For our final day in Paris we decided to head to the Musée du Louvre bright and early to avoid the crowds. We took the metro and entered through the underground entrance. My French tutor had told me that this was the best way to avoid the crowds. She was right. A short 10 minute queue and we were in the museum. This is one massive museum. Since we were there early, there were lots of people still but it wasn’t too crowded. We decided to head to the Mona Lisa before the crowds started gathering. With that out of the way, we strolled leisurely through the museum, stopping at sections that drew our interest. Close to midday, the crowds started coming in and it started to get really crowded in the museum. We decided we’d seen enough and headed out. On our way out, we saw the huge line-up at the glass pyramid entrance. We were starving by then and decided to catch a quick lunch at the food court just outside the museum, in the underground passage area. After last night’s meal, our paella lunch seemed meagre in comparison but it was still tasty.
Our next stop was Notre Dame. We wandered inside the cathedral, which I found rather disappointing. It was very dark and gloomy and didn’t have the air of grandeur or sacredness that I expected. I had read that much of the interior was destroyed during the revolution but I still expected a certain atmosphere. Instead, I found it rather bleak, lit up only by the annoying flash lights of tourists’ cameras. Again, there was a long queue to climb the towers so we decided to leave that for a future visit.
Leaving the Île de la Cité, we walked over to the beautiful Île St. Louis. We strolled down rue St. Louis en l’ile searching for the famous Berthillon ice-creamery. When we got there, we were surprised that there were no queues in sight. We got an ice-cream cone each. I had Mandarin while hubby at Salty Caramel. It was delicious! Walking back towards our hotel, we came across a dépôt vente store at Quai d’Anjo. Wandering into the store, I saw a beautiful, used Louis Vuitton dog carrier. It was so pretty that I was so tempted to buy it. But then practical reasoning took over and I realized our little girl would hate being cramped into that small space. It was not to be.
Heading back to Le Marais, we wandered down rue des Francs-Bourgeois. Most shops had massive Soldes signs on their windows but we found that even with the discounts, prices were not that much cheaper compared to Australia. The quality however was superior. We finally made it to Place des Vosges. It is a beautiful square surrounded by lots of beautiful, old houses.
Hubby was hoping to find similar bargains to the ones at Au Bon Marché so we headed out to Galeries Lafayette. It turned out to be a bad choice. It seemed like the whole of Paris and all the tourists were out for the sales at the departmental stores. The place was packed and there were queues to go into the boutique of Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Surprisingly, prices were not as cheap as expected. (We would find much better shopping in Milan later on in our trip) To his dismay, hubby did not find anything, but I managed to pick up a Burberry trench coat at half the price of what I would pay here in Melbourne, so I was happy.
Deciding that the situation would be similar at Printemps, we decided to head back to the hotel. Deciding on a quick dinner, we stopped at a restaurant just outside the hotel, on rue de Rivoli. I knew it was a mistake as soon as I saw English writing on the menu outside the restaurant, but we were in a hurry because we wanted to head back to the hotel to pack and have an early night. The food was rather bad, and at 60 euro in total for 2 mains with a glass of house wine each, not cheap either. After dinner, we went for one last stroll down our neighbourhood, taking in the sights and sounds of Paris as the sun set once more on this beautiful city. Heading back to the hotel, we packed our bags and turned in for the night.