Europe 2011: Paris (6/6)

Serena and I had to take different flights going into Paris because hers came with her US flights. We managed to get the same arrival time, but we had to fly into different airports – I to ORY and she to CDG. We semi-freaked out about this since we’re going to by ourselves and we thought French are rude, but we were wrong. French people don’t mind speaking English, and was not any more nice nor rude than other countries.

As soon as I got to the airport I shelled out some euros to get the Museum pass which was €35 for a two day pass – well worth it if you want to see a lot of things in Paris. I also recommend getting the Paris transportation pass since you’ll probably be using a lot of their metro.

I found out that the major train that was going to take me to the city – RER B – was on strike that day. The helpful girl at the tourist counter recommended me another route which involves taking the bus to Denfert Rochereau metro. I didn’t want to take taxi, so I took the bus option and it was the worst airport-to-city journey I had throughout the entire trip. We were packed into the bus like sardines (i guess because everyone had to take this bus), when I tried to get into the station my luggage almost couldn’t fit through the gate, and THEN the train into the city was so crowded that I was pushed against everyone with my big luggage.

But finally, I made it safely to our hostel – Plug-inn hostel at Blanche area.  This hostel was probably the most commercialized and expensive accommodation we paid, but Paris isn’t exactly a cheap city. I don’t mind the hostel much and it was located in a convenient area. It was also down the street from Moulin Rouge area, but it was actually not very sketchy.

Day 11 – November 9, 2011

Like most people visiting Paris, we were of course excited to see the Eiffel Tower! We were starving so we had a quick lunch at a chinese place down the street (we really missed asian food, you see) then took the metro down to Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel tower!! we gasped at the first sight of it. you’d never guess how excited we were to see this tall tower!

Jardin du Champ de Mars – so pretty with the yellowing trees around it

Hoping to be able to check out the summit of the tower that day, Serena and I got in line. To our dismay, the elevator decided to malfunction right when we get to the end of the line. One hour wasted and we were pissed. It was getting dark at 5pm, so we decided to just enjoy the city and walk to Champ-Elysees at the other side of Seine River.

But, halfway through Pont d’lena bridge, we looked back in awe as the Eiffel tower started to light up as the night fell. It was one of the most gorgeous sight of the entire trip! We were no longer pissed off.

Jardin du Trocadero, where we got a better view of the magical Eiffel Tower

After taking a million pictures, we continued to walk towards Arc du Triomphe, and onto Paris’ main shopping street – Champ-Elysees. I was VERY impressed by this street. It was big and very full of life and glittering with all kinds of high end stores. I see now why Paris time is shopping time!

Serena and I had our own agenda at Champ-Elysees. She wanted to check our Louis Vuitton, while I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some french macarons. They both happened to be close to each other so it all worked out well! We hit the Louis Vuitton store first, which was huge and extremely overrated but walked away empty handed as their collection was just not impressive. We continued to walk down the street, and I spotted the famous pastry shop Laduree! We quickly made our way into the small shop and was delighted that the line wasn’t too bad.

Click here for the post on macarons.

Tired from all the walking, we decided to call it a day and went home.

Day 12 – November 10, 2011

We were determined to get to the top of Eiffel Tower today, so we set out to the tower – bright and early. The elevator didn’t malfunction this time and we were able to get to the summit! The summit ticket costed us €13.40

The summit is tall. Very, very tall. Looking down was almost scary but we enjoyed our stay.

Paris was cold around this time. I’m glad I brought my coat!!

Satisfied with the tower, we made our way to Notre Dame de Paris, a gothic Catholic church at the heart of Paris built in the 12th century.

The front door was decorated with a statue of Jesus and the twelve apostles

Inside there was a small, intimate mass! No idea what it was for though.

From there we went to…

Musee du Louvre! It was actually within walking distance from Notre Dame but we had the metro pass so we took those instead :P I was slightly disappointed to find that there was no line at Louvre. I wanted to use my Paris Pass privilege!! ah well. We went straight inside and looked for Mona Lisa.

Finally! The painting was a lot smaller than I had expected, but there she was. I had to wade through a thick crowd to get a picture up close…

Venus de Milo, created on 100BC and is one of the most famous ancient Greek sculpture.

Louvre is a HUGE museum. Art lovers can spend hours, if not days, wading through this museum. Serena and I wasn’t exactly one of those people so we were in and out within two hours after checking out the must-see arts. We went to check out Jardin du Tuileries right outside of Louvre

Such a pretty and relaxed place. I looooved all the parks we went to in Europe!!

Louvre from afar

From this park, we took the train to another park – Jardin du Luxembourg, which has now become my favorite park!!

They had all these chairs instead of benches for people to sit in. Everyone just literally sat in circles, reading books or chatting with friends as they’re enjoying the beautiful weather!

So Serena and I followed suit, we sat on the chairs for awhile before moving on

Our next destination was about two blocks away the Pantheon

This Pantheon isn’t as old and full of history as the one we saw in Rome, but I was still impressed by how massive and beautiful it was

We were close to St. Sulpice, an area Serena wanted to check out for shopping and also home for my second macaron hunt: Pierre Herme. On the way there, we passed by Jardin du Luxembourg again and I went picture happy, again. The entire park was just too pretty to resist!

Amidst all the activity and excitement, I spotted this old couple slowly trotting through the park, arm in arm. I’m not sure if it was just the romantic atmosphere in Paris or what, but I was very touched by them. I hope to find someone I can share the same experience with, one day.

A few blocks down from the park, we found ourselves at Rue de Bonaparte – where one of Pierre Herme store is!

Read my entry on macarons here!

We were hoping for some cheap shopping at St. Sulpice, but it was actually the opposite. All the stores were high end boutiques and expensive! However, we stumbled into a Burberry store and Serena did stumble out with a new coat :P

We wanted to have dinner at a place my french friend recommended but it wasn’t open till 7:30 so we walked to Musee d’Orsay nearby. I was hoping to see Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, but as soon as we got there I found out the painting was currently on loan… in, get this, Singapore. of ALL the countries and time! The good thing is I can still see it as it will be here till Feb 5.

I did enjoy the rest of Orsay very much though. We got to check out Van Gogh’s other works, as well as various works by Claude Monet I had previously learned about. I much preferred Orsay compared to Louvre!

Afterwards we went back to Rue Saint Benoit for french dinner at Au Pied de Fouet, and went home.

Day 13 – November 11, 2011

We woke up bright and early again to the place I looked forward the most. I was a french revolution geek growing up, so I was extremely excited to visit Versailles!

It was located about an hour away from Paris and we took the train to get there.

On the way to Chateau de Versailles. How pretty is this?

The gates outside were entirely painted in gold.

Chateau de Versailles – a beautiful palace where three generations of French monarch lived – Louis XIV to XVI (and his famous queen Marie Antoinette) lived. Upon entering the palace, we were given an audio tour guide which was very helpful. I still can’t believe I was at the very site where Marie Antoinette tried to escape during the beginning of French Revolution!


And get this, this is the backyard of the palace. a freaking forest. No big deal!

We started making our way to Petit Trianon, which took about 15 minutes by foot.

From Petit Trianon, we also tried to check out Marie Antoinette’s estate but it was just too cold outside and the park was way too big! so we saw what we could and made our way back to the palace.

The entire Versailles trip took half a day. When we got back to the city, we went straight back to Champ-Elysees to check out Arc du Triomphe.

Nice view of Champ-Elysees from the top of the arc. We were also up there at the right time and got to witness Eiffel tower’s mini light show. Apparently every hour right on the dot, the Eiffel Tower begins to glitter for about 5 minutes.

From there, we went back to our hostel to prepare ourselves for tonight’s dinner at Eiffel Tower!!

Click here for my post on dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel.

Good bye Eiffel tower.

Day 14 – November 12, 2011

We don’t have much to do that day so we slept in and only went out at noon. It also marks my last day in Europe :( I fly out at 9pm that day and Serena flies out at 8am the next day… the whole day we kept saying how much fun the trip has been and how we can’t believe we had to come back home!!

Visited yet another point point chinese food place.. ok, i guess in a way we’re also glad to be coming back home…

They had Sriracha!!

We decided to stop by Sacre Coeur since it’s only 10 minutes away from our hostel.

Our share of morning cardio…

Best decision ever. Sacre Coeur is located on top of a hill, overlooking Paris. the weather was beautiful that day and we got to sit on the steps for awhile, people watching and just enjoying the view of paris.

The small square opposite of Sacre Coeur, Square Louise Michel.

Be careful at the area around the bottom of the steps though! There will be a bunch of people walking around holding what seems to be bracelets, and they would just come up to you and try to wrap these bracelets around your wrist with or without your consent. Once it’s on, they will demand you to pay 5 euros for their silly bracelets! A guy actually grabbed my wrist and tried to put one on me despite my repeated “no no no”, and only backed off because Serena practically YELLED at him!

We decided to finally go for a real Paris shopping trip at Galeries Lafayette

Galeries Lafayette is a famous shopping place. It has all the high end brands house in one single mall! The place was also invaded by Asian people, us being two of them… You know it’s a good deal when there are asians around :P

Not sure if you can tell, but the mannequins on top are tiny models of the actual clothes! i thought it was soooo cute…

My loot of the day – a miu miu wallet for my sister. I got it in a very miu miu color – the pink Mughetto! it was also a great deal since I got it for €310. They retail for US$400 in america and S$660 in singapore, so we saved a few bucks :P

The man was drawn entirely in crayons!

Stopped by laduree to buy a box of 24 macarons for my coworkers. OMG just remembering the heavenly smell of these makes me want to cry T_T

Right after that, we went straight back to the hostel and waited for my shuttle bus to come pick me up at around 7pm. I decided against taking the train with my big luggage, so we booked a shuttle to the airport which costed €20.

Good bye europe… This whole trip has just been amazing and such an eye opener for me. It was definitely a top 3 moment i my entire life thus far!! I will be back some day..

Emirates have pretty decent in flight meal :)

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