The first time I visited the Louvre was on a class trip the summer before high school started. I was jetlagged and not quite old enough to appreciate much of anything, really. The second time, I was on one of those obnoxious Chinese-English tour groups that blazed through the crowds from one key art piece to another. Needless to say, I didn’t really experience the Louvre until this trip — third time’s the charm, right?

Ryan and I walked from the L’Arc de Triomph all the way to the Louvre (reference frame: that’s 6 metro stops), so we were able to experience the Champs Elysees leading up to Place de la Concorde, through the Tuileries gardens, which finally opened up and revealed the magnificent palace. It was so breathtaking that we went back the next day.