Day 2 (15 April 2012)
Today we planned to visit the Musee d’Orsay. From the hotel, we went to Vaugirard station and purchased a 5-day Paris Visite Pass for 31 €. This pass enabled us unlimited access to public transports in Paris city for 5 days (not including suburbs).
When we arrived at d’Orsay, there was a long queue to get into the building, but it turns out the long line was for the security check. Once inside the building, we bought the Paris Museum Pass from one of the counters. We bought the 4-day pass for 54 €. This pass gives us unlimited access to around 60 museums and monuments in Paris for 4 days! (A single adult ticket for Musee d’Orsay is 9 €)
The Musee d’Orsay housed some of the finest arts in the world. We were able to view the famous Van Gogh painting there! Too bad photography was not allowed in the museum. I was only able to snap a quick shot from the designated “view point” in the museum.
From the Orsay, we took the metro to Arc de Triomphe, which turned out to be near Champs-Élysées. The Arc de Triomphe was much bigger than I imagined it to be. The arches I saw in Rome was definitely smaller than the one in Paris. We explored the area beneath the arch, and since our Paris Pass includes Arc de Triomphe, we were able to climb the arch all the way to the top. Without the Paris Pass, a single adult ticket to climb the arch is 8 €.
Just before the roof of the arch, there was a mini-exhibition showing various arches around the world and a gift shop. It’s interesting to know that the largest triumphal arch in the world is the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, North Korea.
We then went on to the roof of Arc de Triomphe. The view was amazing. We had a fantastic view of Champs-Élysées and the areas surrounding it. There were strong winds and it was quite cold. Good thing I brought my gloves!
When we got down to grown level, there was a military service under Arc de Triomphe. From the looks of it, it’s some sort of a memorial service. We stood there for a few minutes to watch the service.
After that, we walked along Champs-Élysées to explore the shops. I even spotted Marks and Spencer there! Ever since I had to write an essay on M&S’ international expansion for one of my MBA subjects, I’ve taken an interest in their business. I went to explore the M&S branch in Champs-Élysées and find it disappointing, just like how other journals describe it. The food section was small, and surprisingly there were no men’s section.
We then continued walking along Champs-Élysées and spotted Ladurée. The girls were quite excited to visit Ladurée’s main branch. We bought a few boxes, an excellent companion for supper!
After that, we had coffee at Café George V, along Champs-Élysées. The restaurant was a bit cramped, but the cappuccino was good and the crêpe with Nutella was just excellent.
On the way back to the hotel, we went to Trocadero for an evening view of Eiffel Tower. We were there just in time for the flashing light show. It was beautiful. The lights show occurs every hour, on the hour, for 5 mins, starting from sunset.