Following our 1 week stay in London, we boarded the Eurostar for Paris. Around 2 hours of picturesque view of the French countryside from our windows before reaching Gare du Nord. Citadines Prestige Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris was our stay for the first 5 nights followed by our last night at Mercure Terminus Nord. The former offering convenience right in the centre of Paris along the Seine, whereas the latter is just across Gare du Nord, leading to the airport. We didn’t purchase the Paris Pass since the price didn’t justify the places that we intended to cover. Almost everything was within walking distance from our hotel or was just a few metro stations away. I almost wanted to buy a ticket to the Champions League match between Paris St. Germain and Porto at Stade de France on our arrival day but the timing was just not feasible. It would have been cool to watch Ibrahimovic and company in action.
We walked to places like Notre Dame de Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Pantheon Paris and even managed a short stop at La Grande Mosquée de Paris. The iconic Tour de Eiffel was amazing especially after dusk. Arc de Triomphe Paris was another stop which was located at the top of The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the French version of Orchard Road, where more bags were bought by Fadelinah and even I succumbed to one from Lancel, before heading to Printemps and Galeries Lafayette for more variety. Prices so much cheaper than the boutiques in Singapore that it would be almost sinful to return home without buying one. Food-wise, not as much as what London offered us and apart from the occasional stops at Mediterranean eateries, we indulged more on the macarons from Ladurée and Pierre Hermé. Fadelinah prefers the former but I prefer the latter. A stark contrast in quality between theirs and the all-too-sweet ones we ate in Singapore. And it seems Ladurée will be opening a branch in Singapore soon.
One cannot come to Paris and leave without appreciating the famous art pieces that the city contains. A visit to Musée du Louvre is a must to see most of them, especially the one and only Mona Lisa. So as we wondered through the different parts of the humongous museum, lost in paintings, sculptures and ancient artefacts, the feeling that even staying inside the museum for a month was not enough dawned, so beelines were made to only the important ones. True enough, the only display that had a really big crowd in front of it was the Mona Lisa. So you smile as she smiles back at you and you ask yourself “That’s it?”.
One of my primary objectives in Paris was to try and visit the underbelly of the city, so to speak, Catacombes de Paris, where human remains are stacked forming boney mounds and hanged along the earthy walls. Alas, upon reaching the discreet little hut that forms the main entrance to the macabre, the sign informing that the place is closed for maintenance was still hung. Disappointed, I returned to join Fadelinah at the hotel for more retail theraphy. At least I managed to visit Cimetière du Père Lachaise prior to that, to visit Jim Morrison’s grave, on what would have been his birthday.
Paris, the City of Lights, lived up to its name, and we are glad to have made the journey and experience the culture and surprisingly, friendly people. Not too sure if a return to Paris is on the cards but I still cannot get over missing out on the catacombs and besides … Fadelinah has something to settle with one Mr Julien from St. Laurent.