Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Paris Diary: La première exploration

The Louvre Palace and Museum
Sunday was the first day without ma famille - they took the long ferry journey home while I stayed in the cloud-ridden yet forever beautiful city.

Free time means exploration time so I journeyed out to Châtelet (Les Halles) with a friend, where we realised our error almost immediately - the surrounding shopping centre was dead. Sundays really are the day of rest on the continent, apart from the glowing golden arches, proving just how American le McDo really is.

Despite all this, we walked on and found ourselves on an impulsive trip to the Louvre, with a spot of lunch at a teeny tiny family-run restaurant. Prepare yourself folks - you won't find a proper meal here under 10 euros! The meal really was good though, tagliatelle with a special homemade sauce and as much parmesan as I liked.

Again, the Louvre turned out to be a bad idea - the day being the main problem. The queue filled the courtyard completely, so it was a quick spot of sightseeing until we stumbled upon a smaller museum - Le Musée des Arts Decoratifs - full of jewellery (including the jewelled fruit below), fabrics and interior design. And the beauty of being a student still meant free entry!

We then strolled around for a good few miles, admiring the city in spitting rain and reaching the Galeries Lafayette, and then into the cheesily-named Happy Days Diner for some super-thick milkshakes. Yum yum yum.

I also managed to pick up a Navigo Card on my way home, with the strange experience of having my photo printed onto the card through a little hand-held webcam by the cashier. The beauty of the Navigo is that it's issued free, and then it's up to you on how much you want to top it up by - all you need is proof that you live and/or work in the Île-de-France, and then subscriptions for a week or month in whichever zones you like are easily added to the card via the computer terminals.

This also means more exploration is (quite literally) on the card!

Tip of the Day: Make sure you know which days places are shut. Everyone in France likes a break; shopping centres and the majority of places are closed on a Sunday, however the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays... it really just depends on where you want to go!

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