My visit to Cimetière du Pére Lachaise was surprisingly one of the highlights of my trip to Paris. It was a different kind of experience when in the city of love and walking around Cimetière du Pére Lachaise made me feel like I was on the set of a vampire tv show. Being a garden cemetery also gives Cimetière du Pére Lachaise the look of a village of the dead in a forest. It’s eerie yet at the same time fascinating to simply wander around the world’s most visited cemetery! Crumbling tombstones, broken-in mausoleums, gothic crypts, and vaults – it looked like everyday is Halloween at Pére Lachaise. At first, it might seem weird for a sad place that is a cemetery to be considered as one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions. While there is an overlying sadness, the sorrow itself, however, gives off a strange beauty and profound peace that is evident throughout Pére Lachaise.
Versailles is one of the most infamous estates in the world. Touring its huge palace painted in gold pretty much explains why it’s synonymous to extravagance and luxurious living. Walking through the royal gardens and chambers of Versailles is like walking through a visual wonderland, an old yet beautiful Renaissance painting. It’s a breathtaking time warp back to the years of kings and queens. Everything is picturesque. It was winter/spring when I visited Versailles for the first time. It was cold winter’s day in France so we did a quick tour of the gardens first and spent most of the day in Versailles touring the palace. Versailles itself is now one of the wealthiest cities near Paris. With only 45 minutes away from Paris city center by train, a day trip to Versailles is definitely something to look forward to when in Paris.
Musée d’Orsay is one of my favorite museums in Paris for a couple of reasons. For one, it used to be an old train station – Gare d’Orsay. It was built just before 1900 and offers gorgeous views of Paris being it on the left bank of the Seine. Apparently, Musée d’Orsay was meant for demolition when it became no longer suitable for housing longer trains. Luckily, it was preserved and is now home to hundreds of art and paintings. Another reason to love Musée d’Orsay is its beautiful clock at the 5th floor where I got to catch a view of the Seine river and Paris like no other. Musée d’Orsay is much smaller than the Louvre as well, which makes it more manageable especially if you’re on a tight schedule touring Paris.
Parisians sometimes joke that they visit museums as often as they go to the bathroom. As they say, for you to truly understand Paris, you have to immerse yourself in the city’s artistic culture. Synonymous with Paris, Musée du Louvre is like no other. It’s almost as beautiful on the outside (with its iconic glass pyramid) as it is on the inside. Venturing inside the world’s largest museum left me in awe as I passed by centuries worth of historical artifacts, sculptures, antiques, and a massive collection of paintings. Of course, the Louvre is also home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s most famous painting, The Mona Lisa, which is probably one of the most widely known paintings in the world and the reason why people visit the Louvre in the first place.
One of my favorite districts in Paris is Montmartre, the iconic hilltop neighborhood best known for its artsy vibe, artisanal shops, cobblestone streets, lively plazas, and the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur that perches up top overlooking Paris from its highest and most northern peak. I booked a hotel in Montmartre during my stay in Paris and I have no regrets. It was nice waking up with a view of the charming Parisian neighborhood (Plus, hotels and B&Bs in this area are cheaper compared to the ones in central Paris!). Home to studios and workplaces of artists like Picasso, Van Gogh and Dali, this Bohemian area is definitely one of the reminders of what old Paris used to be like.