Two weeks ago, I was still in Paris, happily exploring its lovely streets and monuments, enjoying the Parisian life… but alas… all good things must come to an end…
Hehe Well yeah, I’m back in Dubai (with tons of laundry that I’m just too lazy to do yet coz I’m still on vacation mode.. yup vacation from being a housewife lol).. but I refuse to say goodbye to Paris, because I know I’m going back there again someday. Anyway, I just had my ultimate dream come true and of course I’m going to share it with you (including an unhappy incident — actually an accident in Louvre).
But first, these are the things I realized about Paris:
-A lot of Parisians are dog lovers
-They have an X-rated TV channel (we wonder how parents can monitor their kids shows)
-Surprisingly, it’s cheaper in Paris than Helsinki… (meals on the average are at least 2 Euros cheaper. You can even have a frenchbread footlong sandwich for lunch for less than 5 Euros! )
-Buy drinking water in the grocery. A 1.5L bottle of Crystalline costs just 80 cents I think. Outside, it costs at least 5x higher.
-The lights in Eiffel Tower are blue, not yellow as I expected… hmm…
-I don’t know how Frenchpeople can eat frenchbread everyday… it hurts my teeth *lol*… but I so love croissants.
-I LOVE Paris for its lifestyle, museums, parks, and monuments, but Rome’s sculptures are still more amazing (especially my beloved Fontana Di Trevi)…
– There are a lot of truly talented artists who perform on the streets and sell their stuff. We bought a CD from an acoustic group, and wow, they are AMAZING!
– I love Eiffel Tower because it’s THE Eiffel… but Sacre Coeur… aaahh.. BREATHTAKING!
EIFFEL TOWER – We stayed in Etoile Trocadero, which is about 15 mins. walk to Eiffel Tower… and yes you guessed it right, it was our first destination! You know how it feels when your ultimate dream is about to come true in a few minutes… your heart beats faster, and you’re very, very excited that when the moment comes you’re so sure you’re gonna cry? So we were walking towards the Eiffel Tower, and I was like, oh my gosh it’s the Eiffel! Wow! Wow Eiffel!.. and as we approached it, I realized, wow this was the dream that I have long been waiting for… uhmm no tears? No butterflies in my stomach? Hey Eiffel wasn’t as huge as I expected it to be… hmm… I kinda expected the base to be about 3x bigger… Hahahahaha! Anyway, it was GORGEOUS still! We went up to the top and enjoyed the birds eye view of Paris… We met up with hubby’s officemate, Andrew, who traveled with us. It was really a good thing that there were 3 of us that time coz at least we can take pictures for each other (not to mention that Andrew is a camera nut and has, I mean HAD a neat SLR). We waited for the sunset and admired Eiffel in a different perspective… this time a glowing blue Eiffel that blinks every hour for 10 minutes… woohoooo! It’s just so… so damn beautiful!
L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE – After that, we went to L’Arc de Triomphe, a grand monument to the victories of France’s greatest military battles. It was majestic… I didn’t expect that inside, it was also very beautiful. The lights highlighted the sculptures and intricate details… and we had another round of pictorials with our friend.
LOUVRE MUSEUM – The following morning, hubby and I took a train to Louvre to meet up with Andrew so we could go to the Louvre Museum together. I was thrilled to see the glass pyramid and wanted to kick myself for forgetting to jot down the locations mentioned in Da Vinci Code… We caught up with Andrew just outside the Louvre entrance and sat by the fountain to take more pictures before going in… He and hubby chatted a bit while I was busy peering through my Fisheye cam, trying to look for new subjects and angles… and I figured, it would be cool to take a picture of our shadows by the Louvre pyramid! I was so excited.. I asked Andrew to take our picture and directed my hubby to pose with me, and have a kissing shadow pose too on the next shot. I wasn’t very satisfied with my pose, so I moved back a bit.. and then Plop! I had unknowingly shoved his Nikon D80 camera with 18-200 VR lens down to the Louvre fountain… At first I was on denial, a camera so expensive must have some sort of extra protection against water or accidents like that… but I was wrong. In a span of 3-5 seconds, the water had entered the camera and lens… OH… MY… GOD! Andrew was calm and said that it was ok (of course, we had to replace it).. and that we shouldn’t let it ruin our whole trip, although I could see in his face how heartbroken he was. Somehow I wished it had happened after Louvre Museum, or later… not on our second day in Paris!
After this accident, entering the Louvre Museum was torture to me and Andrew. Andrew, because he couldn’t take any pictures, and me, because I was bothered by my conscience and guilt, and whenever I would see something amazing (or symmetry as what he usually looks out for), I would feel bad again that he won’t be able to take a picture of it… I actually felt guilty each time I took a picture of anything at all!
NOTRE-DAME – After Louvre Museum, we walked to Notre-Dame… another torturously wonderful sight with its old gargoyles… I, myself, would have wanted to take close up shots of the gargoyles and gothic ceilings with Andrew’s SLR… oh well…
ST. SEVERIN CHURCH – We crossed a short bridge and checked out St. Severin Church, one of the Left Bank’s oldest and loveliest churches… It’s famous for its flamboyant Gothic columns… (We wanted to see Ste. Chapelle too, but unfortunately it was already closed that time.) At this point, hubby’s digicam ran out of battery and I ran out of film for the Fisheye cam. Normally, I would freak out as we still have some places to see that day. But instead, I was relieved that all 3 of us have no cameras anymore so Andrew wouldn’t feel worse.
CHAMPS-ELYSEES – We walked back through the Champs Elysees Avenue and enjoyed the views at night. Paris is called the “City of Light” – and rightfully so!
MONTMARTE – SACRE COEUR (Buy your souvenirs here! Souvenirs are at least 3x cheaper in this area, as compared to the other places we went to.) The following day, hubby and I headed to Montmarte to see the Sacre Coeur. Years back, I loved the movie “Amelie from Montmarte” so I wanted to see the area. We took a train to Montmarte and walked to Sacre Coeur. I loved the little stalls along the sidewalks selling paintings, old books, pictures, and personal artworks. We were overwhelmed with the Sacre Coeur. Hubby and I agreed that this church was definitely much more solemn than Notre-Dame. We climbed 300 steps in the narrow winding staircase and enjoyed the stunning vista of the city. BEAUTIFUULLL!!!
PIGALLE / MOULIN ROUGE / MUSEE DE L’EROTISME – Pigalle, the red district of Paris, is in the south of Montmarte. It’s home to the Moulin Rouge, lively bars, and erotic shops. We had a bit of a hard time before we found Moulin Rouge coz the map that we had lead us to a different location. We passed a museum called Musee de l’Erotisme, showing the history of erotica and porn, hahaha! It displays ancient fertility symbols, chastity belts, modern artworks, and antique pictures from brothels whose clientele included royalty. My guess is, this can only be found in Paris! So we just had to go in. Haha!
CIMETIERE DE MONTMARTE – Yup, we went to the cemetery. No, we don’t have any French relatives… we just wanted to check out the French tombstones. J According to our guidebook, it’s actually a popular tourist destination. It’s also the final resting place of many artists who lived in the area. The tombstone of a beautiful woman named Dalida stood out among the rest… We were so curious as to who she was coz she looked Vavavoom! J (We later on found out who she was… read on…
MUSEE DE MONTMARTE – This white villa was home to Renoir, Raoul Dufy, Suzanne Valadon and her son, Utrillo. After paying the entrance fee, we were directed to the garden but there were no further signs so we just followed the sounds of voices, entered a small gate and walked into a happy crowd of French people. There were some cocktails on a table, so I thought.. “Whoah! This must be a cool museum!” and wondered if we were welcome to get some too. We were met with friendly smiles… and then a big French man in a suit came to get us. That’s when we realized that we just walked into a private party. OOPS… Pardon Monsieur! Anyway, this is just a small museum with a lot of artworks and 1800’s posters… Downside is, everything was in French so we couldn’t understand what we were looking at.
DALIDA HOUSE – We were already tired from walking on the hilly streets of Montmarte. I was posing here and there coz I loved the area. This side of the city seems to be more cozy and private – and probably more luxurious. As fate would have it, we got lost a few times and couldn’t figure out the way to the train station. We found ourselves at Place Dalida where this Vavavoom Dalida lived! Turns out, she was a very famous diva. That’s so cool!