As the days passed in Paris we started to understand more of the culture. The Parisians do not live to work, they work to live. We have always had this attitude towards our own work life, we love what we do but we do not allow work to consume our life. We want to experience culture, see the world, eat good food, and have time with friends and family. At the end of each day we would talk over what we had experienced and we both would mention that being surrounded by Parisians who shared our views on work and life made us feel alive.
Hands down Philip and I both agreed that Musee D’Orangerie was one of our favorites. D’Orangerie is home to eight panels of Monet’s Water Lilies. The two rooms that permanently house the panels were designed by Monet himself for the pieces. The oval rooms, with diffused natural light that is to die for, perfectly present the paintings in a seamless fashion. We couldn’t tear ourselves away from these rooms!
A close second for favorite museum would be Musee Gustave Moreau. The museum is Moreau’s former dwelling in the 9th arrondissement and the art work takes up all three floors. Neither of us were extremely familiar with his work but from the few pieces I had seen I knew it would be worth the trek out of city center. We both were blown away not only by his work and the level of detail that went into each piece but also by the volume of work he put out. In this museum alone there were over 1,000 pieces! The staircase leading up to his 3rd story studio was a piece of art in an of itself!
As a little travel note, many people recommend getting the Museum Pass for Paris if you plan on visiting multiple museums. We opted to not get the pass since we didn’t know how many we would end up going to. One thing I would recommend is to get the Musee d’Orsay/ Musee de l’Orangerie combined ticket. This ticket is 16€ a person and you have up to 3 months to visit both and it also give you a discounted rate for Musee Gustave Moreau, 4€ a person. So for 20€ a person we got into three museums and the only other art museum we went to was the Louvre which was 20€ a person. While the museum pass gets you into over 60 places, for a 4 day pass it is 90€ a person… We prefer to linger in museums so the pass wouldn’t have been to our advantage.
One of the best meals we had while in Paris was at La Rôtisserie d’Argent. We didn’t take in photos of this meal because we devoured it as soon as it came! We had a view of the river and as the evening progressed, the full moon rose over the right bank. We originally went for their Demi-poulet but they were already out for the evening. Instead we got Caneton a l’orange en duex services (roasted duck in an orange sauce, served in two parts). This meal… worth a trip to Paris just for this meal.
We ended the evening by walking the Seine and visiting Notre Dame. The light of the full moon made the city extra magical.
When the sun comes out in Paris, the city looks completely different!
This was the church that was right in front of our hotel. Nothing sets the tone for the day more than walking outside and immediately seeing a majestic gothic building
The area of Montmartre was one I was greatly looking forward to. Montmartre is the highest point in Paris and the area is full of staircases leading you higher and higher. The Sacre Coeur Basilica sits at the peak of Montmartre and if you climb to the top of the dome you get a 360 view of Paris so make sure you go on a clear day! Also the stain glass inside the Basilica is something else and when the sun shines through, it is breathtakingly blinding.
There are carousels all over Paris!! Turning a corner and finding one is like finding a little treasure from your childhood.
We decided against going up to the top of the Eiffel since we had seen views of the city from Sacre Coeur and the lines were ridiculously long. You can get off at several metro stops to view the Eiffel and we chose the Trocadero. Because it was winter the fountains were not on but you get a stunning view from the top of the staircase. We went at sunset and enjoyed sitting in the Champs de Mars drinking coffee as we waited for the tower to light up for the night. The night view of the tower is by far my favorite way to see it!
Philip and I are both creatures of habit and this became our daily breakfast. Cafe au lait with crescents and the best jams! Thankfully we walked miles and miles ever day so we didn’t gain a millions pounds 🙂
Valentine’s Day in Paris was… well it was like a dream! We didn’t preplan many days for this trip but this day had been planned for weeks in advance and it was everything we dreamed it would be. We started the day at a special exhibit of Henri Cartier Bresson’s work, one of our favorite photographers. There were multiple times were we both were moved deeply by seeing his work in person and getting the chance to study the original prints up close.
This photograph of Henri was taken by his wife and I love that I got Philip’s reflection in framed in the scene. It is a simple photograph of Bresson but he reminds me so much of Philip and having them both captured in one photograph is deeply meaningful for me.
When we were dating we used to visit a local old cemetery to practice our photography so older cemeteries have an odd special meaning to us. We sort of stumbled on the Montparnasse Cemetery and as we walked through I remembered that it was the final resting place to a decent amount of famous people. A highlight was finding the grave of Jean Paul Satre and Simone Beauvoir. I heavily studied both of these philosophers during undergrad and we visited several places they frequented while in Paris. To visit their final resting place was my way of paying tribute to all their influence in my studies.
After savoring the most amazing chocolates and champagne in our hotel we prepared for an evening that will forever go down as one of my favorites. As soon as we knew we would be in Paris on Valentine’s Day Philip arranged for us to go to the ballet at the Palais Garnier (Paris Opera House) and with a dinner at Cafe de la Paix, a famous cafe next to the Palais Garnier. We saved viewing the Palais until this evening and as the car pulled up to the circle in front of the building I found myself with tears in my eyes. It is simply breathtaking. While many don’t dress up for the Ballet, we did! Dinner was out of this world and the architecture of Cafe de la Paix is splendid!
The grand staircase in the Palais Garnier. Walking through this building in evening wear was a dream come true! I love fashion and I look for any excuse to wear a gown. Philip had always made sure that I felt like a queen in life and this evening he went over and beyond!
The ballet we saw was Tree of Codes and it had us on the edge of our seats the entire performance! If you have the chance to ever see it, go!!
Philip knew I wanted a photograph inside the Palais without anyone around. We waited until it was almost cleared out and he got lucky in the photograph below. I could have stayed here for days exploring the building!
With our hotel being close to the Louvre we had our car drop us off at the front and we practically had to place to ourselves. We danced together under the lights of the Louvre and pretended we were living in the 1800s… The Louvre is by far the most magical in the evening.
And in our next post we head to Switzerland for a completely different type of adventure!
Savannah and Philip