Monday, 22 October 2012

Day 4: London to Paris, Eiffel Tower, Rue Cler

We woke up really early this morning cause we have a 9am train to catch to Paris.. I was craving for the English brekkie we had yesterday morning but since we are not sure how long it will take from our hostel to the train station, we just went downstairs to the canteen of our hostel for brekkie.. 

Took a cab to the train station & took us less than 10 min.. Everyone was so quiet on the cab ride there & not looking very excited as well.. Wondering isit because we are going to leave London or its more of the after effect for waking up so early.. 

Arriving @ St Pancras train station & I was rather surprised by how 'modern' it looks..  It is definitely not as old as I thought it to be.. Erm.. Think I watched too much Harry Potter & got influenced by it.. 

 Outside St Pancras Station..

I was searching high & low for a mailbox before we went to the station but couldnt find any near our hostel.. Luckily after the check-in area in the station, there is 1 available beside the information counter.. The waiting area was pretty crowded with travellers like us.. The boarding is just like when you are at the airport.. You must wait for your gate to open before you can move to the boarding area & usually it will only open 15-20min before departure time.. 

 On the travellator up to the boarding area.. See, its pretty modern right... 
 Finally found our cabin & waiting to board the train with our big luggage.. 
 Time to camwhore while waiting for the train to depart.. 

I was quite excited to see the scenery along the way towards Paris.. Its so different from what we usually see here in Asia.. Farms, windmill, rivers, small mountains etc.. Everything was a new concept to me..... I felt like a mountain-turtle!!

We decide to explore around & walk to the food cabin, leaving the guys to catch their beauty slp.. For someone who has not taken any train ride apart from our MRT since 5 years old.. Eating on the train is a novelty to me & seeing a small eatery is even more so... And this leads to us buying microwaved food @ SGD13!! 

Upon arrival @ Gare du Nord we went around trying to make seat reservation for our upcoming train rides.. This is the downside of getting Eurail, you still have to pay additional to guarantee u a seat in some countries, France & Italy is one of them.. And its not cheap to get a seat reservation.. Like for ours, from Paris to Bern, we have to pay 21euro per pax for First Class seat but that includes a meal onboard.. 

Took a cab to our B&B near Eiffel Tower.. The ride is so cheap!! OK, it is still like 10euro for a 10-15mins ride but after the taxi culture shock we had in London.. Paris taxi fare is relatively cheap in comparison.. On the taxi ride, we also notice some differences between London & Paris.. 
 The road is wider than London.. 
And there are leaves on the trees already!! Spring is round the corner.. 

Our B&B is right opposite a school & the security is very good.. You will need to have access card to get inside & there is a guard around.. Apparently it is a high-end residential area in Paris.. Our B&B host is already waiting for us at home & welcome us warmly.. She is so so friendly & helpful.. Recommending places for us to go, guiding us on how to go, where is must-see etc etc.. I really love her man.. 

Did I forget to mention that our B&B is a penthouse!! It is 2 storey & has a terrace overlooking the school & the most important attraction of Paris -  Eiffel Tower!! 

This is the exactly what you see when you are at the outdoor terrace!!

After freshening up & resting on the cosy bed of our B&B.. We went for a walk around the neighbourhood & found a cafe along the way towards Eiffel Tower.. The seats outside the walkway were all taken up, whereas inside is so empty.. 

Lunch of the day that was taken @ 4pm.. Beef Tartar & Barammundi.. 

After lunch, we continue the walk towards Eiffel Tower even though we could just take a public transport there.. Walking can let us look at more things & get to enjoy the feeling of walking under the sun with a cool breeze.. We just look at the Eiffel Tower & walk in the same direction of where it is, having no idea where we are.. 

 Neighbourhood of Paris.. 
Suspended subway trail.. Identical to our mrt track.. 

Along the way towards Eiffel Tower, there are alot of souvenir shops selling small Eiffel Tower key chain ( in all sorts of colors), tabletop display, drawings, paintings etc.. DO NOT rush into buying your souvenirs cause MOST of the shops carry the same souvenirs & price differs from shop to shop.. 

Example: 1 shop might be selling the keychain @ 5 for 1Euro, another shop might be selling the same keychain @ 4 or 6 for 1Euro.. Gauge the situation & try to bargain with the sellers nicely, you might be surprised on how much discount you can get.. 

PS: For those who will be going to Notre Dame, there is a small souvenir street beside it, on the left hand side of Notre Dame.. According to the travel guide, the souvenir there is cheaper.. I went there before & did a small comparison.. Certain things are cheaper in comparison but NOT all & their selections might be slightly different from those at Eiffel Tower as well.. So if you think you really like whatever you are holding in your hand already & think its within your budget, just get it!!

After passing tonnes & tonnes of souvenir shops along the Seine River, we finally reached our destination -- Eiffel Tower.. It is so HUGE!! I felt so small & tiny standing right in front of it...... 

 Taken from the side of the Eiffel Tower where there is a small park..
Below the tower where we get the ticket office is.. 
Looking so small & tiny under the Tower.. 

We were ahead of our meeting time with Billy & Lishan.. So we went to the square in front of Eiffel Tower to take picture.. Frankly I think its quite a good spot to admire Eiffel Tower cause there is no blockage.. This is also where we sat later to watch the Eiffel Tower light show at night.. 

 I love this picture!! 
Mr Mah feeling tired already.. 

Finally it was time for us to go up to Eiffel Tower.. The ticket we booked online has a specify timing for you to get INTO the queue for the lift and the staffs are quite particular about it.. They will not allow you to queue even if you are there 5mins before your time slot.. 

 This is the queue for the lift with pre-booked ticket online.. 
After 40mins, we are finally nearing the end of the queue.. 
Did you see those ppl queuing below? That is the line to buy the entrance ticket if you did not pre-booked online!!

Upon reaching the 2nd level of the Eiffel Tower, my feet starts to get wobbly.. Please do not be deceived by your eyes when u look at the tower from below, thinking the 2nd level is abit on the low side.. I am glad we did not buy the ticket to the summit, I doubt I will have the courage to stand near the railing at all.. It is also a blessing that we did not choose the summit cause the queue for lift up there via 2nd level of Eiffel Tower is crazy!! 

This is what greeted me when I stepped out onto the observatory deck... 

Breathtaking view of River Seine.. Time seems to have stop for this beautiful city.. 
Look at how tall we are versus the buildings surrounding us.. 

And the camwhoring session starts after we get accustomed to the height.. 
 I took this without him noticing.. Quite nice right.. 
The lighting looks really nice & everything looks really soft & gentle.. 
On the other side of EIffel Tower.. 
Palais de Chaillot, quite a famours spot to take pic of Eiffel Tower
Finally a shot of us together.. 
One of the most romantic sunset I had ever seen..

It is totally worth the queue & wait to come up to Eiffel Tower.. The view is simply breathtaking & awesome.. Especially so during sunset, that explains the queue downstairs to come up.. The golden hue further enhance the beauty of Paris & gave it a more romantic touch..

After touring the Eiffel Tower, its already 830pm but the sun has not set yet.. And the highlight of the day is just about to start -- The Eiffel Tower Lightshow!!  We decide to go to the grassy area where we took pictures earlier to watch the show.. When we reached the bottom of the Tower, its already lighted up.. Words cannot described how I feel at that point of time.. I can just say, Paris really live up its name as the City Of Romance.. 

 Billy & Shan with lighted Eiffel Tower
Our turn.. 
Look at the number of people behind us, all waiting for the show to begin.. 

We waited for 15mins & the show begins on time @ 9pm sharp.. To many rational people, the light shows is just the Eiffel Tower blinking lights for a duration of 5mins together with the laser beam on the top.. To another group of irrational people, including me, it just make the night looks more beautiful with its sparkle.. 

Eiffel Tower before the light show.. 
Light show started - Can you see the sparkle??
 I still like to take picture in black & white in Paris.. Gives a totally different feel..

Lying on the cold & damp grass, enjoying the cool weather & the lightshow.. A sudden surge of emotions overcome me.. Its a feeling of blissfulness & peace.. Paris, thanks for mesmerising me with your beauty & charm.. I will definitely be back.. 

After the lightshow, we make our way to Rue Cler.. A frenz has introduced me a restaurant before I come to Paris & it is only 10min walk away from Eiffel Tower.. Along the way to the restaurant, we passed by a small park nearby & I took this picture.. 

Bye Eiffel Tower.. We will meet again.. 

Rue Cler is one of the best market street in Paris where the locals like to go.. The restaurant which we are going is one of the locals favourites as well.. When we reached there around 930pm, the restaurant is packed with the locals.. We are the only asians & maybe even the only tourist there.. 
The restuarant where I had the best meal throughout my trip.. 

We ordered a number of starters to share & each of us ordered different main course so that we could try more thing.. If I do not rem wrongly, they have different set meals everyday, do check it out with the staffs.. They are really friendly & helpful, whoever says French is a bunch of snobs & selfish people must have been down on their luck to meet those minority there.. And do order their house wine, its really good & we totally enjoyed it.. 

Our starters - Escargot, Chicken soup ( a tad too salty), Foie Gras ( Billy said tasted like salted egg)

Our main course - Pork Stew, Super yummy steak (how i miss this!!), Marinated Chicken breast with herbs & Spice 

We had a really satisfying meal at the restaurant & by the time we finished which is like 11pm, the place is still pretty crowded and its a Monday night!!! 

Look at how red our faces are.. 
 How the exterior of the restaurant looks like.. Looks pretty cosy isnt it?

We were lucky to get a cab back right at the doorstep of the restaurant & took us back to the comfort of our B&B in this chilly night.. Goodnight Paris.. 

1 comment:

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