J’aime Paris: This City Is One Giant Museum

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Louvre Paris museum panormic view

Bonjour again from Paris! The last time we spoke, we got down to business and started to explore town.

This week’s theme is all about art. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Paris is pretty much one giant museum! I mean, you go to the supermarket and pass by a gorgeous building that was built in 1750-something and it’s no big deal, really. Then, you visit a Paris museum where it’ll take you over a week to see everything, full of paintings by Picasso, Renoir, Monet – you know these guys, right?

I’ve been in Paris for just over a month and time is just flying. We’ve been blessed with an early summer… or at least that’s what we thought, and you know how everything is just so much better when the sun is shining! So allow me to take you on tour of Paris and bring you up to speed with what I’ve been up to lately. Sounds good?

Visit the Best of Paris section for more of the top things to do in Paris

It’s not so smelly down here

On a beautiful Saturday morning, I started the weekend with a visit to Paris sewers of all places! You see, I’m one of these guys that loves those Discovery Channel shows that show you how things work. So I couldn’t resist the opportunity to head to underground Paris and visit the Paris Sewer System Museum.  As you descend below ground, you walk along an active sewer smack in the middle of Paris! The city has fought a centuries-old battle with water & waste management, and you get to learn all about that. Apparently, things got so stinky a few centuries ago in Paris, that all the rich folks moved to the suburbs. Lucky for us, it’s surprisingly not that smelly down here and I bet the museum’s toilets use the shortcut!

Paris museum of the sewers

Paris sewer system museum tools2

– See & learn more about the Paris Sewer System Museum! –

Exploring the 7th arrondissement of Paris

Next up on this beautiful day was the iconic Eiffel Tower, all part of my exploration of the posh 7th arrondissement (district) of Paris. Believe it or not, the tower was meant to be dismantled after the Universal Expo back in 1889. Can you seriously imagine Paris without it?

From of Eiffel Tower from Champ de Mars. Paris

Eiffel-Tower-Paris-up-close

From the madness of the Eiffel Tower (soooo many tourists), I headed to a little slice of heaven right in the middle of Paris – the Rodin Museum. Though the mansion was closed,  the gardens are what interested me anyway and they did not disappoint. Scattered around are some of the sculpture’s most famous works such as The Thinker and The Gates of Hell. You could seriously just park it right here for a few relaxing hours but hey – there’s plenty more to see!

Rodin Paris Mudeum gardens and fountain

Rodin the thinker and gates of hell Paris

Rodin museum Paris

Next up was the stupendous Eglise du Dome in the Invalides Quarter. If you read my posts, you should know by now that I’m a real sucker for old European churches – I simply can’t resist visiting them. But this one is on a whole new level. You feel super tiny inside, which is funny because the most famous resident and the prime reason people pay to get in – is none other than 1.68m tall – Napoleon Bonaparte. Ever heard of him? Well, he’s chilling out for eternity in a massive tomb inside an even more massive open crypt.

Eglise du Dome Le Tombeau de Napoléon Chruch

Eglise du Dome Le Tombeau de Napoléon Fresco

Eglise du Dome Le Tombeau de Napoléon Open Pit

Napoleons Tomb Paris Le Tombeau de Napoléon

What else did we have….? Well, the rest of the day was spent chilling out in the très chic Rue Cler, where Saturday means: a super cool antique market, lots of sunny options for brunch and one of the best pastry shops in all of ParisGâteaux Thoumieux. Oh, and there are some pretty nice views of the Eiffel Tower from here, the kind of Paris photos you see in posters.

Sunny bistrot cafe in Paris

Paris antique street market rue cler

classic paris eiffel tower photo

Gâteaux Thoumieux best pastry shop paris

To get home, I crossed the most beautiful bridge in Paris, the Pont Alexandre III. I told you Paris was one big museum!

Pont Alexandre III Bridge Paris

Pont Alexandre III Statues Paris

Pont Alexandre III Paris gold figures

– There’s plenty more to see in the beautiful 7th arrondissement, right here! –

The islands of Paris

On Sunday I explored the islands of Paris. No, these aren’t exactly tropical islands, but Île de la Cité & Île Saint Louis are pretty much where Paris started out. You really feel that spring is in the air, with tons of ‘gardening shops’ keeping busy. Soon, we’ll see those cute old charming window ledges decorated with plants.

Paris in the spring flower shops

I crossed the oldest bridge in Paris, the Pont Neuf, and right on the other side, is one of the most romantic spots in Paris. There’s a tiny park on the edge of this tiny island that’s just perfect for a picnic along the River Seine.

View of Eiffel tower from Pont Neuf bridge paris

Picnic-on-the-seine-in-Paris

Picnic-on-the-River-Sein-Paris

Next up was Sainte Chapelle, one of the last remnants of an old palace that used to sit here and boy, what a remnant it is. It was built in the 13th century when being Gothic was cool and if you get here when the sun is shining through, you might get the feeling you’re tripping on LCD (not that I’ve ever tried). The vast array of colors shining through the stained glass is a natural high.

sainte chapelle paris alter

sainte chapelle paris rose window

sainte chapelle paris stained glass close up

From one chapel to another cathedral (I told you I can’t resist), I crossed the road to visit the flagship cathedral of Paris (every town has one, admit it) – the Notre Dame de Paris. It’s free to get inside but I bet people would be willing to pay. Outside the cathedral, there’s lots happening along the river and if you come here during spring – you’ll see this beautiful tree.

Notre Dame Paris

Notre Dame Paris interior

Notre Dame Paris stained glass rose window

Paris spring cherry blossom

After a sunny coffee break, I crossed to the quieter of the two islands – Île Saint Louis. Even with the biggest mortgage, you could possibly get, there’s no way you’ll be able to afford the homes over here. There’s a good reason why – it’s like a quiet little village. But there is one enterprise that brings the crowds and that ice cream. Île Saint Louis has to be the prime spot for ice cream in Paris. Those who know, head straight to the original Berthillon, for the best ice cream in town!

romantic spot on ile saint louis paris

Berthillon best ice cream paris ile saint louis

– This was just the tip of the iceberg. See more of the islands of Paris, right here! –

Van who? Never heard of him!

My artsy week wasn’t finished just yet. The major Paris museums can be super difficult to visit during the weekend. Wiser visitors utilize late evening openings when things are a lot quieter. On one such evening after work, I visited the Musée d’Orsay. The building itself is worth the visit – an old railway station that was crumbling down until converted to this beauty. The real highlights though are the Impressionist masterpieces on display here. Let’s see who’s here: Van Gogh, Cezanne, Monet, Picasso, Renoir and lots more. There’s also one painting that caused a great deal of controversy back in the day but you’ll have to click through to find out!

Musée d'Orsay Paris museum interior

Vincent van Gogh Musee d'Orsay Peasant Portrait

Impressionist paintings monet renoir dorsay paris museum

musee dorsay wow moment

– Step inside the Musée d’Orsay through here! –

Mona Lisa smile

As the working week ended, I finally made it to the Louvre after several visits to Paris and one failed attempt to get inside during the weekend. What can I say? The Louvre is really the best Paris museum I’ve visited and I’ve only seen 20-25% of it so far (as Arnold would say…). I can tell you that Miss Mona Lisa is not the real highlight here but rather the other paintings (some of them are simply huge), the sculptures, ancient artifacts and the … ceilings! This used to be a palace after all.

Louvre-Mona-Lisa-collage

Louvre Paris Museum paris exhibition hall

Louvre museum paris people painting

Louvre paris museum panoramic photo

Louvre museum paris massive painting

Louvre-museum-palace

Louvre-Paris Museum-ancient-greece-and-egypt

A few surprises along the way

A special surprise awaited me on the walk of home, of all places. Have a look at Paris during sunset and tell me what you think. Nice ah?

Arc de Triumph Paris twighlight sunset photo

Eiffel Tower Paris twighlight sunset photo

Classic Paris twighlight sunset photo

Oh, and one more reason why I love Paris. You walk home super tired and just wanting to get into bed and you hear some jazz playing from some bar you just passed. You can’t resist, turn back, step inside, have a glass of wine and finish off your week – in style!

Jazz in Paris bar close to louvre

But it’s not all paradise in Paris. I told you earlier we were tricked to think that summer had arrived early this year. Have a look at the weather forecast that… was pretty accurate in retrospect. As Mick wisely said: you can’t always get what you want!

Paris rainy weather forecast

And if you’ve made this far down the post – thank you! You’re rewarded with this strange and funny karaoke attempt on the Paris Metro late at night. Was this guy seriously trying to make money? He really does need a hero…

J’aime Paris!

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