Louvre, Ladurée and Eiffel Tower at Night
Paris Travel Blog› entry 9 of 16 › view all entries
We went back to Stohrer Bakery for croissants, and walked to the Louvre underground mall to get our coffee, using the special secret Louvre entrance next to the archway (special because the security line for the Louvre is a lot shorter from the mall entrance, and it's inside so no waiting in the heal or cold). Although honestly, there was no line by the pyramid, either...too early for tour groups, I guess. We decided to do the Short Attention Span Tour to avoid the art burn-out that we suffered at the Vatican Museum. We checked our coats (I like that the museums in Paris do this for free) and ran off to find the Mona Lisa first.
There were indeed crowds of Japanese tourists, but we were able to get in to see her from a few angles, and get some unobstructed photos.
We ran through the sculpture hall and saw Winged Victory, and then zipped off to see the Venus de Milo, taking a few detours, like the Napoleon Apartments (which were stunning, and I don't remember seeing them before). We took a miss on the painting of the 2 sisters, one tweaking the other's nipple. Don't know the name of it, but every time we saw the direction sign with the photo of that painting on it, we added our soundtrack for the nipple tweak: "Bing!" Between that and our impressions of Keenan Thompson's Jean K.
When we left the Louvre around 11:30am, the sun had come out and we decided to hightail it up to Montmartre to try to take in the view. It was confusing which stop would leave us with the least amount of stairs, or else near the funicular, so we just guessed and got off at the stop on the Clignancourt line right after Barbes-Rochechouart. We walked a bit up the hill, and then saw the massive staircase and decided to have lunch first.
There were 3 or 4 cafes at the bottom of the staircase, so we chose the one that had several couscous entrees. I had merguez, Morgan had the chicken one. Both really good. Then we had enough energy for the damn stairs.
The view was lovely at the top, and nice blue sky as the backdrop for Sacre Coeur Basilica. We checked out the inside, and then wandered over to Place du Tertre to see all the artists. Morgan proclaimed it crap (it is - it's like Disneyland with bad artists...there's a little tourist train and everything), so we kept walking. We stumbled upon two of the windmills on Montmartre, which I had never seen before, and then walked down the hill by Pigalle.
We got back to Passage Jouffroy, where I noticed this cute little shop that wasn't open before - French country style home goods, candles, etc. I saw a little metal sign with a French shopping list on it, with little movbeable tabs for each item. Had to get it. Morgan said he would remind me when we were out of beurrrrrre (butter). Back to Hotel Chopin for a rest and internet.
In the afternoon...already dark out...we stopped into Galeries Lafayette down the street and saw a little stand inside it for Laduree, which is a tea room and bakery, well-known for their macaroons. We took a look and they had all these fantastic flavors, so we had to get a few for our "appetizer": black current/violet, orange blossom, black forest, and my favorite - caramel with sea salt. All of them were fabulous - taste and that slight crunch and chewy texture.
We took the metro to the Champs Elysees for mussels and fries at Leon de Bruxelles, which I remembered to be a pretty inexpensive chain restaurant. Well, it wasn't cheap anymore (about 17-23E for a pot of mussels and a side of fries), but we were already there so we got them. The mussels were fine, but the fries were disappointing.
It was still early, so we took the metro to Trocadero and walked over to the Eiffel Tower and got on the line. They had shut down all but one lift, and the line was about an hour long, but it wasn't cold so we thought, why not. I had never been up there at night.
I thought it was beautiful at night - even better than going up during the day. The lights of the city are lovely, and every hour, the sparkly lights on the tower go on for a few minutes. We went around all three levels and took a bunch of photos. The ice skating rink was still there on the 1st level, but nobody was on it, and I didn't see anywhere to rent skates, and there was a guy hosing it down, so I assume they were done for the evening. It was a pretty small rink, though. The first level had a pretty nice exposition on how the tower has looked over the years. In the 30's, it was used as a huge advertisement for Citroen. They had video of that, and also the amazing fireworks of 2000. We took the elevator down just as the sparkly lights were going on again. Lovely, romantic end to our stay in Paris.
Until we got back to the Passage Jouffroy - which "closes" for the night and you have to ring the buzzer to get back into the hotel, and all the lights are off in the passageway...except for the creepy wax figure promoting the Musee de Grevin wax museum on the side of the Passage. Gave me the heebie-jeebies!