Paris, Day Four: Musée d’Orsay and the Île de la Cité

35 paris day four coffeeDay four in Paris was probably my favorite of our entire trip. We still managed to do a ton of stuff but it felt a lot more relaxing after the previous couple of days. I think it helped that we didn’t travel across the city as much and the places we visited weren’t as overwhelming as say, the Louvre. Our visits at each stop were much shorter and it seemed like a bit of a lazy day, even though it wasn’t at all. We began the day with a quick coffee stop before taking the metro to the Musée D’Orsay.

Other Paris posts: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3
2 paris day four breakfastAfter getting off the metro, we grabbed some breakfast. I do have to say, the bread in Paris was amazing. Everything was so good, from the baguettes to the croissants, and everything in between, and we ate a lot of it. In fact, when I told everyone about our trip, they all commented on how much bread we ate! I switched it up this morning and went with a chocolate-filled beignet instead of my usually pain au chocolat. It was really good.
3 paris day four breakfastSeriously, it might have been my favorite thing I ate on the entire trip. Even writing about it now makes me want to go back and get another one!
5 paris day four Musée d'OrsayI was really looking forward to visiting the Musée D’Orsay. Impressionism is my favorite style of painting and everything I read said this was the museum to visit. It’s built in an old train station and while they have so many different exhibits, it’s not overwhelming at all and it’s definitely a museum that you can visit in a day. We got there about 30 minutes or so after it opened and were able to walk right in.

As a side note, we purchased the four day Paris Museum Pass and it was perfect. It was less expensive than buying the individual tickets on their own and while we never encountered lines on our trip, you can usually use separate entrances and save time with the Museum Pass. And while we didn’t end up doing this, we liked that it gave us the option of popping into a museum we just happened to run into during our travels without having to debate whether it was worth paying another entrance fee or not.
6 paris day four musee d'orsayIn addition to all of their impressionist paintings (from the likes of Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir, just to list a few), the Musée D’Orsay also has a wonderful collection of sculptures and there’s even an area dedicated to furniture and decorative home goods (displayed as rooms that are pretty fun to walk through).
4 paris day four musee d'orsayThe Musée D’Orsay was my favorite stop on our trip, which is saying something because we went to some incredible places in Paris. I loved how relaxing it felt and since the museum wasn’t crowded, it was easy to stand and stare at each piece and really take it all in. It’s also the perfect museum to visit as an art fan. Most art museums I’ve been to have had maybe one or two pieces by the big artists. The Musée D’Orsay had so many that it was really easy to get a feel for each artist’s specific style. If you had asked me before our visit who my favorite artist was, I would have said Monet, mostly because I liked the paintings I’d seen in books as well as the two or three pieces that I’d seen in person before. But after seeing several entire walls of his paintings right next to all of the other famous impressionists, it’s a lot clearer to me why I’m drawn to his work the most.
10 paris day four musee d'orsayAnd of course I had to stop and take a clock tower picture while we were there.
11 paris day four musee d'orsayWe only walked through about a third of the museum but it was such an incredible visit. I didn’t feel like we skipped anything but I would love to go back next time we’re in Paris, even if it’s just to see all of the same things for a second time.
15 paris day four lunchIt was lunchtime when we left the museum so we decided to grab some food on our way to the next stop. We ended up at a fun little cafe not far from the museum. It was a lively place and it was so nice to sit for a bit and enjoy all of the Parisian energy and people around us. I went with more bread in the form of a ham and goat cheese tartine. It was really good, but I started to feel like I was overdoing it with all the bread and cheese. Luckily they served a salad on the side so I did get some vegetables in during the meal.
13 paris day four green doorI managed to find some more of the famous Parisian doors to take photos in front of. They really are everywhere and they do make quite a statement.
12 paris day four green door
14 paris day four green doorWe walked along the Seine on our way to the Île de la Cité. It was fun seeing all of the little shops set up on the side of the river and trying to find cute souvenirs to bring home. I ended up with a beautiful French version of a Jules Verne book. I love Jules Verne in general and while my French is not even close to being good enough to read the book, it is good practice.
21 paris day four conciergerieOur first stop on the Île de la Cité was the Conciergerie. This was formerly a palace-turned-prison (where they kept Marie-Antoinette) and is now a court building. Part of the prison cells have been blocked off and turned into the Conciergerie and it currently houses a large art installation that transports water from the Seine around the main area of the building. It’s a big open space with a few prison cells and artifacts to look at, but that’s about it. It’s definitely worth checking out for the history alone if you’re in the area (especially with a Museum Pass) but I wouldn’t make a special trip just to visit.
24 paris day four saint chapelleA few doors down is Sainte-Chapelle. This is really worth checking out, especially if you love architecture. Saint-Chapelle was the royal chapel at the palace and you can tell it was built for kings. The lower level is beautiful enough, but wait until you go upstairs…
26 paris day four saint chapelleLook at all of that stained glass! It was really incredible to look at. Everything in Sainte-Chapelle was so extravagant and the colors were so rich and vivid. It was crazy and unlike anything else I saw in Paris. I would put this down as a “must-see” in Paris, just because it’s so different from everything else.
28 paris day four saint chapelle
27 paris day four saint chapelle
29 paris day four notre dameAfter visiting Saint-Chapelle, we walked over to the Notre-Dame Cathedral. We had seen the outside earlier in the week but this time we toured the inside. There was quite a line when we arrived but it moved very quickly and we were able to get in and out in no time. I have to say, the Notre-Dame was a little underwhelming after Saint-Chapelle, but it was still interesting to visit.
31 paris day four crepesAfter grabbing a couple of more crepes for the walk, we headed back to our apartment for a little rest before dinner.
32 paris day fourThe Paris metro system was pretty impressive to me. I’ve used the subway in several cities before but this was by far the easiest I’ve ever encountered. You can buy a carnet of ten tickets at one time (for about 15 euros) and each ticket will take you wherever you need to go in the city. So you can use one ticket and take three different metro lines to get to where you need to go, as long as it’s all the same trip. There’s no need to stop at a kiosk and buy a specific ticket from point a to point b before you get on the train. And even better, the tickets also work on the bus, so if Google Maps tells you to walk to this point and you find yourself at a bus stop instead of a metro station, your tickets will still work.

The metro tunnels were also super easy to navigate. Each tunnel had signs next to it saying where the train was headed. So if you knew you wanted to go to x stop, you just followed the signs for that stop and ended up on a platform. Each train had its own platform so you knew the train that arrived was yours. It was so easy and much better than a platform with multiple trains running on it and trying to figure out if the one arriving was your train or not. Plus some had really fun designs, like this one that looked like you were in a copper submarine.
40 paris day four dinnerFor dinner, we headed to Pain Vin Fromage (literally: bread wine cheese). What else could you want to eat in Paris? We sat downstairs in a room that felt like a cave with stone walls and a small arch. I was pretty bread-ed out at this point but the fondue was so good that I couldn’t resist.
37 paris day four dinnerIt was really fun trying different cheeses from Paris.
34 paris day four dinnerI ended the meal with some profiteroles, which were really good and tasted pretty light after all the fondue.

So that’s day four! It still seems like way too much but it really did feel like more of a relaxing day after our crazy days two and three. We saw a lot of stuff and it was really fun kind of going back in time and seeing more of Paris’ history. The Musée d’Orsay (and the beignet) was my favorite part of the day, but everything else was pretty fun too.
Striped Dress: Mossimo Ruffle Sleeve Dress // Denim Jacket: Old Navy // Bow Sneakers: J Slides Beauty, similar here and here // Blush Crossbody Bag: Forever 21, similar here and here // Tassel Necklace, Sugarfix by Baublebar, similar here // Sunglasses: The Row, similar here and here // Nail Polish: Essie in French Affair // Lipstick: YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in Pink in Paris


Previous days: The Eiffel Tower // Montmartre and Champs-Élysées // Catacombs and The Louvre
Next up: day five: Château de Fontainebleu

-Molly

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