Exploring the Louvre & Montmartre
We picked a rainy Friday evening to explore the Louvre. Limited crowds, good ambiance, and free admission for those under 26. My budget for the day was going well! (So I thought).
We had a goal to see the big three: Venus De Milo, Mona Lisa, and the Winged Victory. We must've missed the maps on the way in because it was pretty hard to find one, but finally Corey held up a pamphlet "I found a map. Only problem: It's in Mandarin." So of course, we ended up in completely different part of the museum than we meant to be in.
This turned out to be a good misdirection as we ended up looking at Marie Antoinette-era living room decor, Charlemagne's sword, and ceilings adorned with renaissance frescos. I imagine that there are worse things than getting lost in the Louvre.
Eventually, we discovered a map in English and made our way to the Mona Lisa. We knew better than to try to fight the crowd of selfie sticks, and we still managed a good view.
We were most impressed by the Winged Victory. According to the signs you are meant to take in the best view of the statue by standing center left. At this angle you can see Victory's energy bursting forward and the detail of her drapery.
Corey was a fan of the Venus De Milo.
After spending two hours in the museum, we sat out in the courtyard surrounded by the Palais De Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. But I have to say that we were more interested in fight that broke out a few yards away from us. We saw someone get punched in the face and someone throwing a chair. Pretty exciting stuff.
Didn't get a picture of the fight (seemed too Jerry Springer), but I did manage one of the glass pyramid.
We began to wander around the area when raincloud swept over us. Luckily we found shelter (and beer) in a cafe where the waitress was very happy to be serving Americans.
The next morning we hopped on the metro to head to Montmartre, the district famous for the towering basilica of Sacre Coeur. The train dropped us off on a sloping street dotted with vendors flashing studded "I Love Paris" t-shirts and Eiffel tower keychains. On the way up (and for Sacre Coeur you have to walk up) Corey got accosted by several men trying to do a street trick involving a string wrapped around their finger. It seems there are three main tasks for street vendors: Finger-string trick, carrying a ring of keychains, or selling water. So far the water hustlers have gotten the most of my money.
The view was well worth the climb.
We made it to the very top and went left down the crooked cobblestone streets of Montmartre. This area is as beautiful as it is touristy. That means sitting at one of the crowded cafes was out of our price range. So we found a little shop with sandwiches for 5 euro. Corey and I swore that the next day we'd break our ham and cheese streak.
We did, however, splurge on some decadent gelato at Tutti Sensi. I went for the Nutella flavor. No regrets.
We went back down in the opposite direction and swerved in and out of shops. Our favorite place was Halle Saint Pierre, a multi-functioning shop in a glamorous art deco building. Here you can find an art workshop, library, and cafe all-in-one.
After Montmartre we decided to go out in our neighborhood. This is where my perfect budget went downhill. I won't go into too much detail as Corey is working on a nightlife post - but we did get a chance to watch the Madrid v Italy game in a pub.
We drunkenly cheered on Ronaldo with the crowd. When he scored the people around me started talking excitedly at me... I learned that simply responding with "Oui!" can get you far.
Stay tuned for more on Paris. In the meantime, subscribe below to get occasional updates when we post. À bientôt!