Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We'll always have Paris

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We all have these troubles but in our hearts we'll always have that one perfect time.  We will always have Paris.  Now that was one thought stuck in my head since I've watched Casablanca a thousand times. Visions of clean streets filled with the best dressed people on earth who smoked too many cigarettes clouded my mind. I've dreamed about that charming stroll while marveling about the city's architecture and falling in love with the most romantic city in the world. 

We arrived early in the morning after that short trip from Amsterdam.  When we reached CDG airport my heart fluttered with excitement.  We entrusted AFC travel with our entire Paris and Switzerland trip.  Our guide met us at the airport and so was our reliable Coach who patiently took us around.  We checked in at the Hilton Paris Orly Airport, a long ride from CDG airport.  After refreshing ourselves, we were ready to take down the city.

Inside the coach our guide was explaining the history of all those glorious structures and gave us ample time to go down and take photos.  That's when I started to think differently about this place they call the city of love and lights .  I've allowed myself to admit that I've never loved Paris and doubt that I ever will. What I came to realize is that Paris is just another city with a rich history. 

An unending running game. 
Somewhere in between Netherlands and France
Charles de Gaulle airport
My partners in crime
My pike shot.
The coach
It has a huge luggage compartment
Day tour - I think the most fabulous way to tour the city is by bus.  As a first time tour bus traveler I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. The hop on hop off concept I believe is more convenient since it saves time and it's less tiring.  Our French lady guide gave us a better understanding of the city's layout and the history behind the architecture.  
Pont Alexandre III  - with exuberant Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses at either end.
Pont Alexandre III -  built between 1896 and 1900. It is named after Tsar Alexander III who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892.
Stonehenge imitation
Chapel of Saint-Louis-des-Invalides
The church was known as the pensioners' Choir but later referred to as the Soldiers' church. Soldiers were required to attend the daily mass here. The church is connected directly with the Royal chapel, better known as the Dôme des Invalides, separated by a glass wall. The 107-metre high dome o the Royal chapel was completed in 1690, the chapel itself in 1735.

(Army Museum) is a national military museum of France located at Les Invalides in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It is served by Paris Métro stations Invalides, Varenne, and La Tour-Maubourg.


Musée de l'Armée interior court in Les Invalides 

Chapel of St. Louis
Patawid na lang pumoposing pa
Saya nyo?
Nicey Bona!
Reminder: (No parking) Except for paying coaches or something like that
Gloomy Paris
Arc de Triomphe - is one of Paris’ most distinctive historic landmarks. This triumphal arch was envisioned as a dedication by Napoleon to his troops for their hard won victory at the battle of Austerlitz in 1809. While the idea and design refer back to the ancient Roman ceremonial arches, the massive scale of the Arc de Triomphe is purely Napoleonic in its grandeur. Measuring 164 feet tall, it towers over the 50 foot tall Arch of Titus in Rome that inspired the design for the Parisian landmark.
Internal coffered arch of the Arc de Triomphe
The supposed signage became a sticker post
Below the Arc de Triomphe lies the Tomb of an Unknown Soldier killed in WWI, which was placed here in 1921. Every evening at 6:30pm the eternal flame at the tomb is rekindled with a ceremony, a tradition that wasn’t even interrupted during Nazi occupation of Paris.
Standing under the Arc de Triomphe arches
Bona and I
Rach and Bona
The Arc de Triomphe is now dedicated to glory of the French army and honors important battles, generals and victories in France’s military history.
Elaborate reliefs carved on the Arc de Triomphe
Even if you’re not up for the climb, do make time to visit the base of the Arc de Triomphe. To safely reach the monument you can follow the underground passageway on the Champs-Elysées that comes up at the base of the Arc de Triomphe.
Arc De Triomphe
Open everyday
1 April to 30 September : 10 am to 11 pm
1 October to 31 March : 10 am to 10:30 pm
Last admission 45 mins before closing 
January 1, May 1, May 8 (morning), July 14 (morning), November 11 (morning) and December 25
Arc de Triomphe website

 A Basilica
Academie Nationale de Musique
Louvre Museum
Obelisk - tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top, and is said to resemble a petrified ray of the sun-disk. 
Place de la Concorde 

Place de la Concorde - one of the major public squares in Paris. Measuring 8.64 hectares (21.3 acres) in area, it is the largest square in the French capital. It is located in the city's eighth arrondissement, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées.

The Fountain of River Commerce and Navigation, one of the two Fontaines de la Concorde (1840) on the Place de la Concorde.

The Eiffel Tower - The wind brushed against my face and ignited all my senses.  It felt like I was in a cage of steel.  That's how I felt when I was standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower.  I was staring at the view around me, Paris.  I was standing at what they call the most iconic location in the world and all I tasted was the coldness.  

There are 3 stages to the Eiffel tower. The main elevator takes you to the second stage and then stops at the first stage on the way down. There's a second elevator from the second to third stage for those who want to go all the way to the top.
Where the coach was parked
 Waiting for the lift
Inside the Lift
The cue - so windy
View from the top
So cold and so harsh
Tour Eiffel
Open every single day of the year 
  • from 9 a.m. to midnight from 15 June to the 1st of September,
  • from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the rest of the year,
  • At Easter weekend and during the Spring holidays : extended opening hours to midnight

And so came one of our most pleasurable experiences in Paris, SHOPPING! From the Eiffel Tower we hurriedly made our way to Avenue des Champs-Élysée and walked further to Rue Saint-Honoré.  I was smitten by how huge each shop is, we didn't get the chance to spend a lot time shopping though since is nearly closing time (they close really early).  So we just strolled hastily and picked up what we needed.  Sure we wanted to go inside each store but there is one boutique that we have an eye on.  We ordered stuff online that they can't possibly deliver to our doorstep so we have to collect it from the store.  For all those shopaholics out there, you'd agree to call this place seventh heaven.

Goyard La Maison Goyard was founded in 1853 by François Goyard (1828-1890), located on 233 rue Saint-Honoré. His son Edmond was born in 1860 who eventually took over his father's business, renaming the House, "E. Goyard Ainé", not only acknowledging Edmond but to honor his deceased grandfather, Edme. In 1998, Maison Goyard was purchased by the Signoles family, and the company introduced several new colors at that time. Now, collector-turned-owner Jean-Michel Signoles is working to revive the brand and restore its former glory.

The Goyard Canvas - The canvas has a three-dimensional chevron pattern that appears to be hand-painted on. The canvas itself is woven out of cotton, hemp and linen that is then coated with a gum Arabic resin making the material resilient, lightweight and above all, waterproof. The pattern is then painstakingly impressed using a cadrette one color at a time thus creating the 3D illussion. The highly specialized technique employed in this process makes each piece unique. 

Finally, after carefully following the map and with the help of some passers by we were in front of the store.  I was breathless.  

 Shop's facade
Sige ilabas mo lahat ng kayamanan mo Marsie! Hahaha!
Nakuha mo pang picture-an ang sarile mo Bona? =D
With our NFF who cheerfully gave us a private tour of the second floor

Green and Yellow, Red na lang ang kulang =)
Happy US
Maison Goyard
233 Rue Saint-Honoré  75001 Paris, France
01 42 60 57 04

After that gleeful moment in our lives we continued our sashay through Champs-Élysées.  Sa kakaarte namin sa hinde mapigilang pamimile, naiwan kame ng bus (hahahaha)!  We were running like crazy but still we didn't make it.  It was a blessing in disguise though.  We created an adventure, discovering Paris on our own and we're able to explore a lot of places.
This is therapy

Ladurée - is a maker of luxury cakes and pastries. It is known as the inventor of the double-decker macaron, fifteen thousand of which are sold every day. They are still one of the best known makers of macarons in the world.

The cue
Chic boxes
Gift suggestions
Yummy tingnan
Hinde lang talaga ako mahilig sa matamis.
Rona in front of the shop
75 Champs-Elysées Paris
01 40 75 08 75

Endless walking
Saan pa kaya tayo papasok?
News stand
 Meeting point
Arc de Triomphe at night

La Crêperie Des Champs Elysee - Shopping can make one really hungry.  We passed by this restaurant off Champs Elysee, and the food was just delicious.  Rue Washington is across the street from the main Louis Vuitton store.  Beef,  eggs, crepe = totally divine! 
 Order na bilis!
Si Rona at ang pagawaan ng Crepe
Gutom fez

La Creperie des Champs Elysees
5, Rue Washington, 75008 Paris, France (Champs-Élysées)

Below is a series of subway photos.
Mapa mapa
Wait lang
 Cute ni marsie dito

Musee de Louvre - is one of the world's largest museums, and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, France, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st district. Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square meters (652,300 square feet). With more than 8 million visitors each year, the Louvre is the world's most visited museum.
Ayos ng sarile
Anong oras pasok?
 The entrance
Marsie and I
Salamat sa tripod
Shempre dapat may ganito
Ate eto =)
At eto pa =)
Bagay! =)
Crossing the street
Musée du Louvre
75058 Paris - France
Tel. +33 (0)1 40 20 53 17 (except Tuesday)

Notre Dame de Paris - From the Louvre, we figured out the way to Notre Dame.  Sobrang hasang hasa na kame sa pagbabasa ng mapa I swear. Our next destination I'm really excited about.  If you came across my blog post about a few months back, Thoughts before kicking the bucket, item no. 74 read:
74. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris - What I'm really after are the gargoyles and chimeras. Sure they were built into the ends of the gutters to drain rainwater off the roof; but I find them very enigmatic.  The chimeras are just there sitting, scanning the whole of Paris.  They are animal and human figures, half-man and half-beast, grotesque and horrific creatures with eagles’ beaks and wings, lions’ talons, serpents’ tails.  See you my little ones in 3 months.
The Cathedral was closed when we got there but to stand in front of this old structure was more than enough for me.  I was just pretty much standing there in awe.  The city may be a mess but while I was standing there, I was being filled with more than just amazement, more than just joy, I was at peace.       
Rona and I
Scratching off Bucket List item no. 74
Cafe Panis at the end of the street
Sinong Tired?
Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris
6 Parvis Notre-Dame
Place Jean-Paul II
75004 Paris   
Notre Dame de Paris website

Let me just clear this one out.  I don't hate Paris.  There are a lot of things to admire about this city - like the old structures.  I have this weird fascination for old and musty stuff.  Maybe I'm just too obnoxious to admit that I hate that I didn't get to share the experience with someone special (it's the freaking city of love for crying out loud!!!).  Hahaha, but setting aside that bitter half of my insecure mind,  sure I loved the sights, the food, shopping and the adventure/misadventures with my best friends Rach and Rona. So if I say I hate Paris no one would believe me, except the French.  French guys here in the office understood.  I was told that Paris is not really France and was encouraged to visit other cities next time.  I got a total of 5 informal sessions to help me with my French and to better understand how the Parisians could be very rude to tourists.  Here's one proof of concern, an iMessage from our CFO, got this when we were on our way to the airport.


"Rick: If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Ilsa: But what about us?
Rick: We’ll always have Paris."

- Casablanca


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