Country #41 - France

The Art

After a good night’s sleep after a long travel day through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Monaco I was really looking forward to a nice day in Paris, France. I have been to Paris before but it has been over four years since my first visit. I started the day with a great breakfast at Hotel Malte by Astotel before setting off for my first stop, Palais Opera. Luckily, the Opera was very near to Hotel Malte.

I bought a ticket from the automated machine inside and spent the next hour or so walking through the stunning building. It’s really hard to describe how magnificent the building is, but it is elaborate as you would imagine nineteenth-century Paris to be. One of the most interesting parts was the Marc Chagall frescoes. Similar to the Chagall stained glass I had seen in Switzerland it was so unique and really stood in contrast to the rest of the building. There was also a great exhibition on Mozart’s history that I really enjoyed.

From the Opera, I then walked through the Tuileries Garden on my way to Musée de l'Orangerie. Musée de l'Orangerie is known for its collection of eight of Monet’s larger Water Lilies paintings. Monet himself actually donated the paintings, known as the Nymphéas series, and wanted Musée de l'Orangerie to be a respite from the outside world. It really feels like that as you feel isolated from the busy Paris streets and it is such a unique environment to experience the Nymphéas. Monet is my favorite artist so I definitely took my time before heading downstairs to see the other works in Musée de l'Orangerie which were also impressionist works.

After finishing up at Musée de l'Orangerie I made my way across the Seine to one of my favorite museums in the world, Musée d'Orsay. I love d’Orsay for many reasons but especially for its large collection of impressionist paintings and because the building itself is so grand and unique as it was formerly a train station. I did the whole museum in an hour and a half and then took the metro to Notre Dame Cathedral. One of the most famous churches in the world, when you visit it, is not hard to see why. I was a little concerned with how lax security was to enter the church, especially compared to how stringent it had been throughout the rest of my day in Paris. Mass was going on inside and it truly is just a stunning church to see.

It was a short stop before I made my way to the Pantheon. Fun fact I attempted to visit the Pantheon on my last visit to Paris but it was unexpectedly closed, which made the realization that it was unexpectedly closed again almost comical. After not seeing the Pantheon for a second time it started to rain on my walk to Luxembourg Gardens. It was a heavy rain though luckily I had my rain jacket. The rain also emptied out Luxembourg Gardens which was a unique experience to have the whole place to myself!

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I walked to Le Relais De L'Entrecôte which was a recommendation by my friend Noemi! It was amazing. The only menu option is endless steak and fries with a special sauce and wow it was so good. It was an expensive meal but definitely worth it! After dinner, I took the metro back to Hotel Malte to change into warmer clothes. After the rain, it cooled off tremendously and I wanted to walk for a few more hours without freezing.

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I left Hotel Malte and headed to the Champs-Élysées. I had to stop in H&M to buy a cheap sweatshirt because it literally dropped like thirty degrees. Also even though it was now freexing I of course had to stop for ice cream. Most stores were closed but I still enjoyed walking up to the Arc de Triomphe. I didn’t walk all the way up to it because I have done that before and it was getting late but it will always be great to see. From there I made my way to the Eiffel Tower while talking on the phone with my brother during the walk. He’s never been to Paris so I definitely made him a bit jealous during the walk.

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I have never seen the Eiffel Tower light up at night but all I have to say is it is 110% worth seeing. It happens every hour on the hour so I had to wait for a few minutes (during which time I took pictures) but it was so worth the wait. It was just mesmerizing! I wish it lasted longer than five minutes because it was so cool. It started to rain again after the lights so I quickly made my way back to the metro to head back to Hotel Malte.

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It was a long but amazing day in Paris and I was so excited to get a good night’s sleep before I head home tomorrow afternoon.

The Pastries

Today I wanted to visit Monet’s garden outside of Paris but I realized that the timing would just not work. Next time I visit France, I guess! Instead, I spent my morning just walking around the city. I did not visit the Louvre this trip but I walked around outside of it and was sure to take a picture. My favorite part of my day was happening upon two street performers who were playing the violin and the cello in the Louvre buildings. I was listening for a bit but became really intrigued when they started to play songs from Beauty and the Beast. It was so cool and made for a perfect morning - I included a video below!

Afterwards, I walked to Gosselin to buy some pastries to take home with me. Thanks again to my friend Noemi for the awesome recommendation! It was a really cute place and of course delicious. I then walked around for a bit longer, walked past a cool shopping center, and then headed back to Hotel Malte to grab my things. I really appreciated the sweet guy who worked there stopping me on my way out to tell me that he and his girlfriend had read all about what I was doing on my website - it was so cool!

I took the train to the airport and amazingly enough didn’t have too complicated of an experience at Charles de Gaulle. I flew Norwegian Airlines to Fort Lauderdale and I had the whole middle section all to myself! I stocked up on food before the flight and that lasted me all the way home. I had plenty of time to transfer in Fort Lauderdale and am really looking forward to being home for a few days after a great time in Europe!

40 countries down, 157 to go.

To learn more about Hotel Malte click here.