Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Paris in one day (26th-28th January 2009)

Following my friend's message, i took up her offer to show me the city. The city i've always wanted to visit! Oh, the city of LOVVVVVEEE.. The Eiffel.. The Louvre.. i simply couldn't wait!

The Mr. couldn't join us, so he told me to take the opportunity although, he wasn't sure whether to suggest that i should go by myself at the beginning... I thought, this could be the "adventurous trip" i have been looking forward to!

I wanted to take the train to Paris and fly back to Toulouse at first because i was meeting the friend in the evening, so i thought it'd be nice to catch a glimpse of the countryside on the way. But the lady behind the counter said the price for one way was not and i quote, "interesting". The return flight costs the same as a one way ticket! So obviously i took a return flight.

We travelled the typical Malaysians (on a budget) style. Had a heavy breakfast at the hotel room (my friend prepared rice with Berahim's sambal ikan bilis and kari ayam) to prepare ourselves for the long day and set to go! Hehehe..

First stop,
Sacre Coeur (means a "sacred heart" (of Jesus)) at Montmartre (as in the movie, Amelie from Montmartre :)).
A church, situated high up a hill where you can see the breathtaking view of Paris, get your portrait done by the artists and drink french coffee at the cafes. (That would be so lovely in the summer). But the day was cloudy so we couldn't get as much view. They have beautiful paintings selling there too! I was tempted to get one but i'd hate to carry fragile things around. Perhaps i should have afterall.. oh well.

Some shots at Sacre Coeur of
moi et friend, lovely paintings at Montmartre, an artist working on his art and moi et friend having crepes..

Robert the 'tourist guy' was puzzled when my other tourist guide was looking for the place selling crepes and asked whether she's hungry after only the first place we visited in which she replied, "No, but my friend said we have to have the crepes here..".
So we had to have the crepes there.. Haha..
I had the one with nutella. Yummy!
I nearly jumped when that bl**dy "statue" started moving! Didn't know it was a live one!
From Montmartre, we took a bus passing through Moulin Rouge to Trocadero. That's when i met the Eiffel for the first time!! Oh, it was just amazing! I couldn't believe i was actually there. Just seeing the tall, iconic structure with my very own eyes! From that very same spot that the husband and i saw on a photograph at Chateau D'Eau back in Toulouse no less. Took in the view as hard as i possibly can, tried looking for the nicest angle possible for some snapshots (we tried), walked below the tower.. it was surreal.. and took a couple more shots before bidding au revoir to make our way to the sub for our next destination. I wasn't planning on going up the tower, particularly in that cloudy weather.. hopefully there will be a next time. Photos at La Tour Eiffel! I couldn't get enough of it.

I'm in Paris!!
(you can't say you're in Paris until you get to the Eiffel.. :))

Based on my friend's well laid map (which was so cute with the hand drawn monuments and all) Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) was next on our agenda. There was a service going on when we got there and we were not allowed for any photos. My friend got a shot but as we saw the guard heading towards us, we hurried ourselves to the exit!

I learned the differences between a cathedral and a basilica. Apart from it's ecclesiastical differences, (where a basilica refers to a large and important church that has been given special ceremonial rites by the Pope. Whereas a cathedral which may or may not be a basilica, holds the throne of a bishop). From the architectural view, a basilica is built ending in a semicircular structure (an apse) and has a large roofed hall used for transacting business and disposing of legal matters. The cathedral are usually more modest in size. The Notre Dame, is a cathedral.

(I had a minor incident where i realised that i've lost my ring when we were in Notre Dame. But i was lucky to have found it in my bag at the hotel later that night. It must have slipped into the bag when i took out my gloves in the sub. Thank God!).

Next stop, a mecca for art lovers! The Louvre! It was a few minutes train ride from Notre Dame. But our journey took a wee bit longer since we got on the wrong train and had to turn back to get on the right route.. Like most museums, it was closed during the winter (not that we had the time to go in anyways). And i wonder how anyone can possibly tour that museum in one day. Surely one needs more than than a day! Given that it was once a royal palace, it's not that all surprising that the building was amazingly massive. Built over a few major periods, from the middle ages to finally the Grand Louvre it is today (that's over four centuries!). You can actually see the Eiffel tower from the vast complex here too (but there are trees blocking it in the photo below), and a mini
Arc de Triomphe is situated across the museum. What a sight!

From The Louvre complex, we walked across River Siene to Musee D' Orsay, another art museum as one of my tour guides insisted. It holds mostly french artists' works - paintings, sculptures, photographies. There was a very long line to get in! It was once served as a railway station, a mailing centre in World War 2, and a hotel before it was a museum.

We were rushing to get to
Champs Elysees before dark to check out the designer stores, of course. We walked till our feet were sore (especially my friend who was wearing a spanking new boots!). I didn't get anything except a belt for my cousin. Wanted to get a pair of designer pumps that was on sale but decided not to in the end. I was also contemplating on a bag, but couldn't decide on which design to get. So i went on empty handed.. (but with $$ intact. hehe). I was more interested in seeing the real Arc de Triomphe! So sore feet or no sore feet, we walked till the end of Champs Elysees to at least take a photo at the real arch! I didn't get the chance to get a closer look because we already made dinner plans with my guide's local friend. So our Paris tour that day ended with a nice Parisian dinner at a Parisian restaurant at Saint Michel with a (very cute) Parisian named Axle (name has been changed) before heading back to the hotel.

in front of Orsay Museum, River Siene, the Arch of Triumph and with my 2 tour guides at St. Michel (the very cute Parisian took the photo but we were too famished and tired, not until later that we realised we didn't have any photos with him.. also not even a single photo at the restaurant).

It was a lovely (basic) full day tour. Thanks again, guys! I just wished that the day was brighter, and if only we wouldn't have to worry about our belongings too much at all times, and that there were more time to spend, it would have been much nicer ( i wish u were there too, Mr!). But it was still a good one!

I left for Toulouse the next evening - with a big smile :)

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