The day after The Walkening I went on a veritable tourism rampage. It will be hard to top by any human ever.
I woke up early and ate enough free hostel breakfast to feed a small family of walruses (lifehack: take advantage of free food) before immediately setting out for Notre Dame. I could tell you how big these things are, or describe the stained glass or whatever. But to be honest, I don’t have any unique insights into things like Notre Dame. It’s Notre Dame; the world famous cathedral. So I’ll let some pictures do the talking. Also, my last post took way too long to write, I’ll never catch up if I go into such detail!
After Notre Dame was Sainte Chappelle, which is less well known, but equally impressive. It used to be the private chapel for French royalty and has all original glass, original statues and original paint on the statues, which I’m told, is extremely rare.
Next on the list was La Concierge, a prison that was used to house people (including Marie Antoinette) during the French revolution. My butter knife was confiscated by security here, I’ve been using my teaspoon for all cutlery requirements since.
After I’d had my fill of La Concierge I walked to the Pantheon (not the one in Greece). I’ve seen a lot of impressive architecture in Paris, but the Pantheon is something else entirely. I was blown away by the scale of it all. South Africa just simply doesn’t have anything like this. The Voortrekker Monument is pretty big, but it pales in comparison to something like the Pantheon. Everything about it just screams big and grand. Plus it’s right there in the middle of the city, like, next to some dude’s house. I also discovered that there is a crypt beneath the Pantheon where many famous figures are buried. I explored that for a while too. I briefly played with the idea visiting the Paris catacombs during my trip, but then decided I’d probably hate it (I’m squeemish).
Next up, I stopped briefly at the Odeon Theater on my to the Luxembourg Gardens. Pretty sure a better way to experience it would be to see a production though (stay tuned for more world class insights).
To understate their niceness, I will say that the Luxembourg Gardens are really quite nice. Paris is full of amazing parks and gardens. I had lunch there, explored a bit, and stumbled across the most intense chess match I’ve ever seen.
Following lunch, I made my way to the Musée d’Orsay, which is the famous impressionist art gallery. The one thing I did get out of my almost entirely useless high school art classes was a bunch of art history knowledge and an accompanying appreciation. It was really fun wandering around and repeatedly coming across famous paintings and mentally shouting “Hey! It’s that thing! Cool!”. I also really like impressionism. I still remember a school project I did on Claude Monet back in like, grade four or so. It was also whilst waiting to get into the Orsay that I got the news about Stugan (thanks free wifi!). I spent the whole time practically skipping around the museum unable to believe how great my life is right now! Is there anyone on the planet having a better day than me right now!?
After the Orsay I went to another museum you might have heard of: the Musée du Louvre. A handy pro-tip I got from the previous day’s tour is that the Lourve is open at night on Wednesdays and Fridays, but not a lot of people know or expect this. And sure enough (it was now 6pm on a Friday) it was waaaaay less crowded than we passed by the day before.
The Louvre was completely overwhelming. It is massive and labyrinthian in places. Every room has anything from 10 to 50 exhibits and there are hundreds of rooms. It is quite literally impossible to take in everything there. So you you wander wide-eyed for actual kilometers, only stopping briefly for a closer look when something catches your attention. I spent three exhausting hours experiencing the Louvre. It was fantastic.
I had also planned to visit Le Palais Royale, which was nearby. But I had ran out of time and (more pressingly) energy, so I went home to sleep. I was still buzzing about Stugan and all the amazing things I had seen. What a day! I’m so lucky.