So, today was a pretty fantastic and busy day. I started my day at the Louvre – which is the first ever public museum in Europe, and is the largest in the world – I knew I needed a focus, because you could spend years in the Louvre, and not see everything it has to offer. The palace itself is a masterpiece in its own right, as you can see in this room: http://360.io/zPKy6d
The Louvre was once the home of France Royalty, and has an interesting history, which you can see here.
But, back to my visit – I knew I couldn’t see everything, and I wanted to hit the highlights, but the Louvre is massive – so I decided to download the free Rick Steeve’s Audio tour – and use it to guide my exploration.
This was a good plan – the Louvre is overwhelming, and this tour allowed me to see the highlights, and learn a little history about the paintings, the museum and the artists. (I also sort of used his guide in the Orsay).
After thoroughly enjoying my time in the Louvre, I headed to a close site, and another museum, Le Orangerie, which thankfully is a very small museum, but the highlight of the visit was Monet’s beautiful series of paintings, Water Lilies. They were breathtaking and are displayed so well in the museums oval shaped rooms. I failed at pictures here, (too many tourists) but they were just beautiful, and to think about them in a historical perspective, as Monet felt the world needed something beautiful to reflect on and contemplate after the devastation of WWI.
I left the museum artistically fulfilled, and grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading to my next stop, a French Wine Tasting. This was lovely, and apparently the sommelier really liked me, because I certainly got to try more than my alloted 3 wine samples – they were brilliant!
After the wine tasting, I ventured back to Joy’s to chill out a bit before our next adventure.
We started our evening at Bethany’s flat, where she had prepared some fabulous snacks and things for us to have before heading to the Bal de Pompiers – a French Bastille Day tradition. In each Arrondissement (district) in Paris, the firemen (pompiers) hold a ball to raise money for their charity, and these are quite the party – it was such a cool experience – not only because there were LOTS of firemen there! 😉
The live band was interesting, and played a huge variety of music, both english pop and french music, and it was excellent people watching and observing. I loved that this was truly an intergenerational event (at least early on) as families, older couples, young adults and everyone in between enjoyed the party together.
We finally left at about 1:00, but their were still people coming into the party at that time, and from what we understand, the parties often last until 4:00 in the morning – but we certainly were not in for all that excitement.
It was a great day, and tomorrow we get to partake in Bastille day celebrations.