The final trip of my first exchange to Europe. Paris. In all honesty, I loved the French Riviera more. But how can I skip Paris while visiting Europe? It just cannot be. So this is me and Paris in a week.
The girl who loves the sound of tapping spoon on creme brulee crust. Super touristy I know, but I just couldn’t resist 😉
After climbing what seemed like never ending stairs, we arrived the gigantic Basilica. It was filled with people on a warm Sunday afternoon. It felt so local to be lying on the grass slope sunbathing and sitting on the staircase watching impossible performances.
Within this green district, time paused. No one cared how long they have spent doing nothing . Everything else was secondary and we were all there for one glorious purpose – chill.
This performer climbed up the lamp post with his football, spinning and flying like he was spiderman or something. His performance was so good that I actually gave him money at the end. Coming from a poor student, this must mean something.
Montmartre is also famous for its artists. We saw numerous painters in the square and I was so close to actually getting a portrait of myself, but then I thought, what if it turned out to be really ugly? Or what if it turned out to be so pretty that isn’t like me? Or perhaps, I was just too stingy after all 😛
Over 100 euros for a show in Moulin Rouge. Sigh. I will definitely watch it when I start earning my own money.
2) La Defense
This slick architecture is the icon of La Defense. Central Business District with Shopping malls and everything. You can actually see it from the Arc de Triomphe at the end of Champs Elysees. I watched Iron Man 3 here!
3) The Louvre
Speaking of this world-renowned museum, we were kind of ashamed because after merely an hour, we fell asleep while resting on the indoor bench. I blame the heating. But seriously, Mona Lisa was just so small with so many people pushing to get closer (which is still like a meter away). The most fun part was taking photos of ourselves 😛
The sign on the pyramid is the Trinity sign. Kind of like two infinity signs blended together.
Even after a few months in France, I still couldn’t locate my love for Western Arts. I am just so not an Art-museum lover after all. These interactive exhibitions, however, were much more entertaining.
4) Avenue des Champs Elysees
They say it’s the most beautiful avenue on earth. Well may be it is. Even the A&F store there was super glamourous.
Who knew Benz produces perfume?! While we were strolling along the street after dinner, I commented that people who live on this street must be extremely wealthy.
Then my friend added, “either that or they are hobos.” Haha. Very true. We did see homeless people sitting outside of branded stores that were already closed. What a striking contrast.
5) Eiffel Tower
Unfortunately we didn’t see it light up at night because everyday the sun set at 10pm and we live an hour away from city, which means we have to go home by 9pm latest 😦
During our free tour, the guide told us a touching story about the Eiffel Tower. Before Hitler arrived Paris, the French cut down the elevator chord to the top of Eiffel Tower. Thus, Hitler could only look up from the ground during the 4 years occupation and never actually stepped foot the tower. Even when the world was crumbling down, falling into the wrong hands and covered with blood stains, Eiffel Tower was always free. I hope it will always remain free.
The famous Notre Dame de Paris where the “Hunchback” lived. It was the last Cathedral I visited in Europe. Coincidentally, it reminded me a lot of the church I first saw in Monaco. Where have the time gone?
6) Seine River
Along the banks, I saw so many stalls selling paintings and mini Eiffel Towers. Highly recommend buying from these stores instead of hawkers on the street. (Because we saw a hawker pissed on the street and touched his merchandize without washing his hands.)
From afar, I thought the bridge had golden fences. On a closer look, however, all the golden were locks! Love locks, where lovers throw the key into the river after securing it on the bridge. So that their love/promise whatever will stay forever.
I wonder who started it. The whole thing doesn’t make much sense. I guess it’s supposed to be romantic. My dad suggested that I should sell these locks and copy a million keys so every time after the couples left, I can unlock it and resell it again 😉
7) Place de la Concorde and Tuileries Garden
This pointy thing is an Obelisk (yes I wiki-ed it). Turns out the French not only robbed artifacts from around the world, claimed ownership over them and placed them in the Louvre; they actually helped decrypt the Ancient Egyptian language! That’s why their Government thanked them with this “stairway to heaven.”
This is just me resting (second thing I did most in Paris, after tea-ing) next to the big fountain in the Tuileries Garden. Interestingly, all gardens in France are highly symmetrical. This is because they think symmetry is the most beautiful form. The tour guide also told us that’s why you don’t see much grass in French gardens… grass were very difficult to maintain back in the days, so you see a lot of sand instead. They are more “manipulatable” (Control Freaks!)
8) Food. Along this road with purple trees, we had a “reunion dinner” sort of.
Yes, Laduree is in Hong Kong now ! But they don’t have the ice cream with half a macaron on top… I handled some bank issues at BNP while eating the Coffee flavored ice cream. I almost left my bank card on the table but most certainly remembered my cup of ice cream.
9) Glass ceiling of Galeries Lafayette
This is where we saw high tech and extremely chic kitchen tools. This is also where we fantasized being future housewives/great cooks/ mothers. Brunch on Sundays and our kids playing together! Oh, I hope that day will come soon when I get that auto pepper grinder with light as housewarming gift 😉
End of Part 1