About nine years ago, we began our serious travel adventures by living in a Paris apartment for a month. In that time we saw most of the sites of Paris except for the Louvre. When asked our favorite city, we would always say Paris. In these two days our goal was to revisit some of our favorite sites and to take the included tour of the Louvre.
On the first morning, we took a free walking tour of the Montmartre area. We have taken free walking tours before where the only cost is a tip for the guide. We have always had a good experience and this time was no exception. The red windmill is famous as the site of the Moulin Rouge nightclub where you go to watch them dance the cancan.
This restaurant was made famous in the Amilie movie. She worked as a waitress there
These two restaurants were over the top in competing with each other for the most flowers. We ended up eating lunch at one of them. The tables are jammed closely together and you sit side by side facing the street for optimal people watching.
One of the real windmills in Montmartre. I don’t know if any of them still operate.
That’s our tour guide in the yellow dress. Montmartre is where many of the famous artists hung out. She had lived in Montmartre and was very knowledgeable about art. She blended humor with her stories.
The streets of Montmartre.
A vineyard in the heart of Montmartre.
The major destination at the top of the hill where Montmartre is located is the Sacré Coeur Basilica. This is the view from the back.
This is the better known view from the front. Since it is located at the highest point in Paris, it can be seen from many points in the city.
The mosaic above the alter in Sacré Coeur
After lunch, we took the Metro to our favorite museum in Paris, the Musée d’Orsay, home of some of the best impressionist art. Once we rode the Metro, it felt like we were really back in Paris.
The museum was once a train station and the clocks are read from the outside. You can see Sacré Coeur in the area above the VII.
The ground floor of the museum looks like a train station.
The Gate of Hell by Rodin.
The River Seine with the d’Orsay on the right and a part of the Louvre on the left.
By this time we had walked seven miles and were happy to find a bench in the Tuileries to put our feet up and rest for a while before walking back to our hotel.
The Opera Garnier. We ended our first day in Paris with dinner at a classic French restaurant near our hotel. Susan had the very French dinner of escargot and steak tartare (think uncooked meatloaf). I went with the escargot also, but had the rather unadventurous poached cod for my main.
We began the second day with the included tour of the Louvre. This is the pyramid which was added relatively recently to create a single entrance hall. The crowds already exceed the capacity it was designed for.
The museum is huge. It is built over what was once the moat protecting the walls of the city.
Venus de Milo
Winged Victory. This piece was in more than 100 pieces when found. The wing on this side is the original wing and the one on the other side is a plaster copy.
The museum building is as interesting as the paintings. In this hall there are portraits of the past kings. It is hard to tell at first glance, but all the portraits are tapestries.
Did I mention that the museum is huge? Some of the paintings were huge also.
This is the line waiting to see the Mona Lisa, which you can see straight ahead. We took a pass on the wait and continued our tour on our own. We had walked three miles by the time we completed our tour and found our way out through the maze of shops.
The Hotel de Ville or Paris City Hall.
This was our destination in the Marais area. We had falafels there previously and wanted to have them again. The line to the right is for seating inside and the line to the left is for takeout. We got seated right away as they opened a room for seating just as we arrived. The falafels did not disappoint.
The National Archives.
We are in the Atlanta airport awaiting our flight to Wilmington. There was one blog I have been unable to upload. I will try again when I get home. If successful, there will be one more blog. Thanks to everyone for following the blog and for your comments.