Le Bain Turc - INGRES

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There is a Frank Sinatra's song that goes like this "I love Paris in the Springtime/ I love Paris in the Fall/ I love Paris in the Summer when it sizzles/ I love Paris in the Winter when it drizzles" and that's true, we love Paris but we have to admit that we're getting a little blasé by it. After all, we have been here a hundred times and sometimes, we find it hard to see it with brand new eyes. The same places (the Opera district, the 3rd Arrondissement, la rue Saint Honoré...), the same stores... So we needed to change this situation, to re-discover Paris, we had to act like tourists! Of course, not the "traditional" tourists who is not aware of the traps he has to avoid. We are smarter than that and above all, more aware of the tricks!

Here, by tourists, we mean going to places that are not that familiar to us, going off the beaten tracks to catch a different essence of the capital. After all, in our everyday life, that's what we are trying to do so when on holidays, let's be true to ourselves!

Our trip started with a genuine tourist thing, "le passage obligé": Le Louvre! It's been ages since our last visit to the world's largest museum and everything was here! The paintings (Mona Lisa leading the way), the sculptures, the souvenirs (amazing how far you can go to make money!) and of course, the horde of tourists coming from all over the world. An ocean of tourists who all want one thing: taking a picture of the mysterious girl with a mysterious smile. We quickly understood that the majority of them was here for her and only for her, the Beyoncé of painting. It's almost impossible to come close to here if you except the fact that she is protected by a giant unbreakable window, a security cordon and two guards. There were so many people in front of her! Insane! Most of the persons here did not even notice that in the same room was the largest painting of the museum (and much more interesting than La Joconde) Véronèse's Les Noces de Cana. It's a little bit funny to see that after Mona Lisa's room, the museum got quieter and the atmosphere less hot as if most people didn't care about the rest (the wonderful paintings of Ingres, David, Géricault, Delacroix and so many others!). Do they really love Art? We seriously doubt it...

With hindsight, these 2 days in Paris were all about contrasts. After all, how would you call the fact that we wanted to go off the beaten tracks while we chose to visit Le Louvre first? So after our walk in the world's most crowded museum, we decided to look for a place we've wanted to find for a while: the place with the pillars designed by artist Daniel Buren, the one obsessed with stripes and checks. We knew that it was around Le Louvre but where exactly? For us, it was like a mythical place, only known by insiders. We wanted to be insiders! After a quick search and as if we were guided by some powerful forces (no, we are not getting mystical) we found it and it was so so calm! Heaven after the noise and heat we had experienced a few minutes before. A true discovery and a perfect place to take pictures (as you can see in this article). Next to this nice location, we found a unique and out of time place, a place with trees, cute children playing, a majestic fountain and huge luxury stores (Stella McCartney, Rick Owens, Marc Jacobs, Pierre Hardy, Maison Kitsuné...) le Jardin du Palais Royal. A place you should definitely visit if you ever come to the City of Lights.

The day after this enchanted interlude (and after a quick visit to the Kenzo store, place de la Madeleine where we found some really cool clothes you'll see in future OOTD), one of our best friends Noëlla, took us to Belleville, a popular district far from le Palais Royal but nonetheless, picturesque, sincere and cheap (a good point when you are in Paris!). In Belleville, a drink has a normal price for a drink and you can eat gorgeous Chinese raviolis in a typical restaurant for a never seen before price! Good to be back to basics and genuine values sometimes. In a way, this part of Paris reminded us of Brick Lane in London or some alternative free zones of Berlin, a part of the city where street artists express themselves, a place where there are no conventions, no rules, where walls belong to those who want to transform them, to magnify them or who just want to give them another meaning. Once again, we felt like being somewhere out of time, in a kind of small romantic village with a strong identity and this is a great feeling we should definitely have more often! We'll try to keep this in a corner of our minds for our next stay in Paris and perhaps, we'll visit a district we have never seen before. After all, this is what holidays are meant for!

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