A visit to the Louvre

A trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to a museum. There are so many wonderful museums in the city! The most famous one is the Louvre, where you’ll find the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, The Winged Victory and many, many more. You won’t be able to see everything the Louvre has to offer in just one visit.

I’ve been to this museum before, a couple of years ago. My friend knew a secret entrance through the shopping mall underneath the museum, and we went in super fast (and free, as it’s free if you’re under 25). The second time I wanted to visit, this entrance wasn’t so secret anymore and was even more crowded than the regular entrance, the one in the pyramid. That time we quickly decided to visit a less crowded museum, one that became my favourite one in Paris: L’orangerie, where you’ll find Monet’s waterlilies. When we returned this weekend to shop for wedding rings, we decided that now was the time to visit the Louvre.

After looking for wedding rings and seeing the highlights of Paris by night on Saturday, we started our Sunday morning having breakfast like a local. We checked out of the hotel, and walked toward the Louvre, looking for a place to have breakfast. We bought some croissants in a little bakery and ate them on our way to the museum.

Tip: buy your tickets online and pick an early timeslot, and then visit the most famous pieces first

Boyfriend had been in Paris a couple of times, but had yet to visit the Louvre. So this time we bought our tickets online (as was mandatory because of covid) and picked an early timeslot. We were inside the museum in no time instead of having to wait in line for hours.

The Louvre is so big, you really have to make a choice in what to see and what to skip. I had bought a museum guide last time I was there, which is something I really can recommend. You can easily see what the museum has to offer and decide what pieces to check out first. My tip: if you go early in the morning, check out the most famous ones first, as it will only get more and more crowded later in the day.

We decided to visit the roman statues first and saw some really beautiful ones.

Amor & Psyche is one of my favourite pieces. I love how it really tells a story and it is beautifully made. I can look at it for hours.

I don’t really like to take pictures of paintings, so most of my photos from the museum are from statues. I think we spent most of our time wandering these halls, as the art is just so beautiful.

If you’re visiting the Louvre, make sure to look up now and then. The ceilings are magnificent as well. There is so much to see, even things that aren’t really there. For example, at one time, I looked up and stared at the ceiling and saw a tiny baby dragon, that looked like one from how to train your dragon. I pointed but Boyfriend didn’t see it, until I took a picture to show him what I meant. It’s the first picture from these three. The tiny dragon is actually the upside down nose from a lion but I can’t help but see an adorable little creature in there!

We saw all the famous pieces, like this one, The winged victory of Samothrace, or Nike. This one I really liked, it’s so impressive and old and I really like the boat she’s standing on. I also really love to get to know more about these artworks, and the guide I had with me helped me greatly with this, as did the little signs next to the artworks. For instance, did you know that the boat that Nike is standing on, used to be way, way bigger? There’s only little of it left. Luckily, the statue itself has survived a great deal.

The Louvre truly is a magnificent museum. Though it is a bit too crowded for my taste. I like to be able to spend time with some artworks that speak to me, try to figure out the story. We spent quite some time looking at The raft of Meduse to figure out the story, and did a little research on it. But many rooms are so crowded it’s hard to just stand still and look at paintings. Especially if you want to take your time to see why the Mona Lisa is so famous. There’s endless rows of people in front it, waiting for their turn, whilst most of these people ignore the other paintings in the room, that might be just as beautiful.

That having said, if you haven’t visited the Louvre yet, make sure to put it on your list.

Exploring Castle Hill

Castle hill or Colline du Chateau is another one of the highlights of Nice. It is where everyone takes the iconic photo of the city and the sea, seen from above. The view truly is spectacular. We had wanted to visit Castle Hill on our first trip to Nice, but we accidentally got locked in at night, so that was no fun. On our second trip, we decided to visit it in the morning to make sure that didn’t happen again…

Castle Hill is easy to find. You can walk to the top of the hill from two directions: the regular entrance is near the eastern end of the promenade, there’s also an elevator here. You can also choose to go up at the harbor. We had decided to walk the 3658977231 steps up (don’t ask me why) to this magnificent, iconic view of Nice.

We had lunch on top of the hill, and just relaxed. It’s the perfect setting to get away from the bustling city centre or the crowded beach. There’s a park and you can get lunch and icecream up the hill so it’s lovely for a quiet afternoon. There were quite some people, but everyone kept their own, mostly it was just locals enjoying the sun. We saw a woman doing tai-chi, a man balancing on a rope, children on tiny bicycles and people lounging in hammocks.

You can walk around the park for some awesome views. Like I said before, the one from the sea and the city is iconic, but make sure to walk around, as the view from the other side, the harbor, is just as beautiful.

There were a lot of Greek influences on castle hill, which I really appreciated, such as the artwork you see here: Heureux qui comme Ulysse a fait un beau voyage: happy are those who, like Ulysses, make a great journey. I couldn’t agree more!

There were also some cool looking stairs depicting different scenes of Ulysses’ journey. Nice used to be a Greek city, named after Nike, goddess of victory. The park at castle hill was renovated in 1960 and the city decided to add these mosaics as a wink to the Greek heritage. When walking on these stairs, you’ll get a quick summary of Homer’s Odyssey in 13 images, with scenes depicted such as Polyphemus the Cyclops, Circe and the Sirens.

There’s no castle anymore at Castle Hill, only some ruins. I did find this beautiful building, that doesn’t appear to have a function anymore, besides being an amazing backdrop for pictures.

Another highlight from Castle Hill is the waterfall. Google castle hill and you will immediately find pictures of this beautiful waterfall. Thing is, it’s artificial and they had turned it off when we were there. Even without the water, it was still really beautiful.

If you’re visiting Nice, Castle Hill should definitely be on your list to visit. The view is amazing and it’s the perfect place to get some rest and to freshen up your knowledge of your Greek classics.