This trip was spur of the moment, although aren’t those the most fun? My friend and I discussed it on Monday, and we left on Thursday, I used this trip to see the parts of Paris I hadn’t seen on my first trip back in January.
We stayed in a hostel just a few blocks away from the Sacre-Coeur, and while not being religious person, going there was a deeply moving experience.
After that, we made our way to L’Arc de Triomph, and I was awestruck not only by the size of the monument, but by the homages to French history and the memorials to those killed in World War II that decorated the ceilings, walls, and ground of the structure.
After sufficiently taking in the sight, we walked down Champs d’Élysées and oogled at all the luxury boutiques and wound up at Ladurée, the celebrated macaroon and sweets shop. I got my first taste of what a real macaroon tastes like, and ended up dropping about $40 on a container (it was absolutely worth it!!).
We then stopped for a pizza and pasta lunch on our way to the Eiffel tower by way of the Jardins de Trocadéro (where all of those dreamy photos of people on the steps with the Tower in the background are taken) and after fighting our way through the hordes of people, made our way to the Champs de Mars garden to enjoy our macaroons in the sunshine. On the way we passed by a few memorials to America as well!
After a brief repose we took a (harrowing) rickshaw back to the Champs d’Élysées where I settled in to read a book and my friend got her makeup done at MAC, because that night we were going to the Macklemore concert!! This was my first real concert, and he and Ryan Lewis with their guest performers blew it out of the park. It was such an incredible show and the tickets were so inexpensive compared to what they would have cost in Seattle.
The next morning began with a stroll through the Jardin du Luxembourg, and we marveled at the series of statues of women integral to the history of France, and watched as children played with wooden boats in the small pond in the center of the garden. It was made even funnier because the boats had little national flags such as Britain or Spain!
As we continued on to our next stop, the Panthèon, we stopped by Amorino, a wonderful little ice-cream and gelato shop (I highly recommend the classic strawberry and vanilla!). Thanks to our status as students, we got free entry into the Panthèon, which ended up being such a cool experience in part due to it’s function as a mausoleum to some great historical figures in French history, including Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Alexandre Dumas, Marie and Pierre Curie, and many others. It was here that I bought my very own copy of Le Petit Prince!
After finishing the Panthèon we split up, and I went to the Musée d’Orsay, where I saw incredible statues and art that I hadn’t been able to see due to time constraints the first time I was in Paris. There was “La Naissance de Venus” by Cabanal,
Another iteration by Bouguereau,
And perhaps most incredibly, portraits by Vincent Van Gogh, including “La Méridienne”, “Mademoiselle Gachet dans son garden”, and “Self Portrait 1”,
Jean-François Millet’s “Le Printemps”,
Thomas Couture’s “Les Romans de la Décadence”,
And Édouard Manet’s “Olympia”.
Finding myself with time to spare after the museum, I walked back towards the Musée du Louvre through the Tuileries and continued on to the Palais Royale, one of the most lovely places in Paris, in my humble opinion. I sat there for nearly 20 minutes just relaxing near the fountain and taking in the garden air.
The last stop of the day was the Palais Garnier, this time I was able to go inside of the building, and wow, words (and my pictures) can’t really express how stunning that was. Every corner, wall, and ceiling was adorned with incredible decadent artwork and luxury, and it was just stunning all around. I was able to go into one of the boxes and see the theater, the ornate chandelier and red velvet curtains. It was truly unforgettable.