La capitale de l’amour, de la mode, du glamour

Paris. Love. Romance. Style. Fashion. Elegance. Grandeur.

There’s so many words you can associate Paris with. I’m so glad I’m going back there!

Paris has an extensive Metro or Subway or Bus routes, which simplifies everything for (stupid) tourists. All I needed to get free access to the public transportation was a Paris Visité card for 3 zones, and I’ve got all the major attractions covered. The pass comes with a handy map too.

A73fd2cf_1 I stayed in a hotel on Quai de Conti (click picture for larger image), right next to L’Institute de France (picture), home of the prestigeous l’Académie française. I thought the hotel was quite expensive for the size of the room offered, but then again it is only 10 minutes from Notre Dame, 10 minutes from Musée du Louvre, and 3 minutes away from Pont Neuf.

1dsc06890_1 Pont Neuf itself is supposed to be the oldest bridge crossing the Seine, built in the 17th century. It doesn’t look old though, maybe because it’s so clean and well preserved. There are loads of tourist boats going back and forth on the Siene, as you can see there’s one on the picture.

3adbd32c_1 This is what awaited at the hotel room, haha… A ticket for the 10th row of the tribune (that gave us a spot really near the left wing of the stage), hospitality pass, a large shoulder bag containing merchandise, and the official showguide. Not bad at all 😀

E2c092f4_1 Bercy is larger than Amsterdam Arena, and believe it or not the tickets for all 3 days were sold out. Mine costed 165 eur – WHO would pay such an outrageous price to watch Madonna?? Apparently a lot of people did…- oh, did I mention she was a gay icon? She is. Big time. You should see the crowd in front of the stage…

B9cd44d7_2 My first monument visit in Paris was to the Tour Eiffel. Since it was a weekday and still early, there wasn’t a long line to go up. The tower itself is outrageously huge. Maybe because I’ve seen so many minatures, when I saw the real thing I was in awe. ‘Whoa…how did they build this??’ I arrived too near the building though, so I couldn’t take a picture of the whole structure, my lens couldn’t take up so much space. The tower, unlike my perception, was brownish tan instead of gray. The second and third floor was protected by wiring, to prevent people from jumping off I suppose.

234163659_0a0862444b_o The view is gorgeous… If you really want to enjoy Eiffel, you have to put in 4 hours in your schedule, at least. The line to go on the stairs/elevators itself takes up a lot of time, but there are parts of the building that is not over crowded (at least it wasn’t that bad when I was there). There are 2 restaurants, but I’m not sure if the view of the city can be seen from he inside…

Once on the third (top) floor, everything is a miniature… Try to see if you can find these buildings on the pictures below, from left to right:

F3ffe7ac_3 501b17e7_4 4aae5275_3 68508521_1 

Jardine du Trocadéro, Arc de Triomphe (a bit center right ni the picture), Champ de March, and Grand Palais on the Seine.

31ba74b5_1 This is the inner back-quarters of Musée du Louvre, home of Monalisa, the largest museum in the world. Thanks to Da Vinci Code it is now the most visited building in Paris. It’s a huge museum, and would take up days to visit all of the art inside of it.

31d6dc25_1And from the front part of the museum is of course the glass Pyramide, source of so many controversies. From the ill-fitting structure to the roumoured 666 glasses that the pyramid was made of.

1dsc06895_1 Behind the Louvre you can find Abbey of St. Germain des Prés, the oldest church building in Paris. I’m not so sure what this building is now, maybe it’s still a church, I didn’t see any signs that it’s a museum now.

A2b81d7dThis picture is for Mel, haha! Palais Garnier (Opera House), set of the famous novel from Gaston Leroux. Nowadays the building hostes Operas (deuh) and ballet performances.

Eeb607d9 The one building that didn’t live up to my expectations was this one: Notre Dame de Paris. I guess I’m spoilt by the catedrals in Italy, this gothic building is pale in comparison to the towering catedrals scattered in Italy.
800pxnotredamenight But I might have also viewed it from the wrong angle, as from the south it’s much lovelier – no, I didn’t make this picture, just found it somewhere on the net :). Behind the church there’s a public garden where you can sit and enjoy the back view of the church (which I though was lovelier then the front part…)

A80240d9 The area around southern part the cathedral is called St. Michel, a busy center with lots of shops. This is the statue of  St. Michel by Duret, decorating the corner of a busy intersection.

E729b0cc Moving on from Notre Dame to the northern side of the centre the streets are filled with small tourist shops. You can by souveniers there, I found that the prices were not as expensive as on the other part of the city. Here is Centre Georges Pompidou, which was a bit painful to the eyes in the middle of other old artistic buildings. It’s a modern art museum, and this is how the outer part looks like.

00638807 On the side of the building is the famous Fontaine des automates – or the Stravinsky Fountain, with well, modern art :). From here there’s a large square where street artists would make their pictures of performace, but I didn’t find any while I was there.

9cbebf0f The Pompidou is reachable by foot from Notre Dame, and on the way I passed Hôtel de Ville, which is Paris’ city hall- the office for the Mayor of Paris :). In the afternoon the place was crowded, some people were even just laying there on the benches, enjoying the sun.

B4406b85Funny enough though, I thought this dome building was the Hôtel de Ville, how was I to know that it’s the city hall, not a real hotel?? The hotel building is just a few metres away from the city hall.

190c33b3And on the right is the centre of Galeries Lafayette. It has a beautiful steel and glass dome. As you can see it’s a shopping centre – and it reminds me more of the malls in Jakarta: huge and overpriced ;).

Da1448fe Speaking of over-priced places, nothing beats Champs-Élysées, where all the designer stores are located. At the end of the street though, is the colossal Arc de Triomphe, the building assiged by Napoleon Bonaparte after his victory in battle of the three emperors. From the top of the building you can see through a straight line passing the Pyramid, all the way to La Defensé, with it’s glass version of Arc de Triomphe. No, I didn’t visit it :(.

A4c19379 I did visit the Père Lachaise Cemetery though. It’s almost like a little village, with tombs imitating church buildings. Chopin was burried here, as well as Jim Morrisson, hehe.. The tombs were massive, some even reaching 2-story heights. They were lined up, I suppose the more strategic the place, the more you pay to be burried there!

Parisians are so proud of their language… Everytime I’d try to speak French, they’d proudly correct my pronounciation. They’re much friendlier, though, if you try to speak French rather than bable right away in English. It’s funny how I’d suddenly blurt out in Dutch – it’s like my brain is telling me “say something foreign. Quick! Anything!” – I’d end up saying ‘twee’ instead of ‘deux’ when ordering for two. Or stranger still, I’d say ‘grazie’ (Italian!!) instead of ‘merci’, haha..

But all in all, I love Paris. Apart from the crowds of tourists, has the romantic serene atmosphere quite like the ones you find in smaller italian cities (as I said, apart from the tourists :P), but it still has the efficiency and speed of western europe. Which is quite a nice combination I think.

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~ by Anita Fei on September 4, 2006.

3 Responses to “La capitale de l’amour, de la mode, du glamour”

  1. Oooow, you lucky girl!!
    I have to go there someday…

  2. Hi Ci Anita .. my first time visit hehe .. nice blog u have here .. =)

    Wow!! I always love to read everything about Paris, how beautiful the city is .. make me want to go there even more haha ..

    I also love to learn France! but haven’t got time to take a lesson .. maybe u could teach me someday?

    ^o^

  3. Hihihi…I cant speak french!!! I’m still learning Dutch, any attempt to learn a new language would make me go mad, haha..
    But Paris *is* gorgeous – ntar mampir ke Belanda ya klo ke paris, haha!!

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