Following up on my Paris 2017 Part I. Part II is about museums, monuments and parcs.
Museums & Monuments:
We decided to go with the Paris Museum Pass because we worked the numbers of where we wanted to go, when we wanted to go, and individual prices. It’s definitely worth looking into some places have priority entry for them which made it worthy the money alone in my opinion.
Palace of Versailles vast, ornate and spectacular. I always knew it was a large, grand scale but I could not have possibly fathomed in my mind how big. Admission is included in the museum pass but because we went on the weekend, Easter Sunday to be exact, we needed extra garden passes to see the fountains. Luckily, the ticket office gave us some tips on starting in the back of the property with Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate. I recommend even if you have a ticket stop by to ask about crowd flow and what they recommend you do first. We walked from the train station to the back. After spending some time there and wondering through those gardens, we rode the Little Train from Trianon Palace to the main gardens. The train first made a stop along the Grand Canal before it dropped us off inside the Gardens. We somehow bypassed the line going from the main Palace to the Gardens by doing this. We snapped a few quick pictures inside the Gardens with the fountains flowing and music singing. Proceeded to the front of the grounds to stand in line to access the main Palace. I ran to grab some food for us. I had hoped to have a picnic in the Gardens but time simply did not allow. We stood in line for roughly 2 hours I think. There was concern that we would not make it in before they cut off the line. We made it in then sped through to get to the Hall of Mirrors. Breath-taking. We then wandered some throughout the Palace. Since we were there around closing I was able to capture a few pictures with no people in them which is one of my favorite things. I wish we had stopped the Royal Stables. Versailles is on my must do list. It was not before we went but I am so glad we did. This is the one thing we did that pleasantly surprised me the most. Get there before they open if you want to not have to speed tour like we did. But rest assured it would take multiple days to fully explore all of the grounds.
Sainte-Chapelle was Ryan’s favorite and me well how can I possibly chose? A recommendation from the Rick Steves series on Hulu, it certainly was illuminous. The stained glass is spectacular and puts this in the must do list. It is interesting that there is a government building almost surrounding it, so security is tighter than other places. There are also free bathrooms inside the square area that were open on one of our visits. We went twice once on a cloudy day to make sure we saw it and again on a sunny day. The museum pass gets you in. Priority entry at the entrance of the church but not priority through the security check point which you enter first.
Arc de Triomphe time this right so you can watch the sunset then see the Eiffel Tower sparkle for the first time that night. We did not plan that but it just worked out that way and I highly recommend it. The Eiffel Tower provides sweeping views of the city but I like the closer more human view from here and Notre Dame.
Notre Dame the inside is impressive but climb the bell towers for the most impressive view in the city. We got into line about 15 minutes after they opened for the day. The line was already long by the time we got there but shorter than the afternoon before when we visited the inside of the cathedral. Little did we know the line would be the perfect amount to have us ascending the last stairs just as noon came cue all the magical bells. They rang the entire time we were up there. It was pleasant not too loud. The view is a human sized view. You can really see and point out different things and areas. I also loved capturing the gargoyles in the photographs. Must do is climbing the bell towers, more so than going inside the cathedral. Also you will want to watch “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.
Musée de l’Armée houses many different areas including Napolean’s Tomb. We visited here one day simply because we were close and it was included in our Museum Pass.
Musee d’Orsay is home to many Impressionist. Monet, Van Gough, Rodin and Degas just to name a few. The museum building was once a train station but for it was abandoned and ultimately restored. They do offer priority entrance with the Museum pass but the line was still long.
Musee de l’Orangerie boast one of my favorite art collections in the world, Monet’s Waterlillies. We actually visited this last year since I wanted to see them so badly. We attempted even to go back this trip but once the line was long and we just did not make it back sadly. Luckily, this museum is smaller so it can easily be completed in a couple of hours maybe even less depending on your desire to linger. In 2016, we went close to closing time, walked right in and had plenty of time. Must do.
The Thinker sits among the flowers and trees at Musee Rodin while he ponders bothe great and small things in life. Other Rodin masterpieces stand guard over the grounds. Paintings and smaller sculptures rest inside. We visited early one morning while the sun was shining and the crowds were light.
The Louvre is expansive. We spent about a half day here but I imagine you could spend weeks here. Winged Victory was my favorite piece. I love a beautiful painting but there is something so life-like and sensual about a sculpture. Again the pass lets you skip some line.
Disneyland Paris I am admittedly a Disney junkie BUT I had a hard time reconciling going to Disneyland while we were in a city with beauty and history as rich as Paris. Ryan and I had a discussion about what to do and ultimately disagreed but I am glad we went. We have now been to three out of six Disney castles. I would like to visit Shanghai Disneyland one day. If you are an avid Disney junkie, I will not convince you to go or not, your mind is already made up. If you are an average Disney lover, unless you have unlimited time and money then you probably are better off spending your time and money elsewhere. It was neat to compare the three parks we have visited, but ultimately it lacked the Disney magic we all know and love. It just seemed disappointing to me. The food, fast passes and special Disney flair was lacking comparatively to the American counterparts.
Ginverny and Monet’s gardens is the one thing I really wanted to do but we simply ran out of time. Monet’s paintings make my heart flutter and I would love to see his inspirational gardens.
Eiffel Tower is something we did not do this trip because we did it the last time we were in Paris for about 24 hours. Seeing the Eiffel Tower from many vantage points around town and an up close visit is a must do, but I would not rate “climbing” it as a must do. I favored the the city views from the arch and Notre Dame tower, instead. I also feel Paris pictures should included the Eiffel Tower not be captured from it. If it is for you I highly recommend a skip the line ticket.
Many of the famous museums are located throughout Jardin des Tuileries so chances are you will be strolling through at some point.
Coulee verte Rene-Dumont is an elevated park on old railway tracks. The entrance points are hard to find and I am not sure where they are to tell you. We had a hard time finding them but eventually did. I also remember being really cold that day. Not really a picnic park but just a cool concept with lots of locals strolling along.
Parc Monceau was my favorite parc. We had a picnic here. Definitely a local spot. Free restrooms and outstanding surroundings within.
Jardin du Luxembourg is somewhere I wanted to go but we did not make it there.
There are little green spaces all over Paris which I love.