After landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport at about 9pm, we had to take the RER B train into the city and switch to the metro line to get to our hotel at Anvers. There was a little bit of drama at the train station. Advice that we received from a stranger led to us (unknowingly) buying a 12-hour ticket in addition to the one from the airport. It’s kind of crazy thinking about it in hindsight because why did he advise us to buy a 12-hour ticket at night? It wasn’t like he was scamming us, so really, it must have been an oversight on his (and our) part.
We had four nights at Avenir Hotel. No major complaints there except what had attracted us to book this hotel in the first place didn’t come to pass. Reviews mentioned breakfast in bed and great views of the Sacre Coeur. Well, breakfast, at six euros per person for a cup of coffee and a croissant, was nothing to shout about, and views were great only from the higher floors – we were on the second. What was cool though was the balcony where we could sit and watch Parisians go by. We were in Montmarte and it was really atmospheric.
The next morning, we headed to the Louvre. Gladys and I got in for free because we had our ISIC youth cards. We were expecting to pay a discounted rate at the very least but the ticket lady said we could go in for free!
Anyway, we spent quite a bit of time there and I got really tired. I think that was when our jetlag set in, more often than not, three days after the change in time. Once again, I was learning that museums and art galleries can really take its toll because after British Museum and the Louvre, I felt tired and, sadly, devoid of amazement at the exhibits and paintings.
Some exhibits I had seen in 2007, and others I either missed or were new ones. The thing about museums is that the collections are so vast that a visitor really needs to focus on a few things, a few sections where the most important pieces are at, instead of quickly glossing over the entire museum. There’s just too much to take in and in order to go in depth into what the art pieces and historical artefacts mean to society, it takes time – months and years to truly research and understand. It’s really hard to do so as a tourist, especially one with little to no knowledge of art history.
Photography of the Mona Lisa painting wasn’t allowed when I first visited the Louvre in 2007 but it is allowed now that the painting is protected by a glass covering. Mademoiselle Mona Lisa needs to have her complexion protected from the camera flashes.
Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe
Once we got out of the Louvre, there are some recognizable landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe du Carousel and the Tuileries Garden. The garden is a lovely spot to sit at with a baguette and a cafe au lait, while watching Parisians or tourists go by. Further northwest, you’ll soon come to Place de la Concorde, an open square steeped in history. Marie Antoinette was famously hanged here on the guillotine that was erected by the revolutionary government. Also notable are the Egyptian Luxor Obelisk, the two fountains and La Madeleine.
We continued on to Champs Elysees as the girls wanted to check out the Louis Vuitton flagship store. Of course, Champs Elysees is the most iconic boulevard in France, with perfectly manicured trees lined up along it and leading to the Arc de Triomphe. It had been a really productive day for us, our first day in Paris spent visiting the Louvre and Champs Elysees.