Late September is not at all a tourist nightmare like Easter break is. Instead it is a really really pleasant time to visit, with few tourists and quite nice weather. It is also around this time that it becomes a good idea to close the window, when you are only sleeping with a thin blanket over you. Otherwise you might end up waking up early because of the cold.
After having gained most of my body warmth back this morning, we walked to Pret A Manger - that has a surprising amount of vegan options, clearly labeled! - where we ate a quick breakfast before taking the metro to Palais Royal Musée du Louvre.
Inside the yard of the Palace we waited in the, once again, short queue, having arrived around 10 minutes before the opening time at 9 am.
Inside we walked straight to Mona Lisa before too many tourists arrived, and we were actually quite underwhelmed. Here’s an unpopular opinion: Mona Lisa is overrated. The colours are dull and the smile might actually just be a semi-satisfied smile (or of course the hint at a secret), and the painting was surprisingly small. It was cool to see her none the less, as the mystery surrounding her did make you wonder. We did however continue fairly quickly.
We were in no rush and explored the incredible collections of paintings and sculptures on the different floors.
After having wandered around for quite some time though, history repeated itself. We could once again not find the famous Venus artwork - this time the sculpture Venus de Milo - and we ended up walking up and down stairs, taking the elevator and passing through the same rooms multiple times before finding her. We snapped some photos and slowly made our way outside.
In the park we enjoyed the cookies we had bought at Pret a Manger, and then started toward the Arc De Triomphe.
The walk was incredibly beautiful, first through the park, then in between autumnal trees and finally past the expensive stores and restaurants.
The arc was an amazing sight and we stayed for a little while resting and admiring the monument.
We walked down another street, ate lunch at Pret A Manger and continued down to the Seine. By the river we strolled all the way to Notre Dame, at times sitting to rest and at some point crossing a bridge, so we could look at the charming souvenir stalls on the other side.
We quickly got into Notre Dame, where we explored the stunning church for a little while.
We continued to Shakespeare and Company, probably the quirkiest and best bookstore I’ve ever been in. We couldn’t take photos inside, but they had the most amazing books, both new and old. And upstairs they had a collection of old books that were not for sale but that anyone was welcome to sit and read in up there.
Zuzanna and I had a really hard time tearing ourselves away from it, but finally we did, Zuzanna having bought a book. I on the other hand simply couldn’t choose one, so I ended up not buying anything. We walked through little streets to Lush, on our way asking every creperie if they sold vegan crepes. But through a Google search we found out that only one place in the entirety of Paris had a vegan option. And it was about a half hour walk in the opposite direction of anywhere we were going. Luckily the owner of one of the creperies were kind to make us vegan crepes upon request, so we did get one after all.
In Lush, Zuzanna bought a deodorant and we were quickly on our way back. And somehow on our way back I could add “danced to the Hare Krishna mantra on the street” to my resumé. Three old Hindi men sat singing Hare Krishna on the street, which had attracted others, like a dancing Hindu woman, a man jumping and playing on an instrument and a young woman dancing less confidently than the Hindu woman. Safe to say it was some sight. And when we passed by the spectacle I couldn’t help but smile at them, which resulted in me locking eyes with the lead singer, who pointed knowingly at me with a big smile. And so I did a little dance with jazz hands and everything, earning me some clapping from the old men, before walking on, laughing the whole way down the street.
We walked past Notre Dame again and passed over the bridge to the other side. We walked to a close by district filled with thrift stores, where we spend some time looking through them although ending up not buying anything.
We had decided to splurge a bit on dinner tonight, as the vegan restaurant Le Potager du Marais had gotten incredible reviews for making traditional French food vegan.
We were quite disappointed though. The food was in my opinion really heavy and the flavours unbalanced. Unfortunately my look on Parisian food as bland and underwhelming (from previous experience) had so far only been confirmed. We walked home, stopping on the way to grocery shop for breakfast. At the apartment we hand-washed our clothes and went to bed, tired from the amount of walking we had done today, but satisfied by everything we had experienced.
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