Crikey, Paris, 2012 sounds like THE FUTURE doesn’t it? I mean, not just a year into the future but THE FUUUUTURE. How time flies. I’m sure it was still 1992 last time I looked, which will explain why I’m still listening to Fields of the Nephilim at any rate…
We’re planning to spend a week in Paris next year on what appears to becoming our biannual trip. My husband actually wants to go to Rome but I’m putting that off for a bit until I write about Isabella de’ Medici as I want to do a combined trip to Rome, Florence and Venice and the boys will need to be a bit bigger for that.
So Paris it is! Not that I’m complaining. I did complain once though about going to Paris, can you believe? It was (and still is) the practice at my old university to send second year History of Art undergraduates off for a week in a European city to research a dissertation based on a topic relating to said city. Due to being quite flush with cash I tagged along with the second years above me to Rome, which was pretty amazing but also a bit overwhelming and as the weeks went in order I expected to be packed off to Venice with my own lot a year later.
It was not to be. The course directors decided that it would be unethical to send a group of students to Venice after spending two years banging on about how bad tourism was for the city’s conservation and so agreed that we should go to Paris instead. ‘Oh no, not boring Paris!’ we all groaned in the lecture theatre when they made the announcement. Imagine that. It was quite a good week though in the end. I researched a First worthy essay about the representations of Marie Antoinette in post revolutionary art, almost fell in the Seine, visited Malmaison for the first time, went to the Louvre so often that I seem to have spoiled it for myself forever and ate a lot of cake.
Typically, I have already started thinking about where we will be going. I’m not going to lie or pretty this up – I am a monumental control freak and really love making lists. There, I said it. I couldn’t go to Paris and just drift around with no clear idea of what I was going to do with my day. Sacre bleu! No, I like to have my time there organised with almost military precision so I can march around with my precious Batobus Pass and Musée Carte and totally kill my feet in the process.
On my list for re-visits next year are:
1. Musée des Arts Décoratifs. This is my favourite museum in Paris and is crammed full of unimaginable treasures. In fact there is so much gorgeous, glorious stuff in there that it can be overwhelming so I often have to have a little break half way round to look at something ugly until I’ve come to my senses and so can appreciate everything again.
2. The Louvre. I’m mostly over the Louvre now, having been so often but the foundations of the Medieval Louvre, sculpture department, royal jewels and Napoleon III apartments are still definite MUST SEES.
3. Musée Nissim de Camondo. A gorgeous museum of art housed in a lovely former mansion.
4. Musée Carnavalet. Always this one. It wouldn’t feel like a trip to Paris without a look in at the French Revolutionary rooms and amazing paintings in this museum! I need to spend quite a bit of time in the Marais area in general to get a feel for the seventeenth century city and may even look into renting an apartment there for the week. We stayed literally (and I mean LITERALLY) opposite the Louvre last time, which was just perfect so that would take some beating.
5. Versailles. Bien sur. I didn’t go last time because Dave was unwilling to put himself through a day at Versailles with me again (I’ll admit that it can get a bit arduous as I like to cover a lot of ground and look at EVERYTHING) but next time I’ll be going with or without him. So there. I’ll be paying more attention to the Trianons this time as I still haven’t seen all of the renovations at the Petit Trianon.
6. Fontainebleau. We planned to go there last time but for some reason (rain storm and sleeping in, I suspect) didn’t quite make it. I HAVE to go next time though so we’ll just have to make sure we get up in the morning, won’t we?
7. Conciergerie and Sainte Chapelle. Like the Carnavalet, I can’t imagine visiting Paris and not going to the Conciergerie. You can read about our last visit there here.
8. Saint-Cloud. I haven’t been out to Saint-Cloud before but feel that I should as it was the site of Philippe and Henriette d’Orléans’ amazingly beautiful château. Not much remains now but I still want to see the site for myself.
9. Palais Royal. One of my absolute favourite places in Paris – I adore the serene pillars and sense of history all around. It’s simply stunning. I need to work out if they ever let people visit the chapel inside – does anyone know?
10. Picpus. I may have to go here on my own as it’s a bit too morbidly obsessive for Dave, but I regret not going last time we were in Paris.
Of course, that’s not all we’ll be seeing but that’s just enough to be day dreaming about for now! If you’re planning a visit to Paris as well then you may like my brief guide to visiting the city with children.
All photographs are MINE ALL MINE. I’ve got a fancy schmancy camera that scares the bejesus out of me now and a whole plethora of Hipstamatic lenses on my iPhone so expect even better photos when I get back next time!