Wednesday in Paris began like many of our days - with a visit to the bakery down the street from our apartment. It was by far the most intimidating establishment that we frequented, due to the high concentration of Parisians and low concentration of English-speaking American tourists. We struggled through ordering in French then brought the rewards for our hard work (in the form of pain au chocolat) back to the apartment to nourish us before the day's adventures.
Day three in Paris began with a walk through my favorite place again. Yes, the tuilieries. We enjoyed the sun for a bit while my mom took 300 photos of the flowers.
Next, we made our way to Musee L'Orangerie. It is situated in one corner of the tuilieries and is relatively small. It packs a punch and is one of my favorite places we visited. I loved seeing Monet's water lilies series in real life. Pictures and prints just don't do it justice. The basement of the museum also houses some pieces by Picasso, Monet and Manet (among lesser known but wonderful artists). While we were there, we saw an artist mimicking one of the paintings. I snapped a (highly illegal) picture of the action and bought a print of the original in the gift shop.
After spending much longer than expected in L'Orangerie, we made our way back into the tuilieries. My family looked so picture-perfect strolling through the manicured chestnut trees!
We headed to the Musee d'Orsay, which was just across the seine. The d'Orsay was a wonderful museum and I would recommend it over the Louvre any day. It's a former train station and is a sight in and of itself. It's trademarks are two giant windows/clocks on its towers. The fifth floor was filled with impressionist paintings from artists that I had grown up learning about.My sister and I found ourselves making a list of our favorites so that we could order prints when we "grow up." Let me tell you, that list is long!
After our museum adventure, we wandered through the streets until we found a place for lunch. It was a great little italian place. We spoke the little italian that we know with the waiters, which was fun. It was the fourth language we had spoken in two days. That's Europe for you! After eating, we made our way back to the apartment for a rest. Our neighborhood was filled with adorable sidewalk cafes and some great shops. We stopped in on one store, Merci, that is similar to Anthropologie. It also has a "used book cafe" but I didn't get the chance to dine there, unfortunately.
After resting our feet for a moment or two, we decided to head out and explore the city as dusk set in. The Arc du Triomphe is supposed to be wonderful at that time of night, so we hopped on the metro and arrived right at the base of the monument.
The view from the top was quite a site. Paris is a unique mix of quaint quietness and bustling urban living. It fascinates me, and I think I spent close to an hour just looking every which way.
The Champs-Elysees is a major tourist site/street in Paris. We honestly didn't spend to much time on living the luxurious life, but it was pretty amazing to see the traffic from atop the Arc.
As sun was setting, we realized we had yet to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle. We set off at a very brisk pace to catch what we could of the spectacle that happens after sunset for 5 minutes every hour. What still amazes me is how close we could be to the tower without seeing it. It is often blocked from view by buildings and then, BAM! There it is in all its glory.
We walked back to our apartment and admired Paris at night. It really is something special. I couldn't resist the Seine reflecting the magnificent City of Light. With that, I'll end Day Three. How's that for a tutorial on how to fill a day in Paris?