Welcome back to our week in Paris! In case you missed it, you can find our first day in Paris in this post. In this post, we’re taking a walk through our museum-filled day.
The weather throughout our trip was chilly, but not freezing, with patches of rain scattered about each day. This didn’t stop us from doing anything on our list, but we had to be a bit more strategic about our outerwear and our schedule. Our second day, the rainiest in the forecast, was our museum day. Don’t let these photos fool you, not five minutes after I took these pictures a giant swath of black clouds covered the sky and opened up on us, with 19 mph winds coming from all directions.
Because of all of the terrorist attacks Paris has had in the past few years, security was high and there were lots of police roaming the streets. This made us feel safe, but also meant that all of the lines for museums and churches were outside of the buildings in the elements. Although we arrived before the museum opened, we still waited in a long line in the very windy, very rainy weather to get into the famous glass pyramid. The Louvre is full of wonderful, famous, historic art, housed in an old palace. Unfortunately, there is so much to see that rather than it was overwhelming and very confusing to get through the maze of a palace, which wasn’t originally built to be a museum. While it is famous and highly acclaimed, it wasn’t our favorite attraction on the trip, and I wouldn’t recommend it to a novice museumgoer.
After a café lunch and a jaunt through Palais Royal, we walked to Angelina Patisserie for some hot chocolate. In true Parisian fashion, we drank our sipping chocolate while walking past the iconic green lounge chairs in the Jardins des Tuileries to Musée L’Orangerie. As I mentioned in my first post, one of our goals on the trip was to find the best hot chocolate. I’ll list our thoughts on all of the hot chocolate we tried in a later blog post, but the famous Angelina’s hot chocolate was highly recommended. The French don’t mess around with their chocolat chaud. Angelina’s hot chocolate was a thick, rich sipping chocolate, and was definitely a treat, but great for a winter walk across the park.
After our unfulfilling experience at the Louvre we were wary to try another museum. I’m so glad we stuck it out and went to Musée L’Orangerie. For such a small museum, it was beautifully organized and contained amazing art. The museum is known for housing Monet’s Water Lilies, but is also home to many works of art by Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, and more. The building was originally built to house orange trees in the winter, but was updated after World War I to exhibit art, with a room specifically designed by Monet himself for his Water Lilies panels. It was an amazing experience and we all agreed that we enjoyed it so much more than the Louvre.
We ended the day at an old restaurant that served typical French food, followed by a walk around a small, but bustling, square near our apartment, where we grabbed crepes and gelato to cap off a busy, but rewarding day. Throughout the trip, we learned that the French take their time at meals, and servers expect you to spend hours and hours at the table. This was new for our family, but really did make the meal more relaxing and more enjoyable, granted, we were on vacation, so I don’t know that this I would necessarily feel this way if we switched our meal structure during our regular weekday schedules, but it was something to contemplate. One of my favorite things to do during these hours around the table was discuss each of our favorite memories from the day. This was a great way to reflect on the day and look back on what other people enjoyed that I may not have previously thought about in depth and something I would love to continue on future trips.
Check back for the next (and last) post on our Paris trip!