Ya'll, we are worn out! We had such a fantastic day today! We ended up getting in the bed last night about 9:30pm and this morning we were up by 8:30am. We had a wonderful complimentary breakfast in our hotel and made our way to the Arc de Triomphe. We used our two day museum pass to enter the Arc and we climbed the 284 steps to the top. What a beautiful view! All roads seem to lead out from the Arc. It was first commissioned in 1806 following Napoleons victory at Austerlitz the year before. The tomb of the unknown soldier is underneath the Arc honoring the 1.3 million French soldiers who lost their lives in WWII.
Next, we headed down the Champs-Élysées, which is a beautiful tree lined street with a ton of shopping. We are not here to shop so we just enjoyed the views but we did stop at the famous Laudurée which is a French bakery. We purchased 8 macarons of various flavors (they sell about 15,000 a day in their various locations) and found a bench where we sat and enjoyed….yes…every single one of them.
We then headed to the Place de la Concorde. It is the biggest square in the Paris. It was designed in 1755 and it was originally named after King Louis XV. Louis XVI was the first to be guillotined in the square and over the next two years 1343 people lost their heads there as well.
Next we headed to the Musee del'Orangerie where we saw beautiful works of impressionist painters including Monet's Waterlilies in two huge oval rooms. You are completely surrounded by his paintings in these rooms and it is breathtaking. We also saw paintings by Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso and Renoir, among others. After the museum we headed to the Jardin des Tuileries where we enjoyed the beautiful gardens and a tasty lunch at one of the cafés. Of course we had some wonderful wine with lunch…when in FRANCE!!!
Our next stop was one of our absolute favorites. I am not sure any sight we see from now on will compare to it, The Palais Garnier (The Paris Opera House). There is no way to describe the opulence of the décor here. It was breathtaking. Take a look at our blog to see some of the pictures. Geno and I rented an audio device which was an ipad that had Bluetooth headphones and we learned so much by listening to the tour. We saw the Phantom of the Opera's booth and some beautiful costumes and so many things I can't even describe. When you go to Paris this MUST be a stop for you!
After the Opera House we headed to the Galeries Lafayette. This is basically a HUGE department store but we really just went in for the rooftop view. On top of this department store is a beautiful rooftop bar and large area of seating where you can relax and enjoy the view.
By this time it was around 5:30pm and we had on our schedule that the Louvre Museum was next. Our feet said PLEASE NO!!! But…..it was one the LIST! So we headed to the Jardin des Tuileries and found four chairs…two for our rears and two for our feet and we sat for about 45 minutes and relaxed.
Last stop of the day was The Louvre. The Louvre is one of the world's largest museums and there are nearly 35,000 objects on display there. It is so huge, it would literally take days to see every object. We decided we would see the masterpieces that were must sees and call it a day. We used our museum pass for the third time today and we also got an audio guide. We each had a Nintendo 3DS. You could choose the type of tour and as you walked it tracked your location using GPS and would tell you about the pieces you saw. Some of the highlights of the tour were, of course, the Mona Lisa, Aphrodite (Venus de Milo), The Wedding Feast at Cana, The Coronation of the Emperor Napoleon.
Needless to say, we were DONE for the day! About 8:30pm and started walking home to find dinner. We had a wonderful dinner on the way home and now we are in our room ready to fall into bed. Tomorrow brings another full day of Parisian adventure!