The worlds largest museum and a must see while in the city, the Louvre Palace was built as fortress in the 12th century, the building and gardens alone are worth visiting.
Walking around the Tuileries Garden is free and there is much to see. There are views of the Eiffel Tower,
the massive Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (not to be confused with Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile),
the ferris wheel,
and a lovely fountain with a pond full of ducks!
We entered through the iconic pyramid, and began our adventure.
The museum is open every day except for Tuesday, and on Wednesdays and Fridays there are late night hours (6-9:45PM). We decided this would be best because we wouldn’t have to spend precious daylight hours inside! Friday evenings are free for under-26ers. First we made a point to see the top three sights: the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, and Venus de Milo.
After that we had fun wandering around the massive expansive museum. Always be sure to look out the windows, you never know what you may see.
I sure do love the classic serious sculptures,
but it was really fun exploring all of the paintings for oddities like an interaction between a monkey and a dog…fancy shoes…and someone casually holding a human head.
However, my absolute favorite painting was the collection of four portraits of men made out of fruits and veggies!
Exceptional art, you can spend hours here and not see it all, but relax and have fun – you’re in Paris!
I really like learning in depth, be it about a city, a time period, an author, or in this case – an artist. Picasso is an artist nearly everyone has heard about. While I knew by and large about his obscure faces and cubism, I really hadn’t seen many of his works.
This was my chance! It happened to be one of my favorite museums visited during the trip, maybe ever. On the day we visited the museum didn’t open until 11:30AM, so we cued up at about 11AM and there was a bit of a line already. Inside there are three levels, and they are slightly disorienting to get around as they should be.
Pablo Picasso was originally from Spain, but spent most of his adult life in France. He created images of Spain as imagined by Parisians, and this colorful bullfighting painting was among one of my favorites.
In Spanish “estar como una cabra” or “to be like a goat” means to have lost your head. The sweet madness of someone who lets their mind wander aimlessly…Picasso has a fascination with goats (he even had a pet goat) and there are plenty on display, ranging in realms of reality.
from masterful to completely bizarre, I can’t even imagine what it would be like inside of his head.
Musée national du Moyen Âge
This was actually on my list as, an ‘if we have time’ museum, but ended up being an absolute favorite. You will see everything that has to do with the Middle Ages, a period that fascinates me, and the Gothic looking building itself was originally from 1334.
There are a lot of religious motifs, but if you look closely, many quirky sights mingled into the artifacts. I particularly loved all of the stained glass.
There were many interesting statues with scary heads, lost heads, or holding their heads.
Little boxes, games, and jewelry – objects that remind me that throughout the ages people are people, just like you and me.
Period armor and weaponry aren’t a main focus, but cool to see.
The theme of animals is strong, especially unicorns, which tickles my fancy. One of the most giggly exciting moments occurred when walking into the room lined with tapestries.
A series of six wool and silk tapestries based off of cartoons drawn in Paris interpreting the five senses, and the sixth possibly displaying love.
“But beyond all these unsolved mysteries, the six tapestries, which are at the crossroads between two historical eras – that we nowadays call the Middle Ages and the Renaissance – appeal mostly through the poetic world they create, blurring the boundaries between the real and the imaginary, and merging the secular and the spiritual worlds.”
Catacombs of Paris
“Halt, this is the realm of Death,” reads a sign etched into stone in a foreign language. Twenty meters beneath city center are the bones of 6-7 million Parisians, making the catacombs the world’s largest grave. Famous names including Charles Perrault (father of fairy tales) to Robespierre (reign of terror) are buried within. By the eighteenth century graveyards were overflowing and closing, old skeletons were transferred to disused quarries.
Doors open at 10AM, we got there by 9:30AM and there was already a line wrapping around the block. Actually, that’s how we figured out where to go because the sign is relatively small.
We were the 130th customers allowed in, capacity is 200 so get there early if you don’t want to wait all day! Purchase the audio guide or do some research before hand, if not you’ll just be wandering around a labyrinth looking at bones.
There are some geological information plaques, but nothing historical. The walk through lasted just over a half an hour, you have to climb down a spiraling 130 steps which isn’t so bad, but the 83 steps back up to the main ground are a bit dizzying. There are no restrooms on the way into the museum, but there is one in the gift shop across the street at the end.
Bring a sweater, it’s a bone chilling 57 degrees down there!