When I was planning our itinerary a few months ago, I knew I was going to have to squeeze the Louvre in there somewhere. Now don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a must-see and I was looking forward to the visit. It’s just that ever since the Da Vinci Code hype a couple of years ago, my interest in the museum waned. I tend to dismiss anything associated with a fad or phenomenon, sort of like trucker hats and Dr. Phil.
Thankfully the Louvre can survive a trend better than any of the aforementioned items, and so my family and I found ourselves at the museum early in the morning to try and beat the crowd.
It turns out you can’t beat the crowd because there are hordes of tourists looking for (a) the Mona Lisa, (b) Tom Hanks, or (c) Tom Hanks deciphering the Mona Lisa, in all her bulletproof-cased glory. This was actually okay, because it diverted the throngs from the Near Eastern antiquities section, which is where we went first. And found oh, about half of Persepolis on display. (I always wondered where so much of the ruins in Iran went.)
We spent a few more hours exploring the museum and finding the must-sees (Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, of course), and then walked outside towards Jardin de Tuilieres.
Walking along a straight path, we strolled down Place de la Concorde, passing the Obelisk, the Rue Royale and the Church of the Madeline along the way.
Finally, we reached the Arc de Triomphe, which was beautifully imposing, albeit a bit anticlimactic after all that walking.
We looped around and began walking along Avenue des Champs Elysees, mostly window shopping and people watching. The avenue is so much longer and broader than I had ever expected, so we didn’t walk along the whole thing. We did, however, come across Iran Air’s offices on the Champs-Elysees, right by the Louis Vuitton boutique and Laduree shop – who knew?
We were pretty exhausted after all that walking, so we hopped on to the closest metro back to our apartment where we enjoyed, in typical French fashion, an assortment of fresh cheeses and deli meats with baguettes for dinner.