Wednesday, March 6, 2013

France - Paris in 1 Day

I went around the touristic areas of Paris the day after I landed my feet at the dorm. It was a really tiring trip, and I had a really good sleep after that (my roommate said my phone kept ringing but I remained peacefully asleep).

So first we bought NaviGo and a monthly pass for all transportation means within Zone 1 through Zone 4 in Paris (because our school is in Massy, which is in Zone 4).

This thing costs us quite a fortune: 102.30 euros. However, this pass includes the tram, train, metro and bus rides, so we want to make sure we made a good use of this pass.

So first, we started with the closest to our dorm at Cité Universitaire: Saint-Michel.

This was the fountain of Saint-Michel (Fontaine Saint Michel), and I'm pretty sure this is not the famous Saint-Michel that my friends who visited France was talking about. Well, it's not that cold anymore and it is supposed to be a fountain, but I see no water coming out from any statues. Maybe it's really supposed to look like this? LOL

We walked over to see Notre Dame de Paris. It's not a really long walk, especially when you are travelling with good companions :)

The scenes around Notre Dame was really beautiful. We were also lucky that it was nice and sunny on this particular Sunday.

We walked a little closer to see more details of the fantastic sculpture and design of this cathedral.

(My friend is Dutch and he's really tall; his head ruined the only picture I took of Notre Dame haha)

We thought we'd enter and go up the Cathedral, but since we went on the first Sunday of the month, it's free for everyone to enter. A sunny Sunday, and free entrance. Naturally, you're bound to see a terribly long line. Yup.

We ended up not going inside it because we still want to see other things around Paris and we didn't know how long it would take to get us inside.

Instead, we walked towards the riverbanks just in front of Notre Dame to see it from another angle. Just right in front of Notre Dame, right before the river, is the Square Jean-XXIII.

From there, you can see the side view of Notre Dame. It's really massive, and you can tell it definitely took a genius planner to plan and design such a masterpiece.

If you cross the bridge to the other side of the river and walk down the stairs, you'd be able to take a great shot of Notre Dame. 

We found a really nice spot to take this picture after looking at a postcard sold along the riverside (LOL). It's nice to have two photography enthusiasts within the group!

Oh, by the way, my friend spotted this children book:

Candy Candy is a relatively old Japanese manga that I read when I was in... kindergarten? Yup, and they have it in children storybook version in French. I guess they really loved the story.

These stores along the river sell "antique" books (or perhaps it's better to say "books that look like antique books"), postcards and printed artworks as souvenirs. At times, you would also see more modern books, like these:

I thought it would be interesting to read Harry Potter in French, but again, I think I might need more time spent on checking the dictionary than reading the actual book. I'll have to see if the courses in Paris will be as tough as the previous courses in the Netherlands and in Ireland. I have way too many things I want to do while in France.

Moving on, we decided to walk towards Musée du Louvre because the scenery and the weather were too pretty to be missed. After 2 months in cloudy Ireland, the bright sun really brought us our cheerful mood.

Honestly, I don't know what this place was, but after several Googling, I found out that this was the L'Hôtel de Ville, or in English, the City Hall of Paris. Outside the City Hall was an iceskating rink. I believe the temperature was around 9 degrees C when we went there; I guess it's still cold enough to have an outdoor iceskating rink.

We kept on walking for another 10 minutes, and we arrived at a locks bridge just outside Le Louvre.

There's a really cute lock with the whole family written :)

Ok, back to Musée du Louvre. Yay, we finally reached it!

The entrance to the inner part of Le Louvre is free. There's some sort of construction or event preparation going on, but it doesn't really affect the overall awesome experience at Le Louvre.

And.... beyond these arcs, behold....

The pyramid of Louvre!

The pyramid was really beautiful. The position of the pyramid and the empty space around it made me feel sucked into another dimension of space.

The whole complex of Musée du Louvre was just splendid. Too many details to describe. I think if you really want to pay attention to every single sculpture on the buildings, you'd have to spend at least 2 weeks. Really, really beautiful. Magnificent!

At the back of the pyramid was an arc called Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, and this is not to be mistaken with Arc de Triomphe (without the du Carrousel), which is located in the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle.

Then, we took the metro to reach the Arc de Triomphe (this time, without the "du Carrousel").

Much, much, much bigger than the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. The sky was kind of getting dark; I think we reached here around 4 PM.

I only had my phone camera with me, so I couldn't take really nice pictures of the arc. I left that responsibility to my photographer friend, and I'm just going to steal the photos from his facebook (sshhhhh....)

We went up the arc (for free because it's the first Sunday of the month!) and saw the whole Paris. The view was just gorgeous. Sadly, when you take photos from such a height, you normally don't end up with good pictures, especially with a phone camera. Well, I had enough fun and excitement from climbing up the arc. The spiral of stairs. Oh god. That felt like an eternity. I guess the effort of climbing the stairs really paid off!

Finally, we arrived at our last destination for the day: Tour Eiffel, or the Eiffel Tower.


There are so many movies and stories around love based on this tower, and this tower is also the symbol of Paris.

We didn't stay until late at night because we were really tired by then. We didn't go up the tower either; I'm definitely going back to the tower again before I leave Paris! :)


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