May 3, 2014

Paris Part 2

The impressive view off the top of the Musée d'Orsay

Days 3 and 4 were continuous touring days. We started Day 3 at the Musée D'Orsay and the wonderful Impressionist Gallery housed there.
The architecture of Paris really astounded me, it's all beautiful!
The gorgeous rooftop terrace of the Musée d'Orsay Impressionist Collection

After our tour of the extensive Impressionists, most of which I wish I have room for on my walls at home, we decided an impromptu boat ride was in order. 
Our view off the boat as soon as we got on

As we planned this trip for months, we had all invested in both the Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass, which zips you through several lines and gets you out of several fees. I very highly recommend investing in these if you plan to tour in Paris. (Find more information on the official website here)

The boat ride was a tour along the gorgeous Seine river winding through Paris. There were easily 100 people on the boat with us, including a very large, molto forte Italian family, a young family with a very young baby that didn't like boats, and a huge French school group that was louder than a 747 coming in for a landing. 
 A large French exhibition hall

Despite these transgressions, the boat ride was enjoyable, the weather was beautiful, and our guide wasn't hard on the eyes either. We saw many of the sites of Paris from a different view, and got a real essence of Parisian life as couples, friends, family, and solos all hung out on the banks of the river. 
Basking in the glow of the sunlight on the river, trés picturesque, non? 
The bridges in Paris were gorgeous, we saw the love locks!
Some Parisians made the eco-chic decision to live on a houseboat, there are countless boats lining the Seine
The gorgeous golden pillar-toppers on a pristine, white bridge over the Seine
My grandfather really enjoying his audio guide 
We even passed by the gorgeous front of the Musée d'Orsay, the very museum we had visited earlier that day

The Louvre Museum: The extensive wing across the courtyard is still part of the Louvre, it is connected to the building we were standing in by other huge wings to the right that swerve around

The next day we visited the Louvre museum. That place is HUGE! The Louvre started as a Palace, Napoleon's old apartments are even available to tour inside--which we did. One of the ancient Kings moved the "official" court Palace to Versailles, but the Louvre was never destroyed (thank goodness). 
Moi et mes grands-parents dans la Louvre

Being the extensive planners that we are, we had mapped out our entire "plan of attack" so we could see everything we wanted to see. First we'd start at the Egyptian Antiquities (my favorite), before moving on to Grecian statues, then the Marly Horses, Napoleon's Apartments, with the Mona Lisa as our grand finale. 
The House of Chocolate: aka my favorite place ever

We entered from the subway, which is really a smart way to go about it. We encountered absolutely no lines and no hassle…we didn't even have to show our tickets until we wanted to actually enter a gallery. 

Just as there is a huge glass pyramid poking up from the ground in the large courtyard of the Louvre above ground, there is a pyramid growing the opposite way, from the ceiling, below ground

After passing through the Medieval section of the Louvre, we moved into Ancient Egypt. It was heaven for me, anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with ancient Egypt. 
My hair in the "ballerina" bun I learned how here

We didn't spend as much time as I would have liked in the Antiquitês Égyptienne wing, my mother was anxious to execute the rest of her plan.

Unfortunately, like the rest of Paris, the Louvre is undergoing renovations and is restoring many of their pieces so the entire Egyptian collection was unavailable for viewing. However, it did get me excited to see what else was hiding behind the huge marble walls of this former-palace. 

The Grecian statues were awe-inspiring and some of them were so huge and intricately carved that they seemed to be created by magic itself. The entire wing is full of marble and granite along with the sound of tourists' shoes squeaking along the floor.
Miss Venus de Milo, one of the most famous statues of her kind

Many statues on display, we were shocked to learn, were actually reproductions and copies of originals that had either been lost, destroyed, or were too delicate to place on display for the public to drool over.
My outfit for the day: my Eddie Bauer jean jacket (that jacket was shown a lot of use during this trip), a black Marks & Spencer dress, patterned tights from Rustan's, with ankle boots from Aerosoles 

In a different wing, we came across two different courtyards, surrounded by the Louvre on all sides. In one of these courtyards the Marly horses were located, number one on Mom's list. 

The beautiful horses were taller than my Chummy and full of intricately, detailed carvings within the carving. Each of the statues were once made of a complete block of stone and some talented artist was able to shape them into the art we see them as today.
The horses weren't the only huge statues in the courtyards, the pottery looked big enough to fit Jack's beanstalk giant

Next we journeyed to Napoleon's Apartments, all the way on the top floor of the wing. The complete grandeur of the apartment was overwhelming, I couldn't believe my eyes as something new unfolded after every turn! 
I think I could manage to live here for, oh I don't know…ever
The chandeliers were ornate and dripping with crystals
I think my entire extended family could fit in this dining room and THEN some
It paid to be the love of Napoleon--Josephine's "crowning" jewels
Josephine's dressing table--all gold and glass

After all this extensive touring and schlepping up countless stairs, we were ready for a small break. There is a quite Parisian patisserie and restaurant named Angelina that contains a) the best hot chocolate I've ever tasted, as in EVER and b) the best pastries I've ever tasted.
The days freshly-made pastries and macaroons

We stopped in the museum Angelina branch for a light snack, our first encounter of the Angelina kind. It was absolutely delightful! Afterwards we visited with Miss Lisa and some of her friends. It was a long, beautiful day that ended with a large purchase of chocolate and a total of 12 miles walking.
As close as we could get to Mona Lisa
One of my favorite paintings
Mom and I took a detour of the newly-opened Islamic Art wing and it was gorgeous! All the art was breathtakingly beautiful and it was a very pleasant way to spend our last moments at the Louvre

(Read Paris Part 3 here!)

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