!). The pours range anywhere from 1€50 – 14€.
After a *few* sips of wine, we walked over to Notre Dame.
We didn’t walk through, and instead opted to visit Shakespeare and Company, the bookstore where Ernest Hemingway wrote will he was in Paris. We saw all kinds of books, and sat in the “Reading Room” where the bookstore owner keeps a private collection of books which are not for sale but can be read in the “Reading Room” for no charge. Anyone is welcome to sit, read, or write there. There are no pictures allowed, but I snuck one in while no one else was looking or around (except Patrick).
We ate dinner at a super cute French restaurant that Patrick picked out, and I ate charcuterie, lamb, and apple tart. The rose wine was also quite tasty.
No matter how tasty the wine, Patrick was starting to feel sad about leaving Paris in the morning.
After dinner, we went to the river to take a cruise down the River Seine in the heart of Paris. I took about 800 pictures. The tickets were reasonable (about 13€50), and the cruise lasted just over an hour. We went as dusk (around 10pm) and were even able to see the Eiffel Tower light up! Note: The Eiffel Tower ONLY lights up on the HOUR for 5 minutes.
There were GORGEOUS views from the boat. Interesting fact: Notre Dame is also known as “Point Zero,” and resides on an island. All of Paris is built essentially in a snail shape around it.
When our boat tour finished, we walked to the Eiffel Tower. That’s right. I STOOD NEXT TO THE EIFFEL TOWER. What a surreal experience. Patrick was such a gracious guide and shared all of his tips about seeing the city.
Clearly, Paris holds the key to my heart! ❤