Our study abroad class went to Paris for four days during the end of October.
First, our program was lucky enough to get each of us a ticket to see a ballet at the Opera Garnier. Since I am a huge fan of the film, the musical, and the novel titled Phantom of the Opera I was walking on air during the entire visit. Walking up the winding stairways lit by elegant wrought-iron candélabres and being lead to a box seat with red velvet covered chairs and heavy, sumptuous red curtains with golden tassles - yes, it will always be one of the most pompous buildings in Paris, but I felt like a princess. The ballet was exquisite as well, but I must admit I took enough pleasure in merely sitting in that chair!
The first time I visited the Louvre I had to be dragged by my well-intentioned friends into the very room. The Mona Lisa just isn't worth it. Yes, its a well rendered painting. Yes, it's by da Vinci. I adore da Vinci. But you're better off looking at "la Vierge au rochers" that's in the adjacent room - it's an absolutely gorgeous painting by da Vinci that will always be overlooked in favor of la Gioconde. Someday I want to visit a museum that has a large collection of da Vinci's charcoal or ink drawings - his skill at portraying emotion and movement and age and youth is breathtaking and it is particularly evident in his sketchbooks.
My favorite visit apart from the Opera and the Louvre was Fontainebleu. Fontainebleu is gorgeous. Lesser known than Versailles but certainly more comfortable. If you can take a daytrip from Paris and spend a few hours at this chateau it's worth it. The photos speak for themselves - I could have sat by the huge reflecting pool and watched the swans all day. The interior of the castle is just as sumptuous as Versailles but much more cozy and a little less pompous.
That's all for this evening, I need to get some sleep...