Paris, oh Paris!
Paris Travel Blog› entry 1 of 7 › view all entries
April 29th, 2007 – by: eenx
All my pics from Paris are posted here by the way:
First things first, I think everyone knows it anyway, it is DAMN EXPENSIVE in Paris! Europe is of course really more expensive but Paris was crazy! A can of Coke actually cost 2.50 Euros or about 160 Pesos. I didn't dare go shopping, haha! Well here's my attempt at writing an organized travel blog entry:
Getting there. So anyway after the module on Sunday morning, I took the flight from Copenhagen to Amsterdam, then took a 4-hour Thalys train to Paris. The train stopped at a main train station Gare du Nord, and I waited for Pai (Thai MISE) there since he took a direct flight from Copenhagen to Paris. From Gare du Nord we just took a train to our place...
Sleep. Friends Hostel, which was one station away from Gare du Nord and located just in front of the Barbes-Rochechouart metro station. We slept in a 4-person room with 2 bunk beds, and it cost 22 Euros per night. I got the bottom bunk while Pai got the top. The bathroom was really small though, there weren't even any hangers for towels or clothes, and I could have sworn there was only one bathroom cubicle for the entire first floor. We also didn't have free breakfast by the way, but the hostel was clean anyway. And of course, beggars can't be choosers!
Walking around. When we walked around Boulevard de la Chappelle (where our hostel was) on Sunday night, it was just dirty. It looked somehow like Malate, with trash all over the place, with cars parked crookedly on the sidewalk, and with puddles of water all around. The next day when we walked around the city center though, it was so busy, there were so many cars and people walking!
Getting around. Paris has a very organized metro system, the maps are all you need and you're good to go. We got this unlimited 2-day travel pass for about 13 Euros within a certain zone in Paris. The trains were relatively clean, but the stations were NOT at all. They looked like bathrooms, with tiles as walls, with so many ads, and so much graffiti on them. And they SMELLED like dirty bathrooms as well! We also found it unsafe to walk around late in the evening, especially in our area where there were many black people from the ghetto-ish places. And on the second night, Pai's wallet was almost pickpocketed by a guy with greasy hair and a leather jacket. Buti nalang Pai was alert enough to hold on to his stuff. If that were me, nako!
Sights. On Monday we got up at about 9am already since we needed the rest. We went walking along Champs-Elysees, this commercial avenue in Paris where the designer stores were located. The line was so long at the Louis Vuitton flagship store by the way! I just got some stuff for my siblings at the Disney store, went window shopping at some shops, then headed off to the near end of Champs-Elysees, where the Arc de Triomphe was located. It actually cost 6 Euros to get up the stairs and see a nice view, so we didn't bother!
After that we went to Musee du Louvre and stayed there almost the entire afternoon. An entire day was not enough to see all the pieces! Well we just stuck to the more popular ones-- the Mona Lisa, of course, then the Venus de Milo, and other Da Vinci paintings. Of course everyone was crowding over Mona Lisa and it was absolutely prohibited to take pics inside the museum. But of course I was hard-headed enough and this is the closest shot I got! The painting was very small and not as big as I thought!
I was tired from walking the entire afternoon but we had more to do! We then went walked along the banks of the Seine River and passed the Tulieries Gardens along the way.
By about 10:00 we finally went down to see the tower at night. The view was just beautiful I totally fell in love with it and had to go back the next night! Then flashing lights all over the tower came on for about 30 minutes, and it was even better.
After sitting on the park to watch the flashing lights, we went back to the Louvre to see the pyramid at night as well, and just like the Eiffel Tower, it was just beautiful.
The next day, we went to the Basilica of Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) and had to take another long flight of steps to reach the top!
The inside was really beautiful, with high ceilings and a really grand altar. It was prohibited to take pics though but I was able to take some stolen shots of the ceiling. I would have wanted to hear mass there, but the mass was at 6pm pa, and Pai was Buddhist, so I just prayed the Rosary while he caught up with a friend from college who was there as well. I felt so religious!
Then we took the train to Versailles, west of Paris. A 40-minute train ride from Paris, Versailles was where the upper class French lived, and it is where Chateau de Versailles--the grand palaces and gardens of Louis XIV's time--was located. Too bad it was closed though since it was a Tuesday (museums in France are closed on Tuesdays), and it was also Labor Day so it was a holiday as well. We weren't able to go into the palace but we were able to go around the gardens, which were really vast, part of it being the Grand Canal which was 1.5 km in length.
The gardens even go beyond the last piece of green that you see!We sort of got into Versailles for free by the way! Our unlimited train tickets were only until 2 stops before Versailles but since no one was checking, we decided to go straight into the last station which was Chateau de Versailles. When we got to the station, there wasn't even anyone manning the booths, and there was an open area from the entrance past the ticket readers, so we just got through in and out of Versailles for free! :P Before we left Versailles by the way, we also passed by a church called St. Louis, but it was closed as well, so we just took pics of it from outside.
When we got back to Paris at about 7pm, we decided to pass by the Notre Dame Cathedral, but damn it was closed as well! We didn't make it to the 6:45 PM closing, too bad. I would have wanted to see the large and scary gargoyles but that would mean going up another 380 steps up!
Anyway we just took pics of it again from the outside, before heading back to the Eiffel Tower area to meet up with the French MISEs Marion and Nabil, Carlos (from Dominican Republic), and Meidhy (from Indonesia) for dinner. We then took a train to the Chatelet area and had some beer in this Australian pub before heading home at 2am on our last night in Paris. The next day, we were headed for Amsterdam at 10 am.
Food. As already mentioned, food in Paris was expensive. Cheap food, which meant kebab and fries, cost about 6 Euros or about 400 Pesos already! This was where my obsession with FRITES (fries) in mayo and ketchup started by the way. For dinner on Sunday night we had a burger meal at Quick Burger, this burger chain in France. The next day we just had a sandwich for brunch, then Haagen Dazs for a snack, then kebab and frites for dinner again at midnight. Our eating times were really weird while we were on this trip. The next day, despite Pai's dislike for it we had brunch at McDonald's, where I ordered my staple cheeseburger meal with caramel sundae...
Yum! The sundae had nuts in it pala and it was really good. The burger tasted better as well since the patty was bigger and had more beef in it. The entire meal cost 7.50 Euros or 450+ Pesos! Then for late lunch-slash-early dinner at 5:30 PM in Versailles, we had kebab and frites again! Oh, guess what we had for midnight dinner before going to the Australian pub... (I just had frites this time but Pai got a kebab and frites again!)
To save some money, Pai and me just bought a water bottle each pala and just refilled it with tap water so we don't have to buy drinks! I made up for what I saved though by getting myself some nice ice cream!
The verdict on Paris. Paris was nice to visit but not really nice to live in. For me, 2 days was enough. The city was not really as nice as people say it was, but the different sights and tourist spots definitely made up for it. We weren't able to try authentic French cuisine though since everything was expensive. And contrary to what a lot of people think, no I did not find love in Paris, for many reasons... haha! I'm not sure I'd like to go back there soon though, but if it's with a guy and a ring, hmmm, just MAYBE! :)))
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