After arriving in Paris, we got settled in at our hotel before wandering around the gardens outside of the Louvre. We had purchased timed tickets for entrance so were passing the time until we could enter. I would highly recommend purchasing tickets by the way as the line at the Louvre can get very long! They also have late opening nights (such as the evening we visited) which is helpful for seeing the museum in the later evenings. We were fortunate to have gone our first day, as they actually closed the Louvre the following day to move objects in the basement and ground floor due to flooding on the Seine. The typical sightseeing boats weren’t on the river as the water levels were quite high and there was lots of rushing water.
At the Louvre, we started out seeing the three ladies – Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace- then just wandered. This was my third time at this enormous museum so I was open to seeing where my S.O. would lead us. Our first wandering spot was Napoleon’s apartments which I hadn’t seen before. They were magnificent! We of course saw the Egyptian section as well. Ever since I went to Egypt though, I’ve decided that nothing compares to actually being there.
One thing I’ve found fascinating in my different visits to the Louvre has been how the rules and the display regarding Mona have changed. My first time, she was just hung on the wall with a small barrier around her. Being taller, I could see her quite easily and I took photos for my friends. The next time, the Da Vinci Code book had come out and her popularity picked up quite a bit. They had a display that I believe was different from the existing one, however, photos were not allowed as everyone was shuffled through. Now they have a more open display and photos are allowed.
After wandering around the Louvre for 3 hours we were ready to eat (and drink!). I suggested the Hard Rock (I know, I know…) mainly because it has a fun atmosphere and wasn’t too far away. It turns out my S.O. had never been to one before! As always, there was a wait, so we grabbed some drinks from the bar as the live band set played and headed outside to the covered patio area. It was raining so apparently people didn’t want to be outside. We had a divine time just chatting and watching people while waiting for our table.
The next morning, we again took a free walking tour (here’s the link again). Here’s what we learned:
When Napoleon was redoing the city, or rather recreating the city, he was planning on getting rid of the Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s Gothic style didn’t fit into his vision for the modern, stylish city of Paris. Word of these plans reached the artistic community. A writer, Victor Hugo (do you see where this story is going yet?), wrote a story about the Cathedral so that it could be memorialized and loved by not only Parisians but all who read his story, thus meaning that Napoleon would no longer be able to knock down the beloved Cathedral. The story? The Hunchback of Notre Dame of course! Since made famous by Disney.
Our visit to the city of Paris was brief and we just saw the highlights right in the heart of the city. Of course there are many more place to see and visit! We were headed to a very important one next… 🙂