Solo travel is a treat; you could do whatever your heart desires anytime and anywhere. I had always imagined myself going to an art gallery or museum in Paris alone and getting lost with time; the idea of it is so romantique. And that’s what I did: I ventured to Paris’s monumental and iconic museum by myself, with only my little red shoes for company.
It was a bright and sunny morning; I woke up early, enjoyed a croissant and coffee breakfast, and took the metro to Le Louvre. At 9:30am the lineups had already begun zigzagging like a maze, and even if I stood in the non-ticket line for almost two hours that morning, it was the most relaxing moment I had experienced to date.
Being alone is wondrous; I could easily blend in and get lost in the commotion of my surroundings. Moreover, the mindless chatter dissipates, time freezes, and my senses sharpen and I become more aware. This time — as I usually do — I played the keen observer and studied the motion of the countless bodies encircling me, until of course it was time to go in.
Le Louvre was immense as I had anticipated — a real beauty, to be sure. Except that it was really crowded — so crowded, I could feel my head spinning. For that reason, I didn’t stay for long, only long enough to do a quick run and to see the Mona Lisa. That painting by Leonardo da Vinci was by far the most sought out piece of artwork, with cameras hovering left and right in the air. I said “hello” to the Mona Lisa and then scurried away from the crowd.
After Le Louvre, I walked along the Jardin des Tuileries — a pleasant breath of fresh air away from the enclosed space with dancing bodies. It was a lovely sight seeing everyone relaxing on the grass or on the benches, eating away their sandwiches or, you know, kissing or smooching. I, too, bought myself a baguette sandwich (a delicious salmon one) and sat on a chair under the shade to enjoy the afternoon weather. I could feel my body and mind breathing peacefully, and I sighed with sweet contentment.
Le Jardin des Tuileries was followed by a walk towards the Place de la Concorde, which then led to the Champs Élysées, and at the foot of this long stretch was the Arc de Triomphe.
It was a long day of walking and exploring the vicinities of different arrondisements, and needing a quick rest, I returned to my hostel, only to encounter two new fantastic roommates: J from Brazil and O from Spain, and together we ventured to explore Montmartre, and just like all areas of Paris, it was imbued with its own quirky culture and vibe.