01 – The Second Honeymoon
02 – Conquering Medieval Stairs
03 – Urinating in Brussels
04 – On to Paris
05 – Seeing Louvre
06 – A Police Story
07 – The Sun King’s Blingy Home
08 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky
09 – Hangin’ with Our Royal Neighbors
10 – Sending Ourselves to the Tower
11 – Raining on the Parade
12 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky Again
Our first breakfast in Paris was at Eric Kayser, drinking latte and eating pastries, much like what we do back home at Paris Baguette.
Eric Kayser morning selection
The bakery was next to Place Vendome, with a giant column commemorating Napoleon’s victory at the Battle of Austerlitz
The day was dedicated to Louvre, the second most visited museum in the world (after the Forbidden Palace in Beijing). Tickets purchased online allowed us to bypass the long line at the ticket counter, heading in right as the museum opened. I was surprised by and completely amazed by how large this museum was. It wasn’t until we approached the entrance when I realized that two rows of palace-like buildings that we had been walking by were in fact part of that museum.
Arch as we approached the Louvre entrance
The Louvre’s glass pyramid entrance
A panoramic view of the wings of Louvre
Selfie beneath the glass pyramid
We realized that it wasn’t possible to see all of Louvre in one day, nor did we wish to spend excessive amount of time in a museum. Therefore, we had taken notes of the most interesting treasures and planned our routes in a hit-and-run manner. We did not realize, however, that the Louvre’s three wings were far more expansive than they appear on the PDF map, and traversing a single floor could require quite a bit of stairs up and down. Three and a half hours (and hundreds of stairs) later, we only managed to check off 80% of the list that we made.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace – my favorite piece in Louvre
Hammurabi’s Code – my second favorite piece due to its historic significance. It was far smaller than I thought, though
Dog sculpture, Hong’s favorite piece
Lion goes raaah
The crown of some stone column. Someone’s more important than you when part of a column in his house is bigger than your entire apartment
Me taking a selfie with a guy taking a selfie
Asclepius, the god that I worship
Mona Lisa, the girl that 99% of people really don’t care about but still want a picture with anyway
Pretty sure this was where the five dozen tour guides said the magical words of “Okay this concludes our Louvre tour. Time for lunch!”
One of the many rooms with lots of paintings
Row of Sphinx
Two dudes with passion
The upside-down pyramid looked like a diamond
After Louvre, we went to Le Marais, the neighborhood that my favorite Kosher restaurant was named after. With its name meaning “the marsh”, this was an area outside the historic city of Paris where Jews were expelled to.
Naturally, we had lunch at a Jewish restaurant. Didn’t expect to say this having lived in New York, but we had the most delicious falafel and shawarma here.
King Falafel Palace right at the heart of Pletzl
This may have become my new favorite Kosher restaurant
After lunch, we chilled at Place des Vosges. Originally named Place Royale and built 400 years ago by King Henri IV, it was renamed during the French Revolution after the first municipality that paid taxes to the Revolutionary Army. A great reminder that bribing the winner has its perks.
Place des Vosges
A few more steps away was Place de la Bastille, where the French Revolution began with a mob storming and destroying the fortress/prison at this location.
July Column, erected to commemorate the July Revolution, not to be confused with the first French Revolution which also started in July
Then, we hopped all the way past the west end of Paris into La Defense, to check out this gigantic arch.
La Grande Arche de la Defense. It’s featured in some Lexus commercials
Then we rode the same train back, all the way beyond Bastille to reach our dinner: Le Bistrot Paul Bert, on Rue de Paul Bert. We got a table on a narrow sidewalk, and dined in a public walkway for the first time. This was a residential neighborhood so we got to watch Parisians walking home with groceries. Just about everyone carried one or two baguettes, and we got a kick out of how many of them chewed on the plain baguette while strolling casually down the street.
Le Bistrot Paul Bert
English menu was propped on our table
Pigeon, cooked medium rare. The meat was so dark that it almost tasted like liver
Steak and fries
Hong’s “pork chop” that was in reality a three-dimensional piece of bacon
Our first experience with souffle
XOXOXO Paris <3<3<3
Fourteen hours after leaving the hotel, we returned to our room exhausted. To greet us was a false fire alarm that had us evacuating temporarily. Well our experience with this Le Grand Hotel just kept getting worse!