"Paris is always a good idea" - Audrey Hepburn
Day two in Paris was our free day where we were given time to explore the city on our own. Seeing as though my love affair with Paris began with the artworks of The Louvre, April and I spent the majority of our day there. The architecture and detailing of the museum is just absolutely incredible and we were taken away by the sheer opulence of Napoleon III's apartments. The Louvre is overwhelmingly huge, so you have to prepare yourself to get lost a few times! I didn't even get to see all the paintings I wanted, but luckily April and I were coming back for another four days after our Contiki tour. It makes me kind of sad that people only visit The Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, but I guess not all of us can appreciate art on a deeper level, as opposed to one based on commercialism and pop culture.
We did a lot of walking and a lot of getting lost in the stuffy and hot Louvre, so a good lunch was much needed. As we walked around looking for a nice place to eat, we took in the city's beauty and charm in its entirety. It literally took my breath away. We stopped in at a little café where a friendly waiter greeted us and sat us down. Our lunch was to die for! We ordered a hamburger steak with blue cheese sauce, chips, salad and escargot! Yes, we did the cliché French thing and tried snails. I'm always up for trying new food and for me, the weirder, the better. I absolutely enjoyed escargot. They were flavoured with a lovely garlic sauce while the snails themselves had that earthy flavour, quite similar to mushrooms.
We had planned to visit the Notre Dame that day, but seeing as though The Louvre took up most of our day, April and I later scheduled it in our plans on our trip back to Paris. We continued walking around the gorgeous city, looking in souvenir shops and stopping in at the quaint, little pharmacies. April and I couldn't get over the cute spelling of "pharmacie". It's just so much better than pharmacy. I wanted to buy Caudalie Beauty Elixir and Bioderma Créaline H20 Solution so badly, but I promised myself only at the end of my trip! Before the Contiki coach picked us up to take us back to the hotel, April and I stopped just outside the Musée d'Orsay to indulge on our first ever Ladurée macarons! We picked these up from the store in The Louvre and I had been wanting to try them for so long. I've got to say, the original are always the best. There is no macaron like a Ladurée macaron.
When the coach picked us up, we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for the night's events, which was a three course meal at the infamous Moulin Rouge! We got all dolled up that night and oh, it was fabulous. For a place as famous as the Moulin Rouge, the food was rather underwhelming, but it was totally made up for by the amazing show that was put on. For those of you wondering, the real life thing is nothing like the film, but both are fantastic in their own ways. The singing and dancing is really something to be seen and you can tell these talented people put so much effort into what they do. The girls had figures to die for. Before the main big show, there were a few other acts, one which involved two skaters. Their routines had you on the edge of your seat! When (I say when because I will be back there) I'm back in Paris, I would definitely go again. Unfortunately, my photos aren't too great as I only had my iPhone on me during the night.
After the dinner and show, we continued on the night at O'Sullivans, the bar right next to the Moulin Rouge. We had shots lit up on fire and partied with our new Contiki friends. When I started to feel tired, April and I caught a taxi back to the hotel, making friends with the taxi driver. He taught us some French and laughed at our mispronunciation of the words! I can't help but smile as I write this because it was actually one of the highlights of my entire trip. When something as mundane as catching a taxi can bring back fond memories, you know that's a special place.
Still drunk, April and I arrived to our hotel room taking selfies in the bathtub and eating packets of Nutella. Things got a little out of hand when I proceeded to smear Nutella all over her face, but hey, only in Paris!
I was sad to leave my favourite place on Earth, but excited to continue on my travels knowing I'd be back in Paris a month later. The next stop on our Contiki tour was Barcelona (which you can read about here), but as I've finished all my posts on my Contiki travels, I'll take you back to Paris where I spent my last four days in Europe.