Exploring Paris museums day 3

Day 3 continued: So we got back to our hotel around 2:30 and decided (after 2 nights of passing out by 8 PM) that a little mid-day rest may be in order. After that (roughly around 4) we headed out to the Musee D’Orsay for a quick adventure before our tour of the catacombs. (at 6) We walked since it was only about 10 minutes and came across this sign on our way. It may not quite be LillIe but it’s close 😉 so I took it as my name anyways.

Above: The “party” room in the Musee D’Orsay
Like the Louvre we faced a security line (seperate for ticket holds and non ticket holders) that moved decently quick but still took 20ish minutes. (much longer than I thought it would) which left us with just over an hour to explore a fairly massive museum! The layout of this museum is also tricky as elevators on one end only go up, the stairs are usually safest. 
The museum was once a train station so architecture wise.. it was really cool!
Musee D’Orsay Practical Information:
Hours: CLOSED MONDAYS, open from 9:30-6 PM Tuesday-Sunday with late nights on Thursdays until 9:45 PM.
Cost: 12 euros for full rate
*Included in Museum Pass
*Like other museums in Paris, this one is FREE for everyone under 18 or FREE for EU citizens aged 18-25
Passport/ Combined ticket options:
Orsay and Rodin: 18 euors
Orsay and Musee de l’Orangerie: 16 euros
*Keep your ticket, in the week following your visit you can get discounted tickets for Palais Garnier, Gustave Moreau National Museum, and Jean-Jacques Henner National Museum
I had 2 things I wanted to see on my mind: 1st the clock. 2nd the Impressionist painters wing. For some reason in my AP French class we covered a section on the French Impressionist movement in painting so out of all the art we would see in Paris, I knew none as well as I did the painters Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, and Cezanne. I was pretty thrilled to see so many of their works presented in one place. The wing is HUGE! 
A large Renoir painting. (next to Monet’s lily pad ponds, his paintings were my favorite)
Another Renoir
Said clock that still resides from the days of being a train station. You can look out at the Louvre across the Seine river which is pretty cool. 
My favorite! The picture I had to get! Despite the crowd of people standing around to take pictures of the clock.
Tip: There are 2 clocks, 1 is in a cafe(the first one you’ll come across) and the other is through the Impressionist painting wing. Don’t disturb the diners… just make your way to the 2nd clock for this pic. 
Looking down the line of the museum towards the entrance. See the train station now? 🙂

Selfie at one of my favorite spots in D’Orsay

GIANT PAINTING! I took this from up on the balcony across. This painting was like the size of a house. haha
My favorite statue in the Musee D’Orsay
A sculpture of St. Michael slaying the dragon. These things were evyerwhere but this one was a pretty cool representation I think. 
A model of the Paris opera house. From right- left: The Grand Loggia (balcony), The Grand Foyer, the Grand staircase, the auditorium, and the behind the scenes (which looks SO awesome and now I wish we’d been able to see it haha) 
Look how cute my favorite room in all of Paris is in mini form. 
Another cool statue in the Musee D’Orsay
The largest Monet in the museum. Braden wasn’t with me otherwise I would’ve had my picture taken with this one for scale. But with the last 15 minutes before we had to leave Braden caught sight of a banner proclaiming the wondrously famous Vangogh portrait of himself somewhere in the museum ( in the half that we hadn’t covered yet) so he dashed off in search of it while I explored the last little bit on the ground floor. 
Braden in front of the Museum sign
Posing with the Museum sign
From here things go real. We had to make it to the Catacombs in 20 minutes for our 6:00 tour. GMaps said the bus would be the fastest and the stop we needed was RIGHT in front of the museum. AWESOME! But we got there and it said 20 minutes until the next bus… HUH? I hate buses. haha so we dashed off to the metro station about 10 minutes walk away and got to the station 5 minutes away from the entrance like right at 6… Luckily they were lenient. lol 
I’ve read online that if you go to the catacombs after 5:30 the line will be a lot shorter… Well I can’t speak for what the line looked like earlier in the day but it was still VERY LONG when we got there. Luckily I paid the premium bought our tickets online for the 6:00 time slot so we got to skip THE ENTIRE LINE! hehe so worth it. Like fastpasses at Disneyland. 
The interesting thing about the catacombs I think most people don’t know about is that they started off as a mining Quarry. (Where do you think all the gorgeous stone (lutetian limestone) in the buildings came from?!) Post 12th century, common mining practices were to drill wells, enter through the well, and then expand horizontally from there. Most of the mines from the medieval period were uncharted and at the time under “suburbs” outside of Paris where there was less concern in controlling the mines. Come the year 1774, there were many series of cave-ins of homes, streets, etc that caused the current sovereign, Kind Louis XVI to commission the inspection Générale des Carrières (of Inspection of mines) service. The actual ossuary (catacomb) section is rather small in comparison to the massive tunnel system extending under the streets of Paris. 
Above: As mines were inspected and reinforced as needed to avoid cave-ins, inscriptions were put into the walls to indicate how far along that tunnel they were in inspection (65) the inspector in charge of the reinforcement designs (G.) and the year reinforcements were completed. (1781) 
At least half of the tour of the catacombs is actually about the quarry practices back then and the subsequent reinforcement of the walls. Our premium, skip the line- online, tickets did include the audio tour which I highly recommend. There were a few rooms with large plagues that gave similar information but it was much more interesting to learn about as you moved through the dark passages. 
Braden walking through a section of quarry that was reinforced with pillars. 
Enter then the Ossuary section of the tunnels: The Catacombs
The Paris Catacombs hold the remains of more than six million people in only a small part of the ancient Mines of Paris tunnel network. The creation idea came just after the cave-ins began and the cemeteries were over-flowing. In 1763, an edict was issued by Louis XV banning all burials from the capital. The Church, however, did not wish to disturb or move the cemeteries, and opposed the edict. As a result, nothing was done. The situation persisted until 1780, when an unusually long period of spring rain caused a wall around the Les Innocents (largest cemetery in Paris) to collapse, resulting in the spilling of rotting corpses into a neighboring property. By this time, the French authorities were forced to take action.The transfer of bones from cemeteries to this Ossuary went nightly from the years 1786-1788 and following the French Revolution, the practice began to actual dump fresh corpses within the catacombs rather than bury then only to have to dig up the bones later. The bones were not then arranged how they are now. For the first few years of bone dumping, the catacombs were just that… bone dumping. It wasn’t until 1810, that the mine inspector director,  Louis-Étienne Héricart de Thury, the renovation to organize the bones was done. In addition to the very interesting arrangement of bones (mostly skulls and femurs) artifacts from previous cemeteries, inscriptions, archways, and other ornamental features were added) The last official additon of bones to the catacombs was in 1859.  It would remain then, relatively forgotten until 1874 when it was opened to the public as a “museum.” The bones to this day still remain in their original arrangement, however once a year, cleanings and methods to preserve the bones are completed. 
Loads of bones. So surreal. 
A heart of skulls… 
Cemetery decoration within the catacombs 
An interesting arrangement of bones
Markers showing which church this section of bones came from. 
More markers and inscriptions
Cool? design in the catacombs 
A super giant “barrel” of bones that you can walk around. 
Paris Catacombs Practical Information:
Hours: CLOSED MONDAYS. Open from 10 AM to 8:30 with the last ticket entrance available at 7:30.
Cost: Full price: 17 euros
Reduced price: 14 euros (for those aged 18-26 or with the Family Paris Pass card)
Audio guides: 5 euros
TIP: BUY YOUR TICKET AHEAD OF TIME. The cost to buy online on the Catacombs website is 29 euros and INCLUDES the audio guide. So for 7 euros more you easily skip an hour or more line.
*Be prepared to wander 1.5 km through dark passages. The tour will likely take around 45 min to 1 hour and the temperature remains a constant 14 C or 57 F
*There are approximately 130 steps down and 83 steps to go up so not recommended for those with fear of confined spaces, those with heart or respiratory issues, or those with reduced mobility
*If you carry a purse or small bag with you, they will ask to check your bag both at the entrance (for security purposes) and at the end.. to make sure you aren’t bringing home any contraband souvenirs. 😛 
The plan for the rest of the evening was to check out all the lights at night so I could try my hand at nighttime photography (and since we previously fell asleep before it even got dark haha) so we took the bus over to the Louvre area for some dinner. (finally a Parisian dinner! lol) I got boeuf bourguignon which was so good! Then we spent about an hour getting all our souvenir shopping out of the way for the Christmas gifts this year. 
*The best souvenir shopping sites we saw were shops near the Louvre, Notre Dame, and in Montmartre. 
Super cool clouds rolling in as night time settled over the Louvre. 
Cool clouds as it got dark over the Louvre
The amazing Louvre courtyard at night
Then we set up the tripod and got started with the fun nighttime photography! 
Unlike the other famous tourist spots in Paris the Louvre courtyard really empties out at night. It may just have been my favorite site to chill at if we stayed in Paris longer. So peaceful and relaxing! 

So many couple photos! 😛
So peaceful! 

Couldn’t leave without snagging one of these photos 
From there we took the metro over to the Arc De Triomphe to play around with long exposures. This area was SO busy, it became a challenge to find a spot we could set up the tripod without having a million people walk in front of it during a 1 minute exposure. 

So we were akwardly under a street light which somewhat skewed a lot of the photos. Oh well. haha the traffic lights still look cool! 
And from there, one last bus to the Eiffel Tower to watch it “sparkle” Again another VERY busy area but I can’t say that I blame them. Tons of vendors walking around with beer, wine, champagne and other beverages that probably make a killing. lol smart entrepreneurs right there! 

Then it was a quick 10 minute walk back to the apartment where we definitely collapsed exhausted at the late hour of midnight! EEEh Our last day in Paris was exceptional though! 
Stay tuned for the next post of cool places just outside the Paris area and then onto Normandy! 
Goodnight from Paris!
Day 3 costs:
Hotel: $120 for 2 people
Museum Pass: $42/ day for 2 people 
Breakfast: from our fav. bakery again 6 euros
RT train tickets to Versailles: $14.50 for 2 people
Angelina Hot Chocolate: 8 euros pp plus another 5 euros for a coffee so 13 at this stop 
Versailles Gardens during Musical fountain show day: 20 euros for 2 people

30 minute row boat adventure: 13 euros

Lunch: quick stop at Mcdonalds for 10 euros
Dinner: 43 euros
Paris Catacombs online tickets: 29 euros/ person so 58 euros for 2
Total other transportation costs for the day: 15 euros
Day 3 total: 354.50 

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