I’m starting out my two-part series of midterm travel posts with Paris, even though I traveled there last, because it made up a significant part of my trip by taking up all of five long days. This was my second time in Paris, the last time being in 2002 when I traveled here with my father and grandfather; I was 12.
This time it was really different though, mainly because I wasn’t rushed through the city with a Chinese tour group. I got to really enjoy the city in all its splendor. The first three days, I stayed at a hostel with the rest of my school, but the following two days I stayed with one of my good friends from Queen’s, Sophia, in her school residence room.
The first trip I went on was to the Louvre. I would have to say that the Louvre is a must-see if you are going to France, even if you are like me and despise museums/art galleries. If you don’t know, the Louvre is the biggest museum in the world and the building that houses this museum used to be a royal palace in the heart of Paris, before King Louis (I believe it was the 13th or 14th…) moved his court to the Chateau de Versailles.
If you’re going to the Louvre… then taking pictures in front of the famous pyramid entrance is a must!
Here is me in front of the left wing.
It was SO busy that day. The line-ups were crazy. The week I went was also when the European schoolchildren were out for midterm break, and it was also Chinese New Year break for the Chinese/Asian people, there were tons of kids and tour groups around.
Here is a blurry picture of me in the Italian paintings wing. Sorry for crappy picture quality. I walk through museums super quickly so I usually like doing it alone, so… I have no choice but to take my own crappy pictures XD
This was a sculpture on display at the Louvre that really caught my eye. I don’t know what its about, but it makes me feel emotional in a way…
This is at the Place de la Concorde. The monument erected behind me, according to my friend Sophia, is to commemorate the executions of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, as that is where they were guillotined. Quite sad actually; I’m a huge fan of Marie Antoinette, likewise with other European royal family.
This is me and my friends sitting on a bench in the gardens in front of the Louvre.
On Avenue des Champs Elysees, I saw a Guerlain store! I didn’t go in because I didn’t need to buy any Guerlain products at the time.
And oh baby, the Louis Vuitton main flagship store on Champs Elysees. I almost bought a Speedy 30 in the Damier Ebene. I was standing there with the purse in my hand and trying to catch some salesperson’s eye so they can help me with this bag, but everyone ignored me. I approached one lady who was standing there and doing nothing, and told her I wanted this bag, but she actually brushed me off and said “You have to wait for that lady over there” and then walked away. In the end because the service was so crappy, you can imagine why I didn’t end up getting it. I spent the money on a netbook for my mom instead =D
Louis Vuitton at 101 Avenue des Champs Elysees.
After the Louvre, we walked through the gardens and the entire way of Avenue des Champs Elysees and arrived at the Arc de Triomphe.
This thing is effing HUGE. It doesn’t look so big from far away but it is actually GINORMOUS. This is from underneath the massive monument. It looks really phenomenal.
Yay for being touristy!
This is the tomb of the unknown soldier and the eternal burning flame. There is a tomb of an unknown soldier at Westminster Abbey, which I saw when I went there.
This is from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, looking down onto the Avenue des Champs Elysees. It was absolutely gorgeous at top. It looks exactly like the panoramic pictures. Too bad it was somewhat foggy that day.
You can see the Eiffel Tower in the background, but it was foggy… =(
After the Arc de Triomphe, we went for a nice French dinner. We had it at Chez Clement, which is a restaurant right beside the Arc de Triomphe on Champs Elysees. If you get a chance to go to Paris, I really recommend you go to this restaurant. The service is good, the food is delicious, and the pricing isn’t bad.
Everyone had some fruit wine except me; I’m not that big on drinking wine.
We had the 3-course meal, which cost 26 Euros. You can choose between various dishes for your appetizer, main and dessert. We also order a dozen raw oysters to share between four of us. As part of the 3-course meal, I had the crab ravioli for appetizer (not pictured), and had the beef tartare for main. To me, it looked like dumpling stuffing because it was raw, but it tasted SO GOOD. You can’t taste any of the rawness, and the flavouring was so good. It didn’t look like much either, but I was super full by the end.
For desert, we had the chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream. This was also REALLY GOOD.
This was our bill. You can see the contact info on the top, so you can use this to help you find the place. It wasn’t THAT expensive considering how much we ate and the quality of the food, and keep in mind this was for 5 people.
After dinner, we went back to Louis Vuitton and took pictures with their really pretty window display. The fashion world was already ready for spring and summer when we’re still bunched up in our huge jackets.
The second morning, we went to the Basilique de Sacre-Coeur on Montmartre. This is the highest land point in Paris and you can get a pretty good view of Paris from the top.
The basilica itself is a pretty gorgeous white colour. You can pay to go up and climb to the top of the dome, but we didn’t do that.
It really does offer a more realistic view of Paris rather than the luxurious view that the top of the Arc de Triomphe offers.
Afterwards, we went back to Place de la Concorde and had lunch. I had a seafood and and fruit salad. It was really good, with smoked salmon, prawns, mangoes, pomegranate seeds and other vegetables/fruits. It was at a restaurant called Minims (?), and it cost 16 euros.
After lunch…. Versailles! It is absolutely gorgeous inside and out. It was my second time there, but it is still breathtakingly beautiful. Plus just look at that sky!
Part of it was under restoration to prepare for the busy summer season, but we still go to see most of the palace.
The only image of the inside that I’m quite happy with, of the hall of mirrors. Just because there is plenty of natural light, all the other rooms were dark and gloomy looking, so the pictures didn’t turn out that well.
Me taking my own picture in the gardens of Versailles. It was so windy that day so my hair was out of control.
After Versailles we did dinner near the Eiffel Tower. All of us had a 3-course meal with steak. My steak wasn’t bad, just bland, but two of my friends had overcooked steaks. I probably won’t recommend that place as the service was really bad and the food not that great.
And then…. Eiffel Tower!!
The view from the top is just unbelievable. It really makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. We took the elevator to the very top floor. It was 10 euros-ish, but totally worth it!
Later that night, we went on a Seine river boat cruise with the rest of our school. It was amazing as it wasn’t as foggy as the night before. It was still cold, but totally worth it.
On the third day, we went to Ile de la Cite and visited the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris. Here is me and my friend Sichen on the bank of the river Seine.
And… the Notre Dame de Paris.
No trip to Paris is complete without some Parisian pastries/cakes. I don’t know how authentic these are, but they sure were good!
In the afternoon, we went to the Pantheon, which is where many of the French famous people were buried. We saw the tombs of J.J. Rousseau, Marie & Pierre Curie, Victor Hugo, and so on. It was slightly creepy underground as it is basically a huge crypt, but still pretty worth it if you’re into the whole famous people thing.
Upon leaving the Pantheon, we saw this… The two cars were literally touching. This fulfills that stereotype of French people being crazy drivers, LOL!
My school left Paris on the 3rd day (Friday), but I stayed until Sunday. On Saturday (4th day), my schoolmates from Queen’s, Sophia and Vanesse, took me to Japan street in Paris for some ramen.
My miso ramen. It was one of the better ramens I’ve had, but its not very good still. If you know a good ramen place to recommend either in London or Vancouver, please let me know!
The meal was around 10 euros and came with a full portion of ramen and a half portion of tonkatsu, plus some random sliced cucumbers. It was such a good deal, and very filling!
Vanesse had the same ramen as me, but instead of tonkatsu, she had curry.
Here is me and Sophia in front of the Paris Opera House (at least, that is what she said it was).
I spent Saturday afternoon shopping! This is when I went to Galeries Lafayette. This is also when I got some of my purchases from the Sonia Rykiel pour H&M Collection. Loves!
Its gorgeous inside, but apparently it was even more beautiful during Christmas time! Too bad I wasn’t there for that.
It was uber busy that day. The streets were just bustling with people. Afterwards I heard from Sophia that Saturday shopping is the busiest because everything is closed on Sundays…
There were a ton of Alice in Wonderland window displays. The future businesswoman in me said that this is very good viral marketing, as basically everywhere you go there is something to do with Alice in Wonderland in the style of Tim Burton. I’m sure that movie will be a big hit as my friends and I are already planning to get tickets for the IMAX showing of it.
I also went to Printemps, which is another high-end department store.
On Sunday, since everything was closed, I went to the Sunday market at Bastille. It wasn’t anything exciting, just a open market, reminded me a lot of China… lol.
And then I took the bus back to London! I left in the afternoon, and arrived in London at 8:30PM-ish.
That’s it for Paris. I’ll try to update my Amsterdam and Brussels pictures as soon as possible too. Sorry to make you guys wait, I’ve just been really busy with everything else thats going on too.