Sunday, August 18, 2013

Euro Trip Day 5: Paris

So we were still in Paris and the theme for the day was: I AM FRENCH FRIED. After a grueling day under the sun at Disneyland, it was another day under the sun at the city area. The day's destinations were major landmarks of Paris: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champ-Elysees, Grande Arc, and Louvre (although only to see the pyramid).

Eiffel Tower
We alighted at Bir-Hakeim and then walked about 10 minutes to reach the foot of the tower. The queue for the elevator up was already snaking like crazy. I wanted to climb using the stairs since not many were queueing that. However, my sister did not want as she was still feeling tired after Disneyland -_-" Ok lor... Seeing that throng of tourists, I thought Eiffel Tower would be a quick stop as I dislike having random people in my photos. I was wrong.

It seems that for most people, going up the tower is the main attraction. The park at the foot of the tower was relatively empty which provides a good opportunity for my camwhoring session. My sister and I even did a few jump shots which was quite embarrassing even though there were not many people. Lol.. I could jump pretty high so I only jumped a few times. My sister, however, had to jump many more times. Not sure if I sucked with the camera or if her jump sucked (did not try to "fly"). I believe it was the latter. Haha.. One Italian couple approached me to help them take a photo which I obliged. Funny thing was only the guy could speak English. Not sure if both could speak French but I just found it intriguing when someone who can't speak English go travelling.
Eiffel Tower from the park beneath it
We walked across the Seine River to reach Trocadero. It was quite a fair distance. With the number of stops we made to take pictures, we could easily burn ourselves 30-45minutes under the sun. While the river was fantastic, the view from Trocadero was nothing similar. The sun was exactly behind the Eiffel Tower and it simply looked black in photos. Add a suntanned me in front of the sun, I just looked black in pictures. Frustrating.. We met another tourist couple here. The guy was a better cameraman than my sister. He helped to take the picture of both of us and the humans looked coloured. Grrah.. should have asked him to take my solo pictures too.
River Seine
From Trocadero.. The sun looks eerie..
Arc de Triomphe
The moment we exited the metro, I was disappointed. Eiffel Tower was majestic but the Arc looks better in picture than in real. Or perhaps, the Arc looks grander with its light at night than in the bright daylight. Not in the mood to take pictures because a lot of people were standing at the same area to look and take photos with the Arc. Oh well, there is a big road separating us from the Arc so everyone simply stood at the road side. We went over to be directly under the Arc and my impression still did not change: it looks better in picture and it looks grander with its light at night.

Anyway, it was not all negative as I learnt something here: the Arc has a lot of history behind it. I also did not expect to see something like the Tomb of Unknown Soldier beneath it. Lol.. Prior to this, I only know the Arc as the inspiration of Final Fantasy VIII Sorceress Festival at Deling City at the end of Disc 1. Pardon me. Lol.

We continued with a trip along the famous Champ-Elysees which was dubbed as the inspiration of Singapore's Orchard Road. Can't say which one is better. I prefer Champ-Elysees for the wider pedestrian pathway while I prefer Orchard Road for the shopping malls. Yes.. with such a hot weather, I appreciate a walk through various connected shopping malls with aircon rather than visiting boutiques/shops one by one. Haha..

We visited a Swatch shop and I decided to buy a watch. Since we were still at the beginning of our trip, my sister suggested to buy it near the end because as long as we are in Euro zone, the price would be the same. Cool with me. 

Our ultimate destination, however, was Disney Store. Okay.. I still had a pang of regret for leaving Minnie behind at Disneyland the day before. I realised that Disney Store and Disney Parks had different items T_T There goes Minnie.. In the end, I succumbed to impulse and bought Aladdin and Jasmine soft toys. Lol.. I thought the plushies were ugly looking when we browsed Disney Store website in April and I was so sure not to buy back then. In fact, I was more interested in Aladdin and Jasmine's dolls ala Barbie. Lol..Unfortunately, Jasmine looked damn ugly in that one and the box made it difficult to fit into my already full luggage. No time to take the picture of Aladdin and Jasmine, though.

Grande Arc
The official name is Grande Arche de la Defense but I swear I saw it written as Grande Arc in the metro. Of course I could be wrong! Haha.. I had no idea about this so when my sister described it as "a more modern version of Arc de Triomphe", I was excited and my imagination ran wild.

Outside the la Defense station was Les Quatre Temps shopping mall. Again, my sister wanted to do her shopping. Emotions ran high because 1) it was already pretty hot and the aircon in the mall was not switched on and 2) there were still many places to visit and I did not want to waste time.

This Arc was even more disappointing than Arc de Triomphe. With no carvings whatsoever, to me it was just like a concrete monument and I refused to walk all the way from the mall to underneath it. I was already French fried and looking at the distance.. no way.. I ended up taking photos at the grassy area outside the mall. Lol.
We were still *that* far from the Arc.. This is with several times zoom :p
The Musee du Louvre
I thought there would not be anytime but since the museum is also in yellow line (same direction as our hotel) and the sun was still up high, I decided to pay a visit. Initially, I was reluctant to go if I did not go in to the museum. Oh well, with the limited time, of course we only came to see the pyramid (from far) and the inverted pyramid.
The famous inverted pyramid.. I would not know this if not due to Da Vinci Code
This is the closest I can get to the top side of the pyramid
At the park, I saw plenty interesting things like the a ferris wheel and some grand buildings. But something triggered a "sandstorm" and we decided to just quickly go.

Another Arc? Yes, it is all sand and hence the sandstorm.
After a quick dinner, we returned to hotel. I thought we would still have time to actually enter Chateau de Vincennes but we arrived at about 7pm. And surprise surprise, the electricity in the hotel was down! Lol.. Thank goodness everything returned to normal within half an hour.

So that was all for France. I missed out Galeries Lafayette (which I initially thought as a giant shopping mall in Champ-Elysees) as well as Notre Dame (my sister said it closed quite early and I refused to go if I could not go inside). My sister thought 7pm was still early and she was a bit bitter that she could not go shopping or visit the Notre Dame. Well, common sense told me to have an early day because on the following day we had to leave early to catch a train in Zurich. This bitterness was carried over until the showdown in Zurich. That will be a story for tomorrow. Heh!

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