Okay, so now that my Cordon Bleu classes are done, it’s time to really explore and enjoy Paris. I have a hit list of places that I want to go to while I’m here and the last two days consisted of going to the Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, the flower market on Île de la Cité, Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay.
Of course while at the Louvre, I had to make the obligatory visit to the Mona Lisa. I’ve always heard that the Mona Lisa is tiny so I actually wasn’t that disappointed when I saw her (I was pretty much expecting her to be the size of a postage stamp by this point). To be honest, I’m not much of a museum person but it is the Louvre so I just can’t cannot go. However, I have to say that I liked the Musée D’Orsay even more. The Musée d’Orsay, Impressionist museum turned out to be a wonderful surprise (probably because I’m more familiar with Impressionist paintings). Thanks to the Museum Pass, I got to bypass the line (which was over an hour long and in the pouring rain – sucks to be them). I was in-and-out in less than an hour. Saw some Van Goghs, Reniors, Degas’ and Monets – I’m good!
Is it bad to say that I thought the most interesting part of the museum is that it’s actually a converted train station? How cool is that?! Another thing that I found interesting is that there were signs everywhere saying no photography but people were taking pictures everywhere. The signs also said no eating. I saw people eating! But I really adored the space. The main floor actually felt like a public meeting place with people scattered about sitting among the statues. Or maybe it’s because there were so many tourists loitering. Either way, I thought Musée d’Orsay was great!
Okay, so a couple things I’ve noticed since being on the tourist circuit: All the tours start to come in at around 10:30am and there are ALOT of them. The scene can be totally calm and then within 15 minutes there are HUNDREDS of people rolling in. It pays to be a keener and beat the crowds by arriving early. The other thing I noticed is that it is totally worth it to buy a Museum Pass (if you plan on seeing several sights). This pass gets you into the Priority Line which is practically always empty and it gives you in and out privileges over several days. It’s turning out to be an extremely helpful tip that the tour guide told me about when I did the walking tour the other day. (although talking to other tourists while waiting in line ups can sometimes be fun. I got a recommendation the other day to visit Madrid, Toledo and Seville if I ever decide to go to Spain. They said Barcelona doesn’t count. Haha!)