Wednesday, July 4, 2007

220607 - 260607 - Paris - Truly the City of Lights

Paris is truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Seriously. The City of lights, the dream city of half the people in the world and the city you must visit at least once in your lifetime. Despite its messiness, dirtiness, disorganisation, and the confusing train system, the city is definitely worth your while. It is not the most visited city in the world for nothing. Well, at least it was on top of my own most-want-to-travel list.

There are just too many things to see and explore. I spent 3 days there and I did not get to finish all of the things there.

First day I arrived there, Jiajun came to welcome me. It was a touching reunion *sobz*... boohoo... LOLX... He was one of my good friends back in Singapore and boy am I glad to see him. We caught up with alot of things, while keeping an eye on the arcane train system, which instructions and announcements were all worded in French. JJ doesn't have a very good command of French, so yahz.... Anyway, we arrived safely at his hostel in the suburbs of the Paris. Pretty secluded but a nice place all the same.

Second day CW and Yucheng came over for the Paris Air Show. Wanted to smoke into JJ's summer school's excursions haha but failed, so then joined CW and YC at the air show. Had free breakfasts though, from then on. HAHA... So I managed to smoke quite a bit... Asians all look the same to them anyway... The Paris Air Show was not my cup of tea after all. But the air demonstration was an eye-opener indeed. Of course, the main attraction was the Airbus, which was to replace Boeing 747. After the air show, we went to their hotel. Yes, they booked a hotel room! LOLX... Then, we headed separately to meet our friends before coming back together again with Shangcai. The night activity together was walking towards the 19th-century Eiffel Tower, which seriously did not let me down. I was totally in awe at the night view of the Tower. We took so many pictures of the Eiffel Tower!! From there, we took a train and went down to the famous shopping street of Champ-Elysees, with boutiques the likes of Louis Vuitton and Gucci on one side and moviehouse the likes of Lido. At the end of the street stood, conveniently, the eminent napoleonic Arc de Triomphe at the centre of the biggest roundabout in the world. Magnificent by day and night, it faces the Obelisk, which was a gift to the Parisians by the Egyptians, in a straight line. Then we walked to the acclaimed Louvre Museum, glorified by the Da Vinci Code, and graced by the famous Leonardo painting of Mona Lisa. Of course, the night view was another mesmerizing picture with its day's counterpart. The pyramids were indeed a unique architectural spectacle.

At the end of it all, we bid farewell, and I went back to my friend's hostel only to find the last train does not head back to my friend's stop! At the end of it all, I actually had to 'hike' 15 minutes, cold and lonely, with only the map in my camera (:P), back to the hostel. And at the hostel, I have no keys to go in, I have to act as though I left my keys with somebody in the hostel and smoke (yet again) my way through. As again, all Asians look alike anyway.

The next day was more organised. I went into the Louvre. And seriously, that bloody place is so damn big. I was told that if you were to look at every single thing in the Louvre, you will never finish even half of it in a day. Well, see what you wanna see: the sculpture of Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa; they were the only things I recognised. Take photos, talk later... if u know what i mean... And seriously I couldn't spend my entire day just walking the Louvre. Next up I brushed by Grand Palais, Petit Palais, Les Invalides, which houses the tomb of Napoleon, and finally ended up at another of the Big Three (Eiffel, Arc), Notre Dame de Paris. I went in just when there was a service going on. And the music and singing resonance reverberated like the voices of the heavens. I just spend my rest of the day immersing in the acoustics.

The last day in Paris brought me first to the town of Versailles to see the renowned Palace of Versailles. THE palace perfected by Louis XIV of France and many palaces in Europe sought to mimic its splendour. Unfortunately for me, they are closed on Mondays... zzzzz... So I could only visit the Garden, which was so big that people require a golf car to traverse it!! I travelled on foot... thx... After that I went on to see CBD-equivalent commercial district of Paris: Le Defence. Over there the Grand Arche, caught my attention immediately. Another architectural wonder, and from the Arche, the entire district creates this very nice modern skyscraper landscape, that presents another facet of Paris. Next was Luxembourg Palace, which was absolutely nothing as compared to the Versailles. Then the Pantheon, it's the Paris counterpart of the London Westminster Abbey, just grander (in my opinion) in architecture and interior design. Next up was a visit to the Moulin Rouge. Which really disappointed me because it was nothing I have imagined; it was just like any other club, just made famous internationally. Or maybe I did not go in to check out, that's why. At long last, I specifically saved my last stop at the Eiffel Tower. This time round, to climb it.

And boy am I so lucky. I actually saw a complete arc of rainbow when I reached the second level of the tower. A complete arc of rainbow across the city of Paris. Brilliant.
So you might have guessed that it was raining, so i decided not to go up to the top, which incidentally cost an additional 3.70 Euros. Nonetheless, the rainbow folded up my trip in Paris on a very wondrous note.
Life is really still full of wonderful things, isn't it?

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