Guided tour of the Louvre Museum

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The Louvre is one of the top 10 sites visited in Paris with over 7 million visitors a year! So, you are probably looking for ways to maximize your time when visiting the museum.

There are several ways to see the museum:

There have been several questions posted on my most popular article about the Louvre asking about the guided tour.

A guided tour of the Louvre Museum is a great way to see the most popular works of art like Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and the famous statue of David. The tour also shows you the history of the museum including the original fortress. On top of that, its a quick history lesson on the evolution of art style and techniques. If you are rushed for time, I recommend it.

Here are a few things you need to know:

  • The guided tour is an additional cost to your admission ticket.
  • The guided tour can only be purchased at the Louvre on the day of your visit.
  • English language tour times are daily except on Tuesdays  (museum is closed) at 11am and 2pm. Group sizes are very limited so I recommend going to the museum when it first opens and then going immediately to the tour office (directions to find the office are listed below). If a guided tour ends up being in the afternoon and you don’t want to spend the entire day at the Louvre, your entrance ticket is good for reentry during the day you are visiting.

How to find the tour office:

  • Once you have entered the museum, go straight to the tour office.
  • Look for “Accueil Des Groups et Visites-Conferences” on the wall and turn left.

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  • Then, straight ahead you will see this sign and follow the arrow turning right.

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  • Just a few steps on your right, look for the door with this sign and go inside.

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The people there are very helpful and speak English but remember to greet with a “Bonjour Monsieur/Madame” first…trust me! If “Bonjour Monsieur/Madame” is all you have the courage to say in French, do it! The effort will make a world of difference in your visit to Paris. They will likely respond in English, they can spot us Americans a mile away. LOL! Simply let them know you want to purchase a guided tour ticket. They will let you know availability.

 

I hope you have a wonderful visit to the Louvre!

 

Bises (kisses),

Kimberly

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Covered Passages of Paris: Passage des Panaromas, Passage Jouffroy and Passage Verdeau

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The covered passage of Paris are a wonderful yet not talked about attraction of Paris. These Belle Epoque era walkways were constructed to keep the businessman and the well to do of Paris protected from the smells and grime of the streets. The passages not only were short cuts between parallel streets but provided eating and shopping establishments. Today, they serve a similar function but are open to the public and are a great way to explore another side of Paris especially if the weather is not so great.

In my last article, I showed you the first two passages, Galeries Vivienne and Passage Choiseul,  from the self guided tour I did. For this article, I will round out the rest of the tour with three more covered passages.
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Exploring the covered passages of Paris

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Bonne Année! Happy New Year! Well 2016 was a doozy but here we are one week down in 2017 so let’s get right into it.

One thing of Paris that I think doesn’t get enough attention are covered passages of Paris. Now found only on the Right Bank, these Belle Epoque era walkways offer a glimpse of the past and provide some very unique shopping experiences.

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Glass ceiling

The covered passages, many with glass ceilings, were originally created as a way for Parisians to avoid bad weather (still true today) and the smell and grime of the streets (also somewhat true today). Just as in the past, the covered passages also provide a short cut between streets and some really fun window shopping. Only about 15 of the original 60 passages are left and each passage has its own character and are really fun to explore especially on rainy days.

When my friend and I set out to explore them, I printed out the super easy map from Smarter Paris. Smarter Paris does have an app but because the phone I was using was really old and didn’t have a SIM card (my new phone had had an unfortunate encounter with a bowl of water and was drying out), I printed out the map and followed it effortlessly. Passage des Princes was the only one we couldn’t find but I think that was due to the construction covering up some street names.

It takes about 3-4 hours depending on how often you stop to look and shop so definitely plan for half a day.

In the next several posts, I will be sharing photos of the covered passages we explored.

Bises (kisses),
Kimberly

Don’t be scammed! How to know which Parisian churches are free

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When strolling the streets of Paris, it is hard not to miss the stunning old churches that dot the city. They are magnificent works of art in their own right and often have gorgeous frescoes painted by famous artists.

Unfortunately, Paris is known for the abundance of scam artists so it is important to know which churches have free entry like at Notre Dame and which churches have paid entry like at Sainte Chapelle. Once when I was visiting the Abbey of Saint Germain des Pres, a free entry church, a very official looking man tried to get me to pay to enter.

So that you aren’t scammed, here is how you tell the difference…if the church is “active” meaning the church still holds services and provides ministry to the people, it is a free church. Notre Dame is still an active church holding Mass and other services so entry to the church itself is free. There is a fee to visit the bell tower. Sainte Chapelle, however, is no longer an active church which is why there is a fee to enter.

You will find that most of churches in Paris are free entry and are a great budget friendly way to view the history, art and charm of the city.

Bises (kisses),
Kimberly

Pro tip: Not glamorous but sure functional. When touring around Paris, I always wear a money belt with a little extra cash and a credit card in case I get pick pocketed.  Buy yours here (affiliate link).*

*Disclaimer: The Paris Itinerary is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

If you decide to purchase anything through the affiliate links on this post, I will receive a small percentage of money from the company at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for supporting The Paris Itinerary.

Versailles: Review of the Trianon Palaces and Marie Antoinette’s farm and hamlet

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While the Chateau and adjoining formal gardens at Versailles are very well known, written about and probably the most popular part of the estate, there are two other areas you can visit if you have the time. One is the Trianon Palaces known as the Grand and Petit Trianon. The second is Marie Antoinette’s farm and hamlet. Continue reading