“Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I’d never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn’t know what. Maybe it was something I’d forgotten or something I’ve been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive. That was the moment I fell in love with Paris. And I felt Paris fall in love with me.” – Carol from Paris, Je t’aime
It wouldn’t be called the City of Love for nothing. The moment I stepped my feet on Paris, I instantly fell in love with it, that was the only time that it finally sink in to me that I am in Europe. I finally felt Europe the way I imagine it, with no offense to other cities I have been to during this trip, this is by far, my favorite.
That is why it was toooo painful when I lost all my good photos in Paris! My SD card was corrupted or I might have accidentally deleted it while using a laptop in French. Of all the cities, why Paris??? ;((
I lost my photos on top of Montmartre (Sacre Caur), Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe and most especially INSIDE The Louvre!!! Seeing and being able to touch those sculptures that I just usually sketch during my college years were priceless photos! I don’t really care much about Monalisa, but the sculptures like The Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, The Dying Slave…and so many others! Argh!!! ;((
Hmmm…okay fine, what’s important is that they are now frozen here in my memory (do I even have that? Aaack!)
I stayed at my friend’s friend place, Sidoine, he was very helpful and kind. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t see Paris the way I did. He wasn’t just showing me around, but he was also sharing me more deeper insights of the culture and their beloved country :)
Anyway, these are the places I visited:
1. Centre Pompidou – It’s a place for modern and contemporary art, The architecture of the building, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, is very ultra-modern, largely its supporting structure are metal girders and escalators inside transparent caterpillar-shaped glass tubes. Outside the centre are also filled with performing artist, painters, etc. It is so nice to spend your day just watching the people around you and until the night seeing the nightlife in Paris.
2. Notre Dame – I guess many of you are familiar with Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, and now aware of the history behind the cathedral. It is one of the first Gothic cathedrals and its construction spanned throughout the entire Gothic period. It was also one of the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress support system that looks so strange and creepy, these serve as drainpipes for rainwater from the roof. We weren’t able to go to the park behind Notre Dame to see the memorial created for those who were deported and killed by the Nazi’s and also to the bell tower as it was already closed when we got there.
3. Fontaine Saint Michel – we just happen to pass this fountain while we were walking from Notre Dame to The Louvre, and this is one of the famous landmark in Paris especially for students from the universities around it.
4. Seine River – well I did not take the boat tour, but we walked along the river while going from one place to another. Alongside are restaurants and small shops of souvenirs etc. It was nice to see people painting, sketching, reading and just relaxing enjoying the scenery that this river gives. They said the boat tour is a must, I guess I’ll do that next time :)
5. The Louvre – well aside from being the crime scene in Da Vinci Code, Louvre is one of the world’s largest museum, if you are into ART, you will surely drool as you walk around seeing all the marvelous historical art pieces around the world! This is the palace of Loius XIV before he moved to Versailles Palace, so just imagine how grand and huge this museum is.
The most visited tourist trap is the Monalisa of Leonardo Da Vinci, I managed to squeezed in myself and take a very nice shot without anyone on it…but yeah, I lost that photo, grrrr! I loved the Greek Hall coz here I saw almost all the sculptures I used to sketch before, Egyptian Hall is also interesting and paintings about Napoleon and etc.
Btw, as oppose to the Da Vinci Code that the Glass Pyramid is made of 666 triangular panels, well it’s not true…yeah I counted it! It’s 673!…of course I’m just kidding :D
6. Musee D’Orsay – located just opposite The Louvre, it is an old train station converted into a museum showcasing French art…you can find the painting of Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and many others here…however, I ran out of time to go inside as I spent so much time inside The Louvre hehe, maybe when I come back ;)
7. Avenue Des Champs Elysees – how could I lose the photos of the world’s most famous and most beautiful avenue??? I even went to cross the avenue and stay for like 10mins at the centre just to get good photos, then I will just lose it! Argh!!!!!…ok move on shylla…anyways, the first part of this 2km avenue are greeneries, parks etc then as you get closer to the Arc of Triomphe, there are array of shopping malls, restaurants, theatre, etc! these establishment are paying the most expensive lease just to get a slot along this avenue, it is said to be prestigious if you have a, outlet here. I like the avenue coz it’s wide as a highway but it is made of cobblestone! The chestnut trees along are trimmed similarly and they say, it is more beautiful during Christmas! I should go back :(
8. Napoleon Arc of Triomphe – built by Napoleon Bonaparte to honor his triumph, it is considered as the largest triumphal arch in the world too. Located at the end of the world’s most beautiful avenue Champs Elysees! Those who fought for wars especially against the Nazi’s are also commemorated here. We didn’t go up to the top, but they say the view up there is fabulous so it’s a must! Go there at night time so you’ll see why Paris is called The City of Lights.
9.Versailles Palace – this is not even part of my itinerary in Paris, coz it is far from the city centre, though I really wanna go here coz I am just interested of how grand the palace is and I wanna see the furniture that I again used to draw when I was still in college! And since Sidoine is such a big help for my walk tour on my first day that I visited quite a lot already, I decided to go to Versailles the next day.
But it was Monday, and it was closed waaaahhhh!!! Again, it’s alright just looking around outside the palace garden is already one whole day that I have to give up after walking so far just to see Marie Anoinette’s separate palace. Thankful in a way that it is closed,coz if not, I may not see The Louvre anymore. Ah, so much to see, so little time !!! I should really go back! ;)
10. Eiffel Tower – the icon for France so definitely you must visit this when you go to Paris! It is the tallest structure in Paris and was the tallest man-made structure for 40years before Chrysler Building in NYC was built. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel and was rejected when he initially offered Canada to build this tower, when it was constructed, the people in Paris thought it was an eyesore, until it became famous all over the world and until now, it is still the most visited tower in the world!
I did not go on top coz of long queu! So I just sat for few hours at Champs de Mars Park and watch the people around it especially the couples hihi, and since I am just alone, I am just happy to see people in love, they say Eiffel Tower has been a witness to millions of wedding proposals already, and I witnessed why, it was just so romantic to see it together especially during sunset…^sigh^ again, I remember my lost photos :(
11. Montmatre (Sacre Caur) – this is the highest point in Paris, I took photos on top of the hill where the white cathedral is, and the view is just awesome, especially at night. There are a lot of performing artists also around it and people just relax and watch the sunset. It is not allowed to take photos inside the church, but there was a mass when I went there so it’s just okay.
Few travel tips in Paris:
1. If you are staying for longer than 3days, I suggest you buy the PARIS PASS. It’s worth it coz you are free to almost ALL museum, hop in hop off bus tour, the bat tour, Metro and most importantly discounts to restaurants! Coz it’s really expensive to dine out in Paris. I did not avail this pass coz my time was limited, the way I plan it, I can only go inside The Louvre, so it’s not worth it. So I just bought the day ticket for Metro which is sooo worth it coz I travelled from one place to another by Metro, it is so convenient!
2. I pretended to be not good in speaking in English, coz I noticed that some French wouldn’t talk to me if I ask for help if I talk in English fluently (just like the Japanese) they are more willing to help you out if you speak poor English hehe :P…. I was shy to use some of the French words I learned from my friends except for Bonjour and Merci, coz everytime I speak in French, my time was wasted trying hard to be understood, so I gave up trying haha!
3. I was warned by my French friends not to go there alone, as much as possible and stay away from dark narrow places…It was safe and harmless from my experience, but I quite felt that they are right about going there alone…coz Paris is better to be seen along with someone ♥ ♥ ♥