Day 5 was spent in the Louvre. Yep, the entire day. While this may sound completely and utterly boring to some people, my dad really wanted to spend the whole day here and so we did.
We got to Versailles early enough to line up near the front of the pyramid and entered through there. The first thing we did was to see the Mona Lisa. When we got there, there was already around 20 people there. While a lot of people say that the Mona Lisa is very small, it wasn’t as small as I thought it would be.
After we saw the Mona Lisa, we rushed to see the other well-known pieces in the Louvre like Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory before heading back to enjoy the European artwork gallery. While the Louvre was crowded, it was only super busy by the most famous works and the European gallery. Once you to another gallery, the crowds noticeably grow thinner. One of my favourite places was probably Napoleon III’s chambers. Think very similar to the chambers in Versailles but much fewer people (aka practically empty). They also featured more artifacts like necklaces, chests, and so on. They’re definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in seeing how the royalty lived or you enjoyed Versailles, but want to experience something more intimate.
We visited a few more galleries, but there wasn’t anything too interesting worth noting. I would suggest that you get the Louvre audioguide (either on your phone or renting one) as they provide a lot of insight on many of the art pieces. We left earlier than intended cause I was starting to feel sick.
Later, in the evening, we went to Galerie Lafayettes to check out the iconic ceiling.
On our 4th day in Paris, we took a day trip to Versailles.
We arrived at Versailles pretty early, but the lineup was already huge. Inside, it was even more crowded, especially when tour groups arrived and they crowded around their guides in rooms that were way too small to accommodate them. As beautiful as the palace was, the sheer amount of people in it ruined the whole experience for me.
We headed to the gardens afterward. For some reason, we had to pay an entrance fee to get in despite the fact that the fountains weren’t running (it may have to do with the whole new “musical gardens” thing). They had music playing at all the fountains (none of which were running) and I personally found it kind of lame. If I had to pay an extra €7 or €8 to enter the gardens, at least have the fountains running.
The gardens were pretty nice though. We walked through them and went to see the Grand and Petit Palais. It was much less crowded there and I really liked the Grand Palais. Unfortunately, we were too tired to visit Marie Antoinette’s hamlet and headed home (it also started raining really hard).
Looking back on the trip, we probably should have started with the gardens and the two Palais in the morning before seeing the actual interior of Versailles in the afternoon (and hope it was less crowded). Nonetheless, Versailles was quite fun and I would like to return when it’s less crowded in the future.
Note: A lot of my photos from the past few days and the next few days are on my DSLR (minus the one of the Eiffel tower). I am probably going to do a collective blog post with all the photos in the end simply because it takes too long to edit photos sometimes. Sorry for the inconvenience and the lack of/crappy photos.
On the third day, we headed off to Notre-Dame Cathedral. Make sure to arrive early if you want to climb the towers (the view is definitely worth it)! We arrived around 9:30 and there were at least a dozen people already lined up and by 10:00, there was a huge lineup.
Now I somehow forgot to take photos from the top of Notre-Dame using my phone (they’re all on my DSLR- so you’ll have to wait for those photos sorry!!). Circle around to the back of the cathedral for a different view of it and for a chance to walk through a garden. Be careful though because there were several “petitioners” in the garden when I was there.
We then went inside Notre-Dame. Notre-Dame is also very beautiful. We arrived when the choir just began singing. It was quite an experience and definitely worth listening to.
We went to the Orangerie afterward to view Monet’s paintings. I really enjoyed the museum’s collection of impressionist and other artworks. We went in the early afternoon so it was quite crowded. For the full experience of viewing Monet’s large water lilies paintings, I would suggest going early in the morning. (Once again, I somehow failed to take any photos on my phone).
We went back to our hotel to rest and ate dinner before going to check out the Orsay. Since it was a Thursday, the Orsay was open late that night. Despite arriving later in the day, the museum was still filled with a lot of people. We checked out some pieces on the first floor, which included a special exhibit that featured landscape paintings. TOne of them was Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Musee d’Orsay also has Van Gogh’s self-portrait so make sure to check that out. There are large signs pointing to it so it’s hard to miss. (I forgot to take photos of it on my phone again. Can you see a repeating theme? Hopefully, I’ll have time to edit and upload the photos from my DSLR soon)!
We then headed to the Impressionist Galleries. Despite the late hour, there was still a lot of people there. The impressionist gallery was heaven. I love impressionism (especially Monet’s paintings) so I spent a long time here. There’s also a huge clock that makes for great photos.
On our second day in Paris, the first place we visited was Sainte-Chapelle. We got there slightly before it opened. I highly recommend going there early in the morning as it’s quite empty and the feeling is quite magical being one of the few people there(going right before closing could also work).
Afterward, we visited the nearby Conciergerie, which is where they kept Marie-Antoinette before she was executed. It wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be, so if you don’t have a time, it’s not that big of a loss if you pass on it.
In the afternoon, it was time for us to visit the Eiffel Tower (make sure you book tickets before hand)! We arrived there quite early to take a lot of photos.
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We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but if you are looking to save a few bucks, just going to the second floor would have been fine. The view is better and you wouldn’t have to wait in a ridiculously long line up to head to the top. But since I’ve flown all this way, it doesn’t hurt to experience going to the top of the Eiffel Tower anyway.
Hey guys! I haven’t been posting for a while and this is mostly because I’ve been abroad for the past few weeks. I was visiting relatives in China and I found the internet speed slower there, so it wasn’t convenient for me to be blogging or reading blog posts.
Anyway, expect a few posts about my trip to China. I’ll also be finishing up my blog posts to Paris despite it being such a long time after my trip just so I can look back on it in the future.
We took the Eurostar from London and arrived in Paris 2.5 hours later. After checking into our hotel, we walked down Champs-Elysées towards the Arc de Triomphe.
We window shopped along the street. Some of the stores even had a security line to enter! We checked out the flagship Louis Vuitton store, which apparently is one of the biggest luxury stores in the world! After wandering down the street, we reached Arc de Triomphe.
We climbed up all the stairs (there are too many of them) and reached the top. The view from the top is absolutely beautiful and definitely worth the climb.
Our sixth and last day in London began with an early morning visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Unlike Westminster Abbey which is Gothic architecture, St. Paul’s Cathedral is built with Baroque architecture. It’s interior is much more decorated than Westminster Abbey. With many seats available and a free audio guide included in the price of admission, it’s easy to spend a few hours in St. Paul’s admiring its beauty.
Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel before going to afternoon tea to celebrate my dad’s birthday. We headed off to Fortnum and Mason’s, where we dined on sandwiches, pastries, and scones.
One nice thing about Fortnum and Mason’s is that any plate can be refilled if you request it! After afternoon tea, we wandered through Fortnum and Mason’s where one can buy tea or different sets of teapots.
After tea, we went shopping at Selfridges. While we didn’t buy much, it was still fun to window shop. In Canada (at least Toronto), department stores aren’t as big as the ones in London so it was quite enjoyable to wander around so many floors of stores. I also don’t think I’ve seen so many luxury brands clustered in one space. We ended up purchasing a scarf from Hermes. We headed to the 5th floor of Selfridges to get our Tax Return forms (make sure you bring your passport!) and there was even a nice lounge for people to rest. We then headed off to Marks and Spencer before calling it the night.