Paris: The Louvre, Sacre Coeur, and Moulin Rouge

The Louvre is one thing that is on everyone’s list when visiting Paris. Mostly to see the Mona Lisa, and we were no different. I did a ton of research to see what times are best to visit the Louvre. I found out that first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, before close were the best times to avoid the crowds. We decided to wake up early and be in line at the Louvre, tickets in hand, one hour before it opened. This ultimately paid off for us!

We purchased our tickets online in advance. By doing this we were able to line up first for security and skip the ticket line. A line did form before the museum opened, but most people did not have their tickets already. We also didn’t have any bags with us, so once we walked through the metal detectors we didn’t have to have anything searched. This gave us a good 10 minute head start on the people who needed their bags searched, and 15-20 minute head start on people who needed to buy tickets.

By being early birds we were able to see the Mona Lisa without anyone else in the room. We got the coveted selfie picture and looked at the painting for quite a while before anyone else got into the room. Let me tell you, once people start pouring in to this room it does not stop. We were shocked by how quickly the room became crowded!

As I’m sure you’ve heard before the Mona Lisa is underwhelming. Still cool to see, but compared to most of the other paintings in the Louvre, underwhelming. We had an employee tell us that most people come to the Louvre, see the Mona Lisa and leave. Considering that you can wait for hours in the security and ticket lines to get in, that is insane to me!  There’s so much to see in the Louvre that you can’t even see it all in one full day.

After seeing the Mona Lisa we went to see Winged Victory. This was pretty impressive to see. After this we went to look at the Egyptian art. Stefan is very in to Egyptian history, so he enjoys anything Egyptian. We spent 2.5 hours looking in the Egyptian rooms and still did not see everything.

After spending 3 hours in the Louvre we were on museum overload. We definitely aren’t museum people. We decided to go see a few other things in Paris, but first we stopped to get some macarons.

Can you guess where these are from? If you guessed McDonald’s you’d be right. Believe it or not McDonald’s macarons are as good as the more expensive, famous ones. We tried them and honestly I couldn’t tell a difference between Pierre Hermé, Ladurée, and McDonald’s.  I’m sure macaron aficionados would die at that statement, but in my opinion, it was true. A more expensive macaron can run you €2,70 easily, each.  Twelve macarons at McDonald’s in France will run you €9. They have 6 flavors: Lemon, Chocolate, Chocolate Brownie, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean, and Pistachio (my favorite). We split an order of 12 a couple times while in Paris for breakfast. 😉

Then we walked over to Sacré Coeur just to see it and explore the neighborhood a little bit. We decided not to go inside as the lines were crazy and we’ve seen a thousand churches since being in Europe. While the inside is pretty (I’ve seen it online), it was nothing compared to other cathedrals we’ve seen and we knew we would be disappointed if we went inside. Instead, we split a crepe and talked with a couple from Ohio.

Our next stop was to see the Moulin Rouge. It looked just like the pictures. 😉

After this we went to the Christmas Market on the Champs-Élysées. It was PACKED! I didn’t get any pictures here, but it was a cool experience. Very different from Christmas markets in Germany!  I bought a beautiful ornament for our travel memory tree there. Then we went back to the hotel and took a nap before dinner. Overall, this was a relaxing day. Just what we needed because the next day we were off to Disneyland Paris!

More from Paris:

Catacombs and Eiffel Tower at Night 

Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame

Disneyland Paris

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