Day two honestly didn’t start out that well. After having breakfast at the hotel, we went back up to our room and my other half suddenly felt very unwell – he’d come down with a nasty bout of food poisoning thanks to what we believe were under cooked sausages (seriously, they were pink in the middle) and dodgy eggs. I of course went straight down to reception who promised that they would sort it out and send someone up to our room to fix an issue caused by their dodgy food. Somehow my partner managed to soldier on through it and, wanting to enjoy the holiday, insisted that we go to the Louvre as originally planned.
From the moment I stepped foot in the museum, I was in awe. I absolutely adore museums – the British Museum is one of my favourite places in the whole world after all. But the Louvre was just…ten times better. And three times the size of the BM!
Our first stop was, of course, the Mona Lisa. It took us a while to find her, as the signs that pointed towards her seemed to mysteriously disappear. But eventually, after following the insane amount of people through the Renaissance gallery, we found her.
If I’m brutally honest, I really wasn’t impressed by her. Yes she was painted by the amazing Leonardo Da Vinci, but he’s done paintings that are a lot better. And his inventions are far more impressive. Truly, I don’t see the fascination with this painting at all.
Once we’d fought our way out of the crowd taking selfies with the Mona Lisa, we doubled back on ourselves and made our way through the Renaissance paintings. I was in absolute heaven here, seeing works by Boticelli, Raphael and Fra Angelico. And then there was the portrait of Sigismondo Malatesta, the Wolf of Rimini – I had no idea his portrait was in the Louvre so when I saw it I couldn’t help but get a little over excited. The guy was a monster, but his life and deeds are morbidly fascinating. I even mention him briefly in a comparison to the Borgia family in my upcoming book.
The portrait truly exudes power. You can tell that this is a guy you don’t want to mess with!
After the Italian Renaissance paintings, we wandered around the rest of the museum. My particular favourite galleries were the Egyptian ones, and the ones that involved Louis XIV and the reconstruction of his rooms. I took hundreds of pictures within the museum of various displays, spending hours wandering the veritable treasure trove of relics.
After the Louvre, we took a slow walk towards the Ile de la Cite to see Notre Dame, one of the most iconic Cathedral’s in the world. Just as we got there, we decided to swing into the little archaeology museum in one of the crypts beneath the square. It was a very sweet little museum, showing the development of the Cathedral as well as archaeological finds from the area.
I found Notre Dame itself to be incredibly beautiful, but then again I’ve always had a fascination with churches.
Our last stop of the day was the beautiful Sainte Chapelle, holy chapel of the Kings of France. Built by St Louis (IX) in 1243, it was to be used to house relics of the Passion. Louise brought the Crown of Thorns and a part of the “True Cross” from the Byzantine Emperor for an astonishing 135,000 livres. Compare this to the cost of building the chapel itself – 40,000 livres! The moment we stepped foot inside the upper chapel I was lost for words. You are immediately surrounded by the most beautiful stained glass windows that tower above you, and then there is the beautiful rose window as well. The chapel exudes magnificence, and only the King and his personal entourage were allowed in the upper chapel (It was connected to the palace by a walkway). It truly is no wonder that this little chapel, hidden away behind the walls of the Palais du Justice, is one of the most visited sites in the whole of Paris. I’ll be writing a bit more on this magnificent chapel and it’s gothic architecture soon.
Day two ended with me back at the hotel getting shouty at them over the food poisoning issue. It worked, and we got money knocked off the bill as well as a huge apology. An early night for my partner was on the cards for him to recover, while I ended up having to get room service for dinner – rather bravely, I must say, given the events of that morning!