Paris - The Beauty of Paris (28 December 2007)

8:14 PM

We started our trip at 7:30. Our hotel rate didn't include breakfast, so, we had to find our own breakfast. It was not an easy job. :)

It was not because our place far away from eatery place, but there was much restaurant opened so early, even on weekday. We finally settled in a fast food restaurant, Quick, opposite Jardin du Luxembourg. Even so, the waitress told us, the breakfast will be ready at 8:30. We had standard breakfast meal, croissant and cappucino.

We first went to Pantheon, which nearby to our hotel in Latin Quarter.
Pantheon in Paris is modelled on the Pantheon in Rome. It is now famous as a burial place.
Among those buried here, included Voltaire, Victor Hugo.

Paris was cold, especially in the morning. There was not much people on the street yet, so, it felt like a bit lonely.

Again we walked towards Seine River, towards Notre Dame. Notre Dame is on an island on Seine River. The island is known as Île de la Cité. We able to have a better view of Notre Dame during day time. Notre Dame is a Gothic Catheral. It is the catheral of Paris. The building is very grand, the architecture is very fine.
We went into the catheral. There were a lot of tourists. The stained glass was captivating. The South Rose window is the most famous. It was a gift from King Saint Louis. There were also many christianity sculptures and figures.

When we out of Notre Dame, there were smell of hot pancake. It was actually the famous crepes. Crepe is a type of very thin cooked pancake.
There were many stalls selling crepes. We just picked one with the most crowds at that moment. There were variety of crepes, Nutela, Sugar, Banana, etc. One crepe costs about EUR3. We ordered one. It was warming to have one hot crepe during the freezing weather.

We continued to walk around the Notre Dame. Notre Dame looks different from the back. The front of Notre Dame is squarish with two towers. From the back, the catheral looks more rounded with sharp pointing pillars.

We continued to explore the Île de la Cité. We passed by La Sainte-Chapelle and Conciergerie. La Sainte-Chapelle was closed. We couldn't really differentiate the buildings in Paris as all buildings are of same colour. We followed the crowd and took pictures.

We crossed the bridge into right bank. First to come to our sight was Place du Chatelet. It is a public square in Paris.
Paris is so beautiful and marvellous city planning that every scenes were like tourist attractions to us. We took a lot of pictures.

We walked along Seine River on the right bank towards Lourve. We came across the famous Pont Neuf. It is the oldest standing bridge in Paris. We walked back to Île de la Cité. It is the tip of the island. The area is fenced. So, you can't reach the very tip of the island, but it is very near already. Even at this tiny part of the island, you will see that it is well planned and decorated with tree.. bald tree though.
We took this picture at this odd position, thanks to a tourist we met, who was travelling alone. He requested us to take photo for him at this weird position. In return, he helped us to take ours too.

Lunch time was near. We walked back to right bank. We walked towards Les Halles. It is a shopping place. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from and most are reasonable priced. My brother recommended one, but we didn't know the location. Luckily we managed to find it. It is worth mention here, Leon de Bruxelles. Leon specialty is mussels, well, only mussels. Their mussels were very fresh and Brussels is famous with mussels, I guess. So our lunch was just mussels with beer, Affigem. Very interesting. It was not cheap though, the mussels priced around EUR10+ each. When the waitress gave us the change, I believe she gave us EUR10 short. So, our meal costs even higher. That's the only regret for our great lunch.

After a pint of beer and yummy mussels, we were a bit lost of direction. :)

We managed to pick up our steps and found our way to Palais Royal. Palais Royal is a palace and garden. The building, well, as you can guess, huge blue rooftop and beige in colour (as most building in Paris does). It was a palace which built around 1624. Now it houses Ministry of Culture, national library of deposit.

Palais Royal is quite artistic with the well design of buildings and spaces. There are columns, tall and short at the open space.

As most palace does, there is a huge well maintained garden at the back of the palace.

First we saw two rows of same height same width very tidy leafless tree on the left and right of the garden. The trees were so tidy that you will only see one if you stand directly in front of the tree. It is very well maintained.

We walked in between of the trees towards the end of the garden. There is a big pond and fountain at the end.

Leaving Palais Royal, we went to one of the most famous attraction in Paris, Lourve, house of Mona Lisa. There were more tourists during day time as compare to the previous night.
The glass pyramid is a symbolic of modern Paris, while the main hall shows the grand of Lourve. Lourve indeed lives up to its name of museum of art with its pyramid, triangle shaped crystal clear still water pond and the old building blend into a nice piece of art.

The pyramid is the entrance to the museum. You must not miss if you are a fan of Mona Lisa and other famous masterpiece. You will need money and time to tour the museum as there are a lot of things to see. If you are fan of Da Vinci Code, you surely will be very familiar with Lourve.

Opposite Lourve, there is an arc. It is the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. The arc was built by Napoleon. Walked pass Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, we come to a jardin or garden. Jardin Des Tuileries. It was one of my favourite place in Paris.

The garden of course is huge. There are two ponds in the garden, one round pond, the other octagon shape.

We loved the garden as it was very relaxing to walk in the garden. Nice scenery, ponds with ducks swimming, children were playing boats in the pond. Most of all, there were chairs around the pond for visitors to sit and relax. The metal chair is a bit slanted so that you can rest on it while enjoying winter breeze and the scenery. It was marvellous. I think the Parisian really know how to relax and live their life.

Situated across the Seine River is Musee d'Orsay which we gave it a miss as it is another museum of art.
We took quite a far bit of time relaxing and enjoying at Jardin des Tuileries. At the end of the garden, we can see Eiffel Tower. Unclear sky partly hidden Eiffel Tower made us more eager to reach Eiffel Tower.

Place de la Concorde is at the end of the garden. Place de la Concorde is one of the major square in Paris, and it is at the end of Champs-Elysees.

Place de la Concorde consists of the Obelisk and two magnificient identical stone buildings. Obelisk as shown in picture is at the centre of the square. It was a gift from the Egyptian government in the nineteenth century to French.

The top of the obelisk is a gold leafed pyramid cap.

The buildings and fountain at the square are also partially made of gold.

We walked along the river on the right bank admiring Eiffel Tower as it gets closer. We came to the golden bridge, Pont Alexandre-III.
There are a few gold plated sculpture. It is decorated with Art Noveau lamps, and there are plenty of them.
On top of that, at the far end of the bridge is Invalides.
Invalides has a golden dome. Invalides is the burial place of
Sky was getting dark. It was half pass 4, near sunset time. I was planning to reach Eiffel Tower before sunset.

We were near Eiffel Tower, so we kind of lose sight of it. Hence we lose our direction. We walked towards Invalides and trying to get our way there. We were near, but there was still some distance to reach there. We were tired and our legs were tired after whole day of walking. We cut across the small lanes and managed to see Eiffel Tower again.
While we were still on our way, the Eiffel Tower was lighten up.

I planned to reach Champ de Mars and then towards Eiffel Tower. But we reached Eiffel Tower much nearer and after Champ de Mars.

We missed the chance to see the beauty of Eiffel Tower from Champ de Mars.

Nonetheless, Eiffel Tower was very elegant, beautiful and attractive. We were very delighted to be here. Eiffel Tower was our main target for our honeymoon. We took a lot of pictures of Eiffel Tower, trying to capture every angle, every moment of Eiffel Tower.

After exploring at the ground, we decided to go up the Tower. Paris is the city with the most tourists. So, what we found was, long queue for going up the Tower.
There were three entrances to go up the Tower. All were with long queue. We chose the one with slightly shortest queue. Everyone mood wasn't affected by the long queue. In fact, it did give us the chance to admire Eiffel Tower from directly below the tower.

At the every hour mark, there will be white running lights on Eiffel Tower. It did lighten up the heart of many tourists.

After 1 and half hour, we finally reached the counter. To our shock, we were in the wrong queue. I believed not just us, but many also. It was too late to start queueing again. We were in the queue to take the stair case up the tower.
There are three levels that open to visitors. Level one and level two are walkable using staircase, while to reach the top level, visitor must take the lift.

We bought ticket to go to the level 1, which cost about EUR3.3. So, we proceed to take the stair case. We walked carefully up the staircase.
We were so happy when we reached level 1. There are shops and restaurant where can you can enjoy a cup of drink with the nice view. Level 1 is mostly fenced. It was a bit inconvenient to take nice picture.
Well, we determined to go up to the top, but we were reluctant to take stair case to level 2. We were trying to find way to go up. Finally we found vending machine. To our disappointment, the coin machine was not in service, only the one with credit card was in service.

I actually noticed there was a paper in the vending machine. I thought that was the ticket. And it was stated to the up for two persons. I was so happy and took the paper and proceed to the lift.

The guard didn't let us in, and he was not fluent with english, so, we didn't understand what was he saying. Later we found out that, the paper was not ticket, but merely a receipt. We felt so ashamed.

We went back to the machine. We waited there, begging those european visitors to help us to buy the ticket as our credit cards were unable to use. Luckily we managed to find one nice lady who able to understand english and helped us.

We took the lift to level 2. The view from level was much nicer than level 1.
From here, we were able to capture the City of Light from all angle. It was awesome!

It started to get cold and windy. We walked around level 2 following the crowds. It was very crowded!

Our final destionation, the top of Eiffel Tower. It was again, long queue. While in the queue, it was quite windy. Everyone was freezing. All winter gears were put up, gloves, head gears,..

We waited another 40 minutes before our turn to take the lift. We were getting excited as we approached the top.

It was very cold on top when we go outside! The clouds were hovering at that level. Top level was all fenced. During winter, it will usually unclear sky.
After staying there for a short while, we had to make our way down no matter how reluctant we were. We had to bid farewell to Eiffel Tower and headed back to our hotel.

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