Our first full day in Paris happened to fall on the first Sunday of the month. This meant that a number of Paris' museums were free to the public. We set off early from our cozy little flat in the 15th arrondissement to surpass some of the crowds. After a quick stop at our favorite Bakery near Sevres - Lecourbe we arrived at the beautiful Musee d'Orsay on the River Seine.
I was most excited to explore this historic museum (once the Gare d'Orsay railway station built in 1898) since I missed it on my first trip to Paris back in 2010. I new that the building was beautiful and that it housed the largest collection of impressionist paintings in the world. We skipped through a relatively short line and went directly to the museum's unique vantage point of Paris.
Call me Ali in Wonderland because this clock tower captured my heart and set this day apart as one of my favorites of all time. This trip was already a once in a lifetime adventure for Jeff and I and starring out at the city through this 100 year old time piece is forever crystallized in my mind.
Soon after this moment Jeff and I found ourselves lost in a sea of Impressionist masterpieces. From Edgar Degas' The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer to Monet's Nymphéas bleus (Blue Water Lilies) the Museum had many of my favorites in one place.
Degas "Blue Dancers" & "Ballet Rehearsal on Stage" Gustave Caillebotte's "The Floor Scrapers"
I have always loved Impressionism and was mesmerized by Monet even as a young girl. There is a musical quality to the art, it moves something in side you without a scientific explanation. It is true soul-touching art...like being inside a dream or something. We made our way from the exquisite portraits to the model arts on the floors below.
Jeff is a huge fan of sculpture and I often lost him as he wondered through the rows and rooms of the grand concourse while he snapped these impressive models.
Carpeaux' "The Four Parts of the World" Clesinger's "Woman Bitten by a Snake"
Bartholdi's "Libery Enlightening the World"
I was very impressed by the architecture displays made home in the museum, including a cross-sectional model of Charles Garnier's Paris Opera House and a glass viewing floor room over a model of Paris city and the historic Opera House.
We spent the entire morning and into the afternoon moseying about that whimsical and wondrous museum and before we knew it we were late for a very important date. The time had come for tea, or in our case hot chocolate from renowned Angelina. We made our way across the river and through the Jardin des Tuileries towards this sweet restaurant on the Rue de Rivoli.
Hot Chocolate happens to be my favorite delicacy in the entire world, and Angelina did not disappoint. Our visit was like another dream for me all together. Tempted by the Tearoom we opted to stay there for our lunch. Angelina was founded in 1903 and is known around the world for it's divine desserts and African Hot Chocolates. Jeff indulged in a more savory dish while I ordered my favorites, French Onion Soup and a piping pitcher of chocolate.
This was in fact the BEST HOT CHOCOLATE I HAVE EVER HAD. It was rich but not too rich and warmed my happy little heart the entire lunch hour. Naturally, I would have been mad not to bring home a tin of this miracle cocoa. We passed through the pastry room on our way out, gawking at the infamous Mont-Blancs and Eclairs.
In the late afternoon we found ourselves tumbling down another rabbit hole at the Louvre Museum. The design and aesthetic of this museum (the largest in the world) cannot be missed. It combines the modern with the ornate in such a grand way.
Unfortunately the Louvre is only free the first Sunday from November to March and with only 1.5 hours until closing - we opted to skip the galleries. We still enjoyed losing ourselves amongst the ground floor lobby attractions and in the plaza of this 200+ year old Museum. To simply BE in these storybook buildings is a treasure. With only a couple of spots to see that day, Jeff and I could really lose ourselves in Wonderland. We began to see that the key to a successful day out is a short but beautiful agenda.
This is the gorgeous face of one contented traveler. Stay tuned for more of our European Travel Diaries coming soon!
~ A ~