My aunt lives in Paris and I have always seen this as a privilege. Well, she just does not live in Paris it self. As a matter a fact she lives in a small town just 30 minutes away from downtown Paris but when I talk to people about Paris I always mention this. For some reason as soon as you mention Paris too people they become mesmerised and immediately interested. Paris, city of romance. City of love.
When me and my sister grew up we went to Paris 3 times a year and this meant that once a year we would also go ‘into town’. It was Ascension Day weekend and we had our annual Family weekend. Jolien and myself travelled to Paris on Thursday meaning we had Friday to go into town. But where do you go when you already have seen all mayor sites in Paris?
- The Eiffel Tower? Check.
- Arc de Triomphe? Check.
- Sacre Coeur? Check.
- Notre Dame? Check.
- The Louvre?
Hé, the Louvre. I have seen it several times but just only from the outside. Why? Because of all the rows of people standing outside waiting in line. In 2013 I had the chance to have a quick look inside during a business meeting but never saw more than the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. And that time I did not had to stand in line!
So we bought our tickets online with the Royal Dutch Touring Club ANWB. This was ideal. Within a week we had original tickets delivered to us by mail. This at least would mean we did not have to wait in line to buy tickets.
We stayed at Camping Le Beau Village de Paris. As a matter a fact, our whole family stayed at that place so that must have been a pretty sight. That Friday more family members decided to go into Paris and we took the train. The train station was just a 15 minute walk from the camping and the train would drop us off in the middle of town. Taking the train also meant no busy Parisian traffic and no expensive parking fee. I have to say, it was a perfect way of transportation for us and not expensive.
From the Downtown train station we took the Metro to the Louvre and when we walked onto the square with the famous pyramids we immediately saw the famous queues of people who were waiting in line for tickets as well. And now comes the trick. How can you get past these lines?
A, by buying a ticket online of course but there is another trick. Sadly we are not at liberty to tell. According to my Aunt Trudy this is a well kept secret only known by French people. Ok, do you want to know the answer. Send us a personal message on facebook and we will send you the right answer. Within 10 minutes we were standing inside and our discovery of the Louvre was about to begin. And be prepared, you will need to walk a whole lot of kilometers. Which we did as well.
When you are an art enthusiast this is not the way to explore the Louvre. You should take at least 5 visits to take it all in and even then you have not seen it all. Well we are not art lovers and we do not understand art. What we really liked were the staircases. The Louvre invites artists to put up their art here. This way the Louvre also wants to be a place where present day artist have a canvas to show themselves to the general public.
We also have some handy tips for you. In the months October to March, access to the permanent collections is free for all visitors on the first Sunday of each month. And on every Friday evening from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., admission to the permanent collections is free for under-26s regardless of nationality (upon presentation of ID). Make sure you bring a valid ID with you.
After 2,5 hours our heads were completely full with Egyptian art, French paintings and the Mona Lisa. So we were in need of fresh air and new surroundings. We took a nice stroll besides the Seine until we reached the Eiffel Tower. There we crossed the Seine on a pedestrian bridge and bumped into the Mür Végetal (a part of the Musée du quai Branly). The facade is a vertical garden and was designed by Patrick Blanc. What an awesome sight to see and we think it is a building for the future. Especially when you keep in mind that cities become less and less green.
From here it was only one block to the Eiffel Tower. We walked underneath it, realizing they have world famous queues here as well. It still remains a cool site to see. Afterwards we took the nearest metro towards Quartier Latin to sit on the terrace and have a well-deserved, refreshing glass of beer. Quartier Latin still is one of my favorite places in Paris. Then it was time to go back to the camping. On our way to the Metro we passed the Notre Dame and of course we took a few pics of it. The train ride back was as good as the way in and when we arrived in Villiers sur Orge a BBQ was awaiting our arrival.