Without further ado, I will preach on about how to experience the (limited) best that Paris has to offer. (part 1 can be found here)
Château de Versailles
Beautiful and majestic palace, only a short 30 min ride outside the city, counting for a fun day trip.
Long story short, there was one line for every person regarding if they had booked a ticket or not, through A SINGLE DOOR, for security reasons. My estimate on the waiting time was around 3 hours. My question as to why they do not have another door open with a second security check went (guess what) unanswered, so I left as I came and did not come back. I did get the best souvenirs in the shops in Versailles, as the ones in Paris were too tacky for my taste.
Layout is a bit off as it combines many eras and styles of art. Just small enough so it does not become overwhelming.
Musée Du Louvre
The best thing about this museum is that is has lockers, unlike most of them.
And that’s about it.
The Louvre is an absolute NIGHTMARE. From its layout you understand Minotaur is hiding in the midst and that makes you a bit nervous, as expected. Don’t ask me about the pyramid in front, I honestly have no idea what it is about. I drank a hideous coffee in the shop and began my climb, in 3.5 hours I had managed to see 1500 heads in front of the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and Aphrodite of Melos. And that’s about it. Of course there are many many more artifacts around, but they are so many they go unnoticed. Plus, while looking for a specific era, I got lost in the stairwell and got a mind panic attack as there was no one around to help me and no sign pointing to the exit other than the map in my hand. Yes, it is as bad as it sounds. I managed to land in the place below, caught my breath and trudged on towards the exit.
Montmartre – Georges Pompidou
I actually asked for help at this point, as it was my last day in Paris and I was so annoyed by the experience so far that I just had to take it up a notch. The most useful advise that followed was : Stop trying to make Paris something that it is not. Ignore Parisians, stop rushing and take a stroll. Oh, did you visit Montmartre yet?
Okay, fair enough. Off was and indeed, that was the best day. Montmartre is uphill from Pompidou anyway, so I started there and walked on. It did take hours, as it was supposed to be a leisure stroll, and I did some light shopping in between too, but it was totally worth it. The shops were cute, people were not rushing and not crowding either, and I got to see the human side of Paris with street food and cute cafes. Also, despite me not being a huge fan of modern art, this was the second best art experience as they do have very interesting samples and the clean cut design is admirable. Plus, from the top of the escalator before you enter the gallery, you have one of the best views of the city.
The House of Delacroix
To me those are the most poignant experiences, actually tracing the steps of artists. I would classify this as a hidden gem, not easy to find and not a lot of art but soothing vibe.
The line was always huge so I did not enter.
Jardins Du Luxembourg
Worth it, even out of season.
To sum it up, maybe the myth had it right on the first place; Paris is a huge work of art but it has to be leisure in order to be appreciated. It looks way better in pictures than in real life, and the best places are the ones that are least appreciated – at least from where I was standing. Expect huge lines and crass attitude, so take long walks in order to diffuse this tension. Use a lot of Foursquare to find the best places and croissants to eat and try local wines.
And that’s that folks. Happy Parising!