Day 16: Paris (27 Mar) #2

Here’s a fictional conversation:

Leader: Where must we go in Paris?

Group: The Louvre!

Leader: What do we do there?

Group: To see Mona Lisa!

Leader: Is there anything else to see there?

Group: No!

Sadly, that is what has been happening in the Louvre. There’s almost a mob crush to see the Mona Lisa, and nearly nothing else holds interest to the majority of visitors. But let me get this straight off the bat: the Louvre is an art-oriented museum. There are numerous paintings, sculptures and other historical artworks among the exhibits. However, if you’re not an art person, best make sure that there’s something else that you want to see in the Louvre. Otherwise, you’ll end up like some of the visitors I saw: follow the signs to the Mona Lisa, wade to the front of the crowd, stare at it for a couple seconds, pop your phone and take a selfie and leave.

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For me, I’m in no form or fashion an art enthusiast. For me, the Louvre’s attraction is at its architecture. There are some truly awe inspiring sections of it, though I did recognize a few of the paintings from an book on historical paintings that I browsed through when I was a child. Gaping at the Mona Lisa, which was hidden behind layers of bulletproof glass and a cordon, among hordes of sweaty tourists was no fun at all.

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Another painting that I recognized, this is the Raft of the Medusa.

Moving through the various sections, I was especially drawn to the Egyptian exhibits. However, my main grief with the Louvre was that there were no English descriptions on the exhibits. Sure, they had audioguides but I absolutely detest those. But eh, it is France, non?

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I spent more than 3 hours in the Louvre before calling it quits, exiting from the Le Carrousel exit with a Louvre coin that I’ve bought from the souvenir shop. Speaking of which, I should probably make a post showcasing all the souvenir coins that I’ve picked up on the way. But since there’s still quite some time till nightfall, I grabbed a quick snack at the McDonald’s in Le Carrousel (you’re probably like, uwotm8, McDonald’s again at this point) before heading out to a spot that my host Kathleen highly recommended, and even gave me a shopping bag for: Val d’Europe.

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One of the Louvre’s courtyards.
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Scale model of the Louvre.

The phrase shopping bag in the previous paragraph probably gave it away. If you’ve been to Johor Premium Outlets in Malaysia, it’s some sort like that: a little area where world renowned brands set up shop together, and it’s still expensive as balls out there. ‘Slightly lower prices than those on the Champs-Élysées,’ Kathleen told me. ‘15% discounts and more!’ I thought, eh since I have time, why not just pop over to check it out?

Val d’Europe is an hour’s ride away from central Paris, about 5 clicks away from Paris Disneyland. Getting to there from the Louvre involved riding the Line 1 metro back to Châtelet, then switching over to the Châtelet-les-Halles RER station for an RER A train heading for Marne la Vallée Chessy. Be advised though, that you’ll have to purchase a separate ticket for Val d’Europe as it is outside of the t+ ticket’s coverage zone. From what I’ve observed over a 10 minute period behind the ticket barriers, fare evasion on the Paris train network was fairly commonplace. There were so many people sneaking out behind other people that it’s not even funny. I myself had one guy sneak out behind me at another station as well.

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