Our second day in Paris was reserved for the Louvre. We had many friends telling us of how the long lines at the entrance meant that they never ended up going to the museum. I think that’s rather a pity, going all the way to Paris, and then not visiting the Louvre. So here’s a hot tip if you plan to visit the Louvre: enter through the Carrousel du Louvre or through the Porte de Lions rather than the main pyramid entrance, to escape the crowds. Here is a great article on how to enter the Louvre. The long and short of it (pun intended) was that we used the Carrousel du Louvre entrance and the whole standing in line – security check – buying tickets – storing luggage process took us less than 30 minutes!
There are two ways of ‘doing’ the massive Louvre – if you don’t have any specific interests, then just wander around to whichever sections catch your fancy. If you are interested in specific exhibits, get hold of a museum map and plan an itinerary. I’d been to the Louvre before and spent a whole day wandering around as I pleased. But this time, I did some research beforehand and had a planned itinerary for our museum visit.
We started with the famed Winged Victory sculpture. Then we headed to the Italian Paintings section for the star of the museum: La Joconde (Mona Lisa). Like before, I was underwhelmed by the painting – I simply don’t get what all the fuss is about! But I did enjoy the other paintings in this section quite a bit. I especially love the works of Paolo Veronese and Paris Bourdon. Look at the gorgeousness of Veronese’s Marriage at Cana below! I find Bourdon’s paintings very striking, and I think he’s a sadly underappreciated artist.
I managed to drag myself away from the paintings for our next visit: the Napoléon Apartments. I was very taken by the opulence and grandeur of the apartments, and will strongly recommend visiting this section, especially if you’re not going to Versailles. We then visited the Dutch and Flemish paintings section – which is a surprisingly under visited section of the museum – though it has Vermeer and Rembrandt, among others! Our last stop was the French Sculptures gallery, which we ended up in by accident, before finally exiting the museum, and giving our legs a much needed rest by sitting down for a meal at the Carrousel du Louvre.
We were too drained out after our Louvre visit for anymore sightseeing so we spent the evening with our friend Chan instead. Chan went to business school with me, and is now studying economics and policy at the Sciences Po, Paris. Very cool, no? A couple of months ago, when he’d posted some pictures of his travels around France, I threatened to land up in Paris – little did either of us know that I’d make good this threat, and so soon, at that!
We met up at the lovely Egalise St-Germaine-des-Près, walked around the trendy St-Germaine-des-Près area, visited the buzzing Sciences Po building, and bought macaroons at the 150 year old Ladurée, before making our way to the Left Bank of the Seine. After an amazing sunset over the river, the lights came on all the grand old buildings, and it was just so.incredibly.beautiful.
We walked along the river before ending up at the lively Saint-Michel area, where we had pita and kebab for dinner, and then crepes with nutella and banana for dessert. It’s one of my all-time favourite sweet endings for a meal, and for the day.