Tuesday, 25 March 2008

A day in Paris

It was dubbed to be the world’s most romantic city and as such, it was a place not to be missed for both me and Jules. It is very convenient to head to Paris from London as the Eurostar, a high speed train connects London’s St. Pancras International and Paris’ Gare Du Nord via a 2-hour-15-minutes journey. The ticket price is in the region of £150 return each; and the earlier you book, the cheaper the tickets are.

It was a weekend trip and we left on a Friday night. Getting through custom was rather easy and I mostly slept throughout the journey. Upon arrival, we just looked for the famous Paris Metro, one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world. Though everything is in French, we managed to find the desired destination, Chatelet.

It has been a good 7 years since I last been to Paris and I must say, I don’t recall the Metro station being this dirty. Honestly, the cleanliness was appalling and on top of that, there is a very strong scent of… urine. Not a very pleasant experience in the station I can tell you. So we quickly made our way out via ‘sortie’ and checked-in into our hotel.

I always remember the French and their famous “no-spiikin-inglis” but the hotel receptionist was rather fluent in English. Good for me, I don’t have to embarrass myself with my very limited French. The room was just fantabulous and after settling down, we went out for a short walk. However, it was cold and everything was already closed so we decided to call it a day.

Breakfast was obviously different, no ‘nasi lemak’ or ‘fried bee-hoon’ as there was a good selection of croissant, sausages, bread, scrambled eggs and to cater for the Japanese… miso soup and noodles. After filling our tummy, we headed out for our self-made Paris tour, all on foot.

Our first pit-stop was Arc de Triomphe, approximately 20 minutes walk from our hotel. It is one of France’s most coveted national treasures; built to commemorate the generals who served under Napoleon. There is a fire which burnt non-stop to remember all those who die in the war during Napoleon’s times.
From that, it is a walk down the famous Champs-Élysées (pronounced shon-si-lei-si-eh), a very famous street filled with designer boutiques and sidewalk cafes. Louis Vuitton, or famously known as LV is one of the boutique there. Those who opened the door for us greeted us with ‘bonjour’ but as soon as we stepped in, we were greeted with ‘koni-chiwa’ and ‘ni hao’. 80% of the promoters inside there are Asians and almost 100% of the customers there are mainland Chinese.
Along the street, you can see the National French University. At the end of Champs-Élysées is the Tuileries Palace with a very nice fountain where people will take a break to enjoy the scenic beauty. The fountain is also a place where some wild ducks seek sanctuary.
Moving along, the next destination is the gem of Paris, Musée Du Louvre; the place where one of the world’s most famous paintings is kept. We were really blessed as the queue was not that long. We don’t really know how to appreciate arts and paintings so we headed to the hall which kept that priceless piece of art. The picture I took of that piece was rather unclear. Anyway, I am sure you guys have seen it before. But one thing you don’t know is…
So you think you have been spelling it correctly all these while…

Though we aren’t exactly art lovers, the museum is truly a remarkable place, so huge you can actually spend the whole day in it. It is indeed an architecture wonder and definitely a must see for anyone who visits Paris. If I am not mistaken the entrance fee for the museum is €14 per person. Not cheap if you convert but it’s a place not to be missed.

The next architectural wonder of Paris is certainly the Notre Dame Cathedral. Being inside there gave me a very serene kind of feeling. To me, this is the second most beautiful church in the world. The most beautiful one is located in Rome, will talk about it later. There is a queue to go into Notre Dame and entrance is free.

It’s quite dark inside Notre Dame and basically you can see people taking pictures everywhere. Some will be offering some gifts to the poor and light a candle while some will sit and perhaps whisper a silent prayer.

One cannot say one has visited Paris if one has not been to Eiffel Tower. We reached there after sunset and from afar, I can already see that it is such a magnificent structure. Do you know that this tower is made up of more than 10,000 tonnes of steel but the pressure it exerts on the ground is equivalent to a man sitting on a chair? This is what made Eiffel Tower an architectural wonder.
Queuing to go up the tower is a pain… queuing to go up on a winter night is torture beyond words! I think the temperature was about 3 or 4 degrees and by the time we reached the entrance; we can no longer feel our toes. We stopped at level 2 to grab a hot chocolate before queuing (again) to go up to the highest level. Though it was a torture, going up the tower is another must-do for anyone who visits Paris.

Eiffel Tower was the last destination for that day and we headed back to the hotel for dinner and some well deserved rest. By the way, there is actually a restaurant on the second level of Eiffel Tower and have a look at the name of the restaurant…

We should have been there…

… To be continued… (if I feel like it)…

39 comments:

myop101 said...

:)

angeles said...

Absolutely beautiful! The nice weather too, blue skies! How come the skies over at the other side of the world is always bluer than over here?

day-dreamer said...

Wow. Nice~

Rashikaps said...

:) You never did tell us you and Jules had a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower?

Lynnwei said...

kekeke...i dont really think that eiffel is worth going up...too many ppl, too windy, too crowded!

wah....did u go to disneyland? ahaha...i shouldn't think one must miss disneyland no matter how old they are!

mrbherng said...

Nearly 3 years in the UK and never been to Paris (in fact France) and a few other must visits. Should really make good use of the time while I am still somewhere around this side of the world.

Aleckii said...

Ooohhh... the city of love, I myself did a similiar post-

http://intrepidlywrong.blogspot.com/2008/01/walk-down-memory-lane-pt-2-paris-city.html

Amazing right, and yes, the metro is APPALING!!! I saw this one guy, obviously homeless, sleeping in a corner in what seems like a puddle of his urine.

But other than that, the city just sweeps you away and make you fall in love with it.

I did say that one day, I will bring my girlfriend to Paris for an innocent 'vacation' and then propose to her on the boat cruise down the river Seine, with Eiffel tower in the background...

suituapui said...

Ooo...Gay Paree'!! I've never been there...Sob! Sob! Got a few ex-students studying there (JPA scholars lah!) and one got married to some French chick - an English teacher. Anyway, zewt, looking at the pics, u think u put on weight or was it just the clothes? Wakakakakaka!!!!!!

CK Tan said...

guess all the metro is like tat. the tube in London also smells like tat right?

hm...nice place. i hope to go there one day, not alone!!! i did go alone to venice and it's romantically-depressing.

which church in rome u think is the most beautiful? st peters?

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

next aim in life..to go to paris and be be that 1% malaysian chinese to buy LV hahaha!..

the dinner place up at the tower would have been such a story for many generations to come..wasted..

Huei said...

pls feel like it! =)

wow..so it's not cheap to travel from london to paris n back!

150pounds each!! multiply that by 7!! wow!!!

missironic said...

yea..the metro is really an eyesore, rite? but overall, u got to visit those famous historical places..so cool!!! n wow..monna lisa is spelt like tat..i din noe! lolz...hope to hear ur continuation of the trip! okok, i noe...when u feel like it..;)

Sharon said...

superb, i was smiling all the way reading the post, brings back a lot of memories :) i didn't go into the lourve museum tho :$ thought the price was a bit too steep for someone who dont know how to appreciate art like me hehe.. hey didnt u take picture in the Eiffel tower itself?

J.T. said...

Nice pictures. Reminds me of our holiday in Paris. The only thing I did not do is go up the Eiffel Tower. It was 4th July weekend (America's Independence). It seemed like Americans from all over Europe had the same idea as we did - a long weekend in Paris. :D We did not want to wait in line for hours to go up the tower. Maybe someday... and I will make sure it is not early part of the year. Don't want to come back with frost-bitten toes (of course, I am exaggerating! haha)

Out of all those places I visited, I think I spent most of my time in the Louvre. To be surrounded by art... it was a dream come true. (that's just me). :)

kennymah said...

"Le Jules Verne"? Wah, tell me you guys had dinner there... not often one gets to dine in an establishment that shares the same name... and in such a romantic icon too!

Je'taime Paris...

PabloPabla said...

Wowzers! This entry is so much like my summer 96 trip with my then girlfriend now my wife :D

We took the Eurostar too (it was just 1 year old then) and stayed at Hotel Vignon at Rue Vignon near Place de la Magdalene. And those places you've been jolted all the great memories, especially having a scrumptious baguette next to the lake at Tuileries Palace. The French really know how to bake!

nilimpa said...

Wah... I want to go also!!

Especially the Louvre.

Helen said...

Nice! Serious, those are real nice pics. Whenever I see your Musée Du Louvre, Da Vincci Code kept coming back to haunt me.... lol

Tine said...

Awwww man. I tak boleh tahan already lah :(

tulipspeaks said...

their architecture is simply amazing!


ammu.

bongkersz said...

envy... envy!!! :D

Seaqueen said...

Oh, such envy to visit such a romantic place. Hahahah!!!

zewt said...

myop101 - paris for honeymoon? :)

angeles - haha... same as sweden eh?

day-dreamer - ok ok ler... :)

rashikaps - yeah, i should have sue the owner for copyright infringement... :P

lynnwei - nah.... if i wanna go, i will choose the one in tokyo or the states instead.

mrbherng - aiyoo... in UK... the must go la. get the inter-rail and do 1 month backpacking... it's damn fun!

Aleckii - hehe... what do u mean by 'innocent' vacation? :P

zewt said...

suituapui - wah... your friend is a lucky dude! haha... as for me... almost 3 months of eating and no exercise... what do u think?

CK Tan - hahaha... venice is better than paris i think. yah, st peters is indeed the wonder of the world.

constant craver joe - we only saw the restaurant when we went up. and the ticket to get into the restaurant (yes, u need a ticket) was on sale on the ground so.... sigh...

huei - well, it's efficient mah... dont need to take off and land... very convenient.

missironic - u went and didnt see monna lisa? that's a waste ler...

sharon - i am sure you will have many chance to go again after your 'impending future plans' :). your husband-to-be will surely take you. yeah, took pictures up there but i dont wanna flood this entry with too many pics.

J.T. - it is indeed a torture, and i heard the queue is even longer during summer so... choose your visit time wisely :) well, if you love art... louvre is heaven... and u have to head to the vatican museum too!

lynnx01 said...

Whoa, Paris!! I remember my friend told me that the French weren't keen of English-speaking people. His family and him were SKL-ed (sik kenak layan, in Bahasa Sarawak) when they attempted to communicate in English, so they ended up speaking foochow.

zewt said...

kennymah - hahaha... we missed it... we missed it... such a waste not to eat there...

pablopabla - did you try th crepes? you can always go back for your 10th year anniversary :)

nilimpa - hello... welcome to AZAIG. start planning now :)

Helen - you know, there is actually a tour that provides "da vinci walk"... you can actually do the walk... if you are a fanatic la.

Tine - kakakakaka... you are down under weh.... i also cant tahan la.

tulipspeaks - you have not seen anything yet... wait till i blog about italy... :)

bongkersz - hehe... dont la.

seaqueen - ask mcmercedez to work harder la... hehe...

lynnx01 - hahahaha... i think those days are gone..

Anak Merdeka said...

Ahh .. this post makes me wanna go to Paris too, Zewt!

Ah-Bong said...

jealous jealous jealous...

Bee Ean said...

Zewt,

In this case you should bring Jules to Nantes, there is a road call rue de Jules Verne and a restaurant has the same name. This guy is considered the father of Science in France and he was borned in Nantes.

When my family was here in Sept last year they couldn't stand the long queue and the cold to go up the tower. It was so cold last summer, and I don't know how people can stand in winter.

Rabbit said...

*jeles* hmph! i nak pergi juga!!! wait till i earn enough money, which is in a few years time from now. uwaaaaaaaaa!

Esther Chin said...

PARIS! My dream vacation!!!

MeLiSsA said...

you making me miss paris so much..i do love paris for the art & history the city has and would love to travel there again...sadly they dont keep the city too clean now.

hope u had a wonderful time there!

zewt said...

anak merdeka - go go go :)

ah-bong - dont la... later how am i going to post my second entry on paris...

bee ean - i see... so he is the father of science... what a name he has... u know why right? :) cold in summer??? u have no idea how it was like during winter.

rabbit - i am sure u can make it one day...

esther chin - hehe... work on it! :) or make sure your bf brings u.

MeLiSsA - if u love art... i am sure u will love paris... and rome! i am sure u can always go there again :)

missironic said...

ya..din..din managed to..tats y lo..nvm! still got other chance one..look positively! lolz...

Lynnwei said...

oh....haf u been there...i mean disneyland paris! well, i would want to go to Disneyworld in Florida...might as well go for the largest disneyland...haha...or tokyo.

i'm saving towards it now!! aha...

kyh said...

i came to read this post! actually been reading it in the past few days, just not able to drop a word or two.

amazing!!! i'm sure the stench of urine exists anywhere in the world, esp in big cities with huge populations.

i love those shots of the famed parisian landmarks, esp the angle of the brilliantly lit eiffel tower. :)

zewt said...

missironic - ya... what else can i do...

lynnwei - tak pernah pergi... but will certainly go for one... soon perhaps... :)

kyh - well, maybe i should take up photography eh? :)

Aleckii said...

Oh yeah, you're right, I punctuated the wrong words, it's 'innocent' vacation instead of innocent 'vacation'... Ahha!

zewt said...

aleckii - :P .... hey... it's really innocent ok!