As usual I woke up, had my breakfast and my shower and packed my stuff for the day. I also got to know my roommate Flo. He is from France but lived in South Africa for the last 6 months. He went to Paris to find a flat and start the next step for his life. We arranged to meet up for a dinner tonight. Then I went to the Louvre. Armed Police was everywhere. I couldn’t find the entrance to the Louvre so I got all of my courage together to ask one of the police men and they were quite friendly and showed me the way.
The entrance was under the big pyramid. It was pretty empty in there, just a few people were going around and no queues at all. I really liked that. And I also had no entrance fee to pay, because I am still under 25. I got so excited when I entered the first room, that I couldn’t think about anything other than to see the Mona Lisa’s smile! But first of all I got into a room with big stairs. And in there I saw the great La Victoire de Samothrace: a winged statue standing on the top of a ship. It looked really beautiful!
Then I got into the hall with the paintings. I ignored all of them and just looked out for Mona Lisa. And then I found the room. There she was in the middle of the big room, guarded with 2 people.
I was trying to see her, but it did not really work out as I thought. It was not possible to get near her. I was like 3 meters away and the painting was so small. How could I enjoy seeing her when I couldn’t get near her like with the other paintings? It was the most disappointing thing I have ever seen! Not only this, in the room were only 10 more people. Usually the room is full of people, but this time it was simply empty. It was a bit weird and scary at the same time. The attack the week before had a huge impact on tourism.
After I saw Mona Lisa I went around the other rooms and saw a lot of great paintings, Egyptian, Roman and Greek artifacts, thousands of sculptures and very famous things like The Dying Slave, Winged Bull and Sainte Marie Madeleine. I also have to say I have never seen so many naked people in one place before.
It took me around 4 hours to see most of the Louvre but there is still more to see. If you want to see all of it I would say you should plan at least 1 to 2 days for it. But for the famous parts it is enough to plan 4 to 6 hours.
From the Louvre I got back to the hostel and met Flo again. We made some plans for the Dinner that night and he also told me he was going to be looking for flats that day. Later I went out again to the next Metro Station. I left the Metro again at the Concorde station.
When I got out of the station I saw a nice Egyptian Obelisk. It was nothing special, except it was from Egypt. Then I walked all way up towards Arc De Triumphe on the Avenue des Champs. On the street was a Christmas Market. I ate a Crepe there and looked for some souvenirs for friends. Everybody was nice to me! The people were greeting me and answered all my questions always very nicely and polite. After the Christmas market I went to the shopping mile and got a salmon sandwich.
And last but not least I got to the Arc De Triumphe. I had to go through a tunnel, because it is in the middle of a huge roundabout. The entrance was for free, but it was also full with armed police. I went to the top -just 283 steps – and had a wonderful view all over Paris! Because of the rain, it was not possible to see the whole Eiffel tower, the upper part of it was covered in clouds. But it still looked nice, especially the streets. It looked like they originated there and went all over Paris. There were also a few tourists there who ask me to take photos of them, which I did.
Then I went all the way back to the ground and walked towards the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur. I walked from the Avenue de Courcelles to the Boulevard de Courcelles and from there I got the Avenue de Clichy instead of the Boulevard de Clichy. I was walking on that street for a while till I figured out that I was walking down the mountain instead of up the mountain, so I had a look at the map and saw my mistake. So I asked some Guys on the street what would be the best way back to the Boulevard and they showed me a way. The way was going through several side streets. In there I found some kids trading drugs and I knew this is not the right place for me.
When I got to the Boulevard de Clichy, I saw a huge red building right away – the Moulin Rouge. It was very impressive and had a great light show and also the whole street was full of adult stores. I have never seen such a street with so many adult stores in my life before!
From there I went to the Quarter Montmartre. It was beautiful! It was exactly what I had imagined Paris would be like. Beautiful old and clean streets. Little shops everywhere and full of artists! The streets were full with coffee shops, galleries, bakeries and restaurants! I fell in love with this quarter.
Then I went to the the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur. It was a huge white church. And of course I was the only tourist there.
I went all the way to the top. It was even allowed to walk on the roof. On the top I could not hear anything. I have never had such a silence before!
It was nothing to be afraid of, it felt more like a release. That must be the feeling Quasimodo had on the Notre-Dame. The view on the top was amazing as well. I was able to see all over Paris, without hearing any noise.
When I got down I bought some Macarons and went to the next Metro station back to the hostel. There, I met Flo and we went out for Dinner at 7 pm. We just went to a nice quiet restaurant close by and had a good talk. I ate a Crogue-Monsieur and a Creme Brulee. He told me a lot about the French culture and things like, they cannot have a dinner without wine, or how unfriendly people from Paris are, which I had to disagree with. We also talked about the fear he had after the terror attack; he cannot stay at over crowded places anymore and is always ready to run. After the dinner we went back to the hostel.