Our IZY train from Brussels to Paris went by fairly quick and left us at the north end of the city once we arrived. We had to make our way down to the river Seine to see some of Paris’ most famous icons, starting with the Louvre.
We arrived at about 2 pm and luckily didn’t have to encounter a line that we had read about online (as seen on Rick Steves). Once we were in the lobby it was so crowded that I felt like I was in Disneyland, but that’s for our next post. *Wink* It was actually pretty great to see a museum with this many people inside, definitely a rare scene. But this should be more than expected when you know what treasures await inside the Louvre.
Of course, as a graduate of Fine Arts, I discovered pieces I had studied in school around every corner.
The most popular and most crowded spot in ALL of Paris was right in front of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa… But don’t worry we fought that horde to the front, and got our selfie with her.
If you happen to get to little Lisa at a time when there’s not an angry mob in front of her, try walking back and forth to watch her gaze follow you.
We stayed at the museum until closing and then made our way to the nearby cathedral of Notre Dame. Sadly, we didn’t come across any hunchbacks… But that’s okay because the inside was just as gorgeous as I’d always imagined.
There was even a service happening during our visit, which made being there even more EPIC! Singing voices echoed off the walls and vaulted ceilings while eyes from statues and stained glass windows looked down on us from every direction.
The back of the cathedral is just as beautiful in my opinion; I’m a fan of flying buttresses.
As we finished up here we received a text from my aunties who just happened to be in Europe the same time as us (we had planned to meet in Paris). They were at a nearby cafe finishing their dinner so Fabes and I decided to join them and grab a couple pints during happy hour. We then planned to meet under the Eiffel Tower the next day and walk the Champs-Elysees.
We finally made our way to the Ibis Styles hotel we had booked, which was super adorable and we highly recommend it! (The view from our room’s window seen above). After a super Parisian dinner at a Thai place… this is so not a foodie blog… we made our way to le Tour Eiffel to see it lit up at night.
Seeing the tower for the first time really is a crazy feeling… Especially when you notice locals jogging in the park surrounding it. I can’t imagine such a magnificent site like this, becoming “oridinary” for people, but there are neighborhoods right next door.
During all our walks nothing was as crowded as I thought it would be, in fact it is very evident that the city is still suffering from the attacks which occurred in November of 2015.
Streets aren’t filled with many wide-eyed tourists. Most cafes we walked passed were completely empty, other than their owners looking desperate for any business. I understand why people are afraid to travel to Europe at this time, I was scared at first too… But with all the military trucks and armed officers everywhere, now is probably the safest time to explore this city.
The only people you’ll have to watch out for are the packs of gypsies. They kept approaching us asking if we spoke English and to sign a petition for them, but we shook our heads and kept walking. They’re known for tricking and stealing from tourists so steer clear of them during your trip. The guys shown above actually chased a large group away from the tower while we were there… well, they actually just pointed and the gypsies ran away.
The next morning, after a breakfast of perfectly made croissants, we made our way to the bottom of the Eiffel Tower. Waiting for Aunty Charlene and Darlene we picked up some trinkets for family back home at the gift shops found at the feet of the tower.
From there, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe, after a few photos at the Trocadero Gardens. I should note here that you can climb 284 steps to the top of the Arc for about 8€, but we opted out of that and began our journey down the most luxurious shopping boulevard in Paris.
The walk went by faster than we expected and once again we were at the Louvre, where my aunties treated us to lunch in the cafeteria underneath the museum. After picking up some last minute souvenirs, it was time to say goodbye and catch a train to our next adventure… Stay tuned for our enchanting day at Disneyland Paris.