art art palace art (and other Paris hacks)

Hello again blogging world I am back from a very lovely spring break. I first went to Jerusalem, Israel, where my brother lives, and then together we went to Paris, France.

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quick list of things we did:

  • Eiffel Tower free (fee to go up)
  • Arc de Triomphe free (fee to go up)
  • Musée d’Orsay free with European student visa
  • Musée Picasso free with European student visa
  • Palace of Versailles minimum 20 euros
  • The Louvre free with European student visa
  • Musée de L’orangerie free with European student visa
  • Tuileries Garden free
  • Luxembourg Garden
  • Conciergerie discounted with European student visa
  • Notre Dame not sure of price
  • Petit Palais free

(while everything is amazing, highlighted in blue are my top recommendations)

All of the above was done in between walking along the Seine and hearing street musicians or exploring vintage shops and the most delicious cafes! I was in Paris nearly a week and it did not feel like nearly enough time, though looking up at my list I really did get a lot done.

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My brother and I stayed in a cute little airbnb with a balcony in Le Marais, which is a historic district with the narrow cobblestone streets and old shops that I live for.

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sunrise from our balcony overlooking part of Le Marais district

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The majority of this trip consisted of visiting art museums, which to be quite honest, is usually not my scene. However, these museums were absolutely exquisite! My favorite was Musée d’Orsay which is located in an old train station. The layout of the museum is what I liked most, and the art was stunning as well. It is in the museum that you will find a crowd of people taking pictures of van Gogh’s famous self portrait.

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The Louvre was unlike any museum I’ve ever seen. Though I had no idea where to begin since there is a painting or statue or artifact at every turn, I did not find the experience overwhelming. I spent about 3.5 hours there, and while I saw most of the exhibits and rooms I wished to, I am certain there were still more hours worth of art to see. We saw artifacts from Ancient Egypt and Greece, the works of Monet, da Vinci, Manet, Renoir, Botticelli, and tons more. Seeing so much art almost made me feel like a master in the subject.

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The Picasso Muesum was also quite nice and offers great insight into European history through Picasso’s works. Above is Guernica

The impeccable Versailles Palace is also a must see. My brother and I did Versailles and the Louvre on the same day and boy were we tired, but it was well worth it. Versailles is only an 30 minute bus ride from the city center. I recommend getting a pass that includes the gardens as well as the palace; both of which seem to streth out infinitely. Each room had the most beautiful wall paper, and the ceilings were painted with rich images, often depicting Greek mythology which had greatly interested King Louis XIV. Parts of the gardens are literally like a maze with a main path and tons of little dirt tracks spreading out through the trees. There are several man-made bodies of water as well, and had we had more time we could have rented a row boat.

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The Tuileries Garden was one of my favorite places, and I was glad I made it there on a sunny day. Right by one of the entrances is a big fountain with mini sail boats—it looked like a scene out of Stuart Little. Pretty plants decorated the garden from vibrant flowers to long vines wrapped around old stone statues. A long lawn runs through the center, and if you were to walk up some steps you could find several mini restaurants as well as people practicing tai chi or meditation.

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The Eiffel Tower on a rainy day (it rained quite a lot while I was there but I don’t mind rain) is quite a site, but the Eiffel Tower at night gives off celestial vibes. It glows an orangey-yellow, and brightens the entire city, like a beacon. Then every hour on the hour it sparkles for five minutes. The flashes resemble a meteor shower, if perhaps you were to fast forward it, and slightly more spastic. Then at 1am the light festivities end and the tower blends in with the night sky.

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Lastly, one of the best moments was eating a crêpe from a street vendor in Paris. It truly was the best crêpe I’ve ever had, covered in nutella, speculoos (Lotus), bananas, strawberries, and whipped cream. Those tend to be the usual ingredients for me, so what really different must have been the dough. While I enjoyed all the baked goods I tried, I really just cannot wait to return to Paris one day and have another crêpe.

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