This was my home for 3 months. I came to know and love this place like it was mine to own. Although i only got to call it my home for only 3 months, i got to know the place like it was my home town. From your grocery stores to the hidden photo booths located inside their malls. Nimes, is one of the places i would go back to in a heartbeat.
During our first week there, we got to visit their famous attractions. They had this arena similar to the Colosseum. But i can’t compare which one is better because i only saw the one in Nimes. LMFAO had a concert at this Colosseum as well. I didn’t get to watch it though. But i heard it was a wild one because, like any other place in Europe. When there’s a concert involved… Drugs, sex and alcohol also is.
I found my soulmate too in Nimes. His name is Dustin. Dustin, the cruiser. We met at this small skateshop located at a scary alley. The risk was all worth it! I found my new baby! He was my ride during my stay in Europe.
Carrefour was my favorite place to go to. It actually topped my “Most Visited List!”
Carrefour is a grocery store which is a bus away from the place i was staying in. As you all know, i came to Nimes alone. I already did my own laundry, travel to a foreign country and slept alone. So why not push my independent skills to the next level? I went to the grocery every after 2 days or when my mini fridge would ran out of food. But i didn’t regret spending my money there. A bag of Shake (Salmon Sashimi) only costs 1€!!! Even a box of apple juice! But what kept me coming back is their Pain au Chocolat and micowable goods!!!
Although Nimes was my home for 3 months, i didn’t stay there. I was country hopping most of the time.
Europe will always be the way to go.
I’ll be back soon. x
My recap of Europe marked by little filtered squares. 1. Nimes view from the inside / 2. Heineken - The official beer of Nimes / 3. Walking the streets of Paris with PBE / 4. Steak & frites for our lunch in Paris / 5. My SNCF tickets / 6. Le Grau du Roi with the ladies / 7. A view of Monaco’s Beach / 8. On our way back to Nimes… First class chillin’ / 9. Red berry Mojito @ Stars n Bars, Monaco / 10. Authentic Filipino Food @ Barcelona (Sinigang & Sisig) / 11. Ferrero Rocher Ice cream / 12. Fresh Strawberries & whipped cream for meirenda @ Monaco
You can tag along by following @aikayamaguchi x
After cocktails at Monaco, we went straight to Cannes to visit my friend, Joan and Jalis. We arrived at Cannes around 10 in the evening. And the first thing we did was look for a hotel. But luck wasn’t on our side that night… All the hotels were booked. Even the 5-Star hotels! We kept on searching and didn’t notice that it was already 2 in the morning. We were wandering the streets of Cannes for 4 hours just to find some place decent to spend the night in. After walking back and fourth, an Italian guy approached us and asked us what we were looking for and he kindly presented his friend’s place. But we were too scared to even say yes to him. He was a stranger after all. So, we ended up going back to the train station and waited for a miracle there. Luckily, while we were talking in the train station, a Filipino couple over heard our troubles and helped us look for a place to stay. But still, all the hotels were booked because of the festival happening in Cannes. Thankfully, the filipino couple decided to let us stay in their place. We didn’t care if we had to walk an hour to their place. We were grateful just to have a place to crash in for the night.
(Filipinos are the best!)
With a couple hours of sleep, we forced ourselves to get up, get dressed and wander the streets of Cannes. And by wander i mean, go shopping. We didn’t know what were the attractions in Cannes… But the beach and the centre was good enough!
These were only the decent pictures i have in Cannes…
Again, we didn’t know what were the main attractions. But we had a good time shopping there! There were a lot of good shops. Too bad we didn’t have enough time to see each one. Hopefully next time i’ll get to spend more time there.
Stay tuned, fellas! More of France coming your way! x
Welcome to Monte-Carlo, Monaco!
After three connecting train rides and stopovers, we finally got to the last country on our “Hit List.” Yes, i was in the same city as Selena Gomez. Which wasn’t that bad if you asked me.
One bus ride will take you directly to Monaco’s Casino Square. The grandest place i’ve visited. The cars i’ve seen here were just to die for. Customized cars in the Philippines had nothing against the cars in Monaco! Well, no one could blame them for having such cars because they pay no tax for it. ( That’s what my dad said) But seriously, i think the main attraction of Monaco was their high-end vehicles.
Hotel de Paris. Looks familiar, ey?
I’ve seen this hotel a couple of times in movies. And it has been Monaco’s top attraction because of it. I think tourists were expecting to see Movie Stars coming out of that place. Well, i was expecting to see Selena Gomez and Justin Beiber. But seeing the hotel by itself was such a treat. I felt like i was a movie star myself when i was infront of Hotel de Paris. Because a lot of tourists were taking pictures of it while i was standing at the center. But unlike the movies, Hotel de Paris during off-shoot season was packed and crowded.
We stopped by Thermes Marins to enjoy the view and get some shade from the brutal sun. Trees weren’t really Monaco’s thing. The only shade you could find there are the shadows from the tall buildings. Good thing we got a spot to eat the strawberries we bought and just rest for a couple of minutes.
Palace du Prince is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. I wanted to try to enter the barrier. But i was afraid the guards would see me as a threat and shoot me down. It doesn’t look like a palace per se. But the building itself was huge and it is located at the cliff of Monaco. Which was great because at the cliff, you would see all of Monaco! Amazing view of the buildings, yachts and the ocean.
We stopped by this restaurant infront of the Larvotto beach to grab something to eat. Because we haven’t eaten breakfast and lunch. We were on a tight budget and the menu there wasn’t helping. But we didn’t regret it. The food there was simply delicious! The pasta was spicy enough to eat and the pizzas were perfect! The Ferrero Rocher ice cream was the perfect ending for our meal. Not too sweet and not too bitter. It was the perfect dessert!
After brunch we got to wander about and saw things that Monaco had to offer. Then had a beautiful beach with beautiful people. They had parasailing. Basically they had all kinds of water sports. I think that was one of their top attractions. The beach. Because based on what i’ve seen in Monaco, the only fun thing or sport you can do there is go to the beach and do all sorts of water sports.
Another tourist attraction of Monaco, Jardin Japonais or The Japanese Garden. I absolutely love this place. If i had more time, i would stay in this garden and have tea. They made it seem like the real gardens in Japan. From the plants to the pond with Koi fish. Everything was absolutely beautiful.
Before heading back to the train station, we went drinking with Annalee and some of her Filipino friends, Rayvee & TJ. They brought us to a pub near the Yachts which serve huge mojitos. The red berry mojito was my favorite. I don’t drink that much so i don’t know the difference of each. But this mojito was delicious! It didn’t taste like alcohol at all! But it had the worst hangover ever. I don’t regret anything. At least i get to be quite drunk while listening to my new Filipino friends speaking in French and Tagalog at the same time. How can someone speak French fluently and speak Filipino at the same time?! It really fascinates me. Wish i could speak French fluently so i could live in Europe and fall in love with the country all over again. :)
We only spent a few hours in Monaco but those few hours were spent well.
We got to tour and see some of the main attractions of Monaco. I got to see Annalee again. And we got to meet new friends with funny accents!
Last country… Done!
Stay tuned for a dose of France!
Finally! We all got the same days off!
You know what that means? Travel time! It was our third week in Nimes when we decided to go to Barcelona, Spain. My friends booked our bus ticket and we left Vatel around 7 in the evening to catch our ride at 8.
The “Linebus” to Barcelona, Spain took us about 6 hours. Inclusive of one stop over at some drive thru with a random guy asking you all sorts of questions. We arrived Barcelona, Spain around 2 in the morning. Immediately grabbed a cab, which was the bestest cab i have ever ridden on. I swear. Cabs in Europe are the bomb. Which explains the expensive fare that comes with it. Luckily our friend’s mom has a friend that lives in Barcelona. The fancy cab took us directly to their apartment near one of the attractions of Barcelona, Spain. We were so tired from our 6 hour trip that we fell right to sleep when we got to there.
Not wasting time and making the most out of our 2 days off, we woke up from our 4 hour sleep to get ready and got out of the apartment and saw beauty instantly. Like i said, Tita’s place was located near this Cathedral. This Cathedral called Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia or Barcelona Cathedral. I love how the people in Barcelona really respected the Cathedral. Even the tourists who visited the place respected the dress code. No one entered the Cathedral with an improper attire. And that includes us.
After the Cathedral, we went on a hunt of tita’s restaurant called “La Cala.” After endless searching and going back and fourth, we found the place and of course, Tita.
We got bombarded by food! From Paella to this dish we didn’t even know how to say! I swear, our table was too full to even place your hand in! We just planned to share one plate of Paella and Pizza. But we got loads of food coming in like there was a festival!
After brunch, it was now time to wander around the streets of Barcelona, Spain. Every stop, every corner looked like a attraction in Barcelona. We didn’t know which ones were really the “Tourists Attraction” So, we decided to stop at every corner to take pictures. Just incase those were the tourists attractions.
Now this is what you call a free country! Like Amsterdam and some other parts of Europe. This is what i loved the most. The weed shop guys. Not the sex shop. The weed shop was not easily seen and spotted. Because we like to wander about and get lost, we came across this shop at an alley. Although, rolling papers are sold everywhere, this shop was hidden from people who might not be that fond of the color green. I really do love the shop. From the different kinds of weed to the rasta feel and smell of the place. The sex shop on the other hand was located at the center of the city. Where everyone can see it. I swear, this was the first shop i saw when we got to the city square (La Ramba). Inside, basically, you have your sex toys, women’s lingerie, a 5€ private viewing of two or maybe more people having sex and your strip bar.
Museu Nacional d’Art dr Catalunya - MNAC holds the best view of Barcelona, Spain. But this place also holds the most sun & heat. People seem to like it though. When we were taking pictures of the view, there was entertainment right at the bottom of the staircase. Tourists and locals both sing and dance to this man who plays the guitar. Which was pretty amazing to witness and be a part of. Although we didn’t really understand the words that were sung. We just lived in the moment and danced to his strums.
Can you see this huge fountain behind me? That’s the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc. It is called the Magic Fountain because every night there is this spectacular water, lights and music show! We didn’t get to see and witness it. It’ll be cool if we did. But all we saw was still, life less water. If you search this on Google or any search engine, you would see the beauty of the show through pictures. Well, i did. The light installations was pretty amazing. Hopefully i get to go back and witness its true beauty.
Next stop, Camp Nou.
I was sort of disappointed when i saw Camp Nou. I expected it to be old like the colosseum. But it wasn’t. It was your typical modern building. This was my least favorite place in Barcelona. I am not a football fan whatsoever. And i had no idea that Barcelona loved their football team that much. Camp Nou’s gift shop was packed with football fans and what not. I swear, it was like a jungle in their. People raving over jerseys and gears. Well, i can’t blame them for being addicted to these. When i love something that much, i would buy it in a heartbeat!
Aside from the weed shop, Verkerke is one of my favorite shops in Barcelona. Their posters are to die for!!! I promise myself i would go back and buy every Audrey Hepburn poster they had for my future house! If you are planning to go to Barcelona and you love posters as much as i do, head on over to Verkerke. Located at Calle Cardenal Casañas, 10, 08002 Barcelona, Espanya.
Lastly, and definitely the best attraction in Barcelona, Spain.
Sagrada Família. This Roman Catholic Church, designed by Gaudí is simply breath-taking. Although its incomplete, his architecture landed a spot on UNESCOs World Heritage Site.
We didn’t get a chance to get in and see the interior of the Church. I guess going there in the afternoon was a bad idea. Because the line was too long and it may take up our “Barcelona Time.” So we just chose to take photos and admire it from afar.
After Sagrada Família, we went back to Tita’s place to freshen up and meet up with Tita for a little Barcelona shopping and dinner. The streets of Barcelona are surprisingly filled with Filipinos as well. And almost everyone there speaks a little Filipino. This guy from Foot Locker spoke to us in Filipino. Like, “Maganda” “Pangit” and other simple words they can easily remember. I got surprised that they knew words!
Tita surprised us and brought us to a Filipino Restaurant! I died!!! 3 weeks in Europe… I needed some Filipino food in my mouth. That’s why we got a little bit crazy when we ordered. From Sinigang to Sisig! And end it with Halo-Halo! That was the best dinner i had during my stay in Europe. Nothing beats the classics!
This building near Tita’s place had this huge temperature scale! Kinda cool if you ask me. We got to stop by this restaurant where Tita’s friend works. We got to meet the owner as well!
Barcelona tops my “Places to go to” list!
If only we had more time, we definitely would have stayed longer!
Great City, “Gay” (Happy) People and Great Food!
Stay tuned for the last country, Monte-Carlo, Monaco & a whole lot more of France!
During our first week in Nimes, we weren’t quite blessed with our days off. Instead of having 2-5 consecutive days off like the others, we just had a day off our work in Vatel.
So, we had to make the most of it.
We decided to hit the beach! The 1€ beach to be exact! Le Grau de Roi is a 45 to an hour train ride from Nimes. This place is absolutely perfect! Smooth roads for me to skate in, seafood restaurants, burger joints with hot employees who skate and of course, the narly beach!
One thing i loved about Le Grau du Roi or any part of Europe is that they don’t judge or discriminate anyone. They don’t care if you’re naked on the beach, if you’re fat, if you’re black or if you’re from another nationality. They don’t care. As long as you don’t do anything that could harm them in any way, you’re free to do whatever the hell you want. Now, that is freedom right there.
After having only 30 minutes to an hour of sleep in the train station, we finally had our well deserved rest in the train to Milan, Italy. Its sad though. We didn’t get to see the amazing views we passed by along the way.
As you all know Milan, Italy is another country and security needs to check your passport if you have the correct documents and if you are or are not an illegal immigrant. Its funny how my friend and i slept like we were hibernating. We didn’t hear the security while they were asking for our passports. They even knocked on the table just to wake us up!
Touchdown, Milano, Italy! First thing we did was buy a ticket back to the motherland, Nimes. We got to buy a connecting ticket from Italy to Dijon then Dijon to Nimes. Luckily they still had tickets available for us. After buying our tickets, we went straight to Burger King, Italy for some burgers! I was craving for it… And i also was craving for pizza, pasta, fries, etc. Yes, i am a hungry kid.
After brunch we headed on over Giardino delle Scienze. I thought it was going to be a park filled with Scientific monuments but when we got there it was just your plain green park. I guess the park is eco-friendly? I kid. But within the park you will see Museo Livico di Storia Naturale di Milano. Now this is where they hide all the scientific artifacts! From Minerals to Dinosaur bones! They did a great job in preserving all these!
Milan, Italy as you all know is regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world, along with New York, Paris and London. Most of the major Italian fashion brands, such as Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Prada, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana are currently headquartered in the city.
In Quadrilatero Della Moda (Fashion Quadrilateral) you will find Milan’s upscale fashion district and also the city’s most prestigious shopping streets! I swear, i could just stay there and gaze at the beautiful clothes and shoes. I literally fell inlove with Fashion that day. How can one place be filled with all the top fashion brands in the world? Just the mere presence of these stores made me feel pretty.
Took a break from shopping and site seeing and grabbed something to eat. We were in Italy for goodness sake! I had to try their pasta! And yes, it didn’t disappoint! I loved how their tomatoes taste like! Cooked perfectly and just the way i liked it.
After our little break, we went back exploring little Milan and went straight to see Piazza del Duomo. Piazza del Duomo or Cathedral Square is the main piazza of Milan. The piazza marks the center of the city. And located within Piazza del Duomo is the famous Cathedral called, Duomo di Milano. Duomo di Milano is the 4th largest cathedral in the world and the largest in the italian state.
(I absolutely love the gothic detailing of the cathedral.)
We didn’t get to go inside. I’m trying to remember why… There wasn’t any line. So i’m guessing we forgot to go in. Instead, we got to feed the birds outside. Which surprisingly costs a lot. We didn’t want to feed them… But this man came up to us and placed bird food on our hands. We had no choice but to stand there, like bird bait, and the birds just flew in, like piranhas. And after, the man was asking us for money for the bird food he gave. He was like, “I need to buy more bird food for my birds.” Hell, he doesn’t own those birds. We gave him .50€ and ran away. At least we got to take rad pictures with the “his” birds.
Last stop, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a covered walkway and mall that connects Piazza della Scala and Piazza del Duomo. Inside Vittorio Emanuele, you’ll see one of the premiere attractions of Milan, Italy which is the “Palle del Torro” or the “Balls of the Bull.”
Rumor has it that placing your right heel on the bull’s balls and then spinning around inside the Turin emblem, brings good luck. Sadly, i didn’t do it. Because no one was doing it. But i did spin around the place. I hope that counts as good luck.
After endless wandering and shopping, we decided to go back to the train station and just wait there. Because if we decided to roam the streets more, we would end up broke and worn out.
Again, we found a spot at the corner of the train station and waited for our train to come. One thing i hate about Italy’s train station is that it’s covered. So, it was a bit hot inside. That’s why we ended up buying a 2€ ice cream just to eat and feel something cold.
The train we rode back to Nimes was one of a kind! Instead of sitting the whole time, we get to have our own train bunk beds! How awesome and convenient is that?! We even had someone to wake us up! Seriously, Europe has it all! We weren’t even in first class!
We officially survived our “Backpacking” trip Part 2. And yes, we got the hang of things this time around.
Stay tuned for Barcelona, Spain - Monte-Carlo, Monaco - Cannes & a whole lot of France!
Second week, two days off. Its time to travel.
Days off here in Vatel are random. You’ll never know when you’re gonna get it. You may have two to three consecutive days off or you may have it separately. Luckily, me and my friend Clarisse had similar days off. I had mine at Thursday & Friday and she had hers at Wednesday, Thursday & Friday. We were suppose to leave for Geneve, Switzerland on a Wednesday night but my shift was at 5pm to 11:30pm. So, instead of leaving late and not catching any trains or buses we decided to wake up early the next day and try to buy and catch the earliest train going to Geneve, Switzerland.
We spent around 61€ for a one way trip to Geneve, Switzerland. We had to get down at Dijon, France and take another train. The total hours from Nimes, France to Geneve, Switzerland is around 4 hours max.
When we got to Geneve, Switzerland the first thing we did was find the ticketing office and buy a ticket going to Barcelona, Spain. Cus we plan to leave Geneve, Switzerland early and spend most of our time in Barcelona, Spain. To our deepest dismay, all the trains and buses left for Barcelona, Spain already. So, without thinking clearly, we asked if there were trains leaving for Italy, luckily there was a train leaving for Milan, Italy. With no hesitation at all, we bought that 80€ ticket going to Milan, Italy.
Finally, with our destination problems fixed, we left the train station and wandered around Geneve, Switzerland to see what was in-store for us. Like any other european country, the buildings were old and beautiful. People smoking everywhere and your not so occasional Filipinos were seen.
Wasabi was the first Japanese Restaurant we saw in Geneve, Switzerland. And at that time, we were craving for some Japanese dishes. We spent around 23€ each for our own authentic Japanese meal. I know its quite expensive but the food was delicious. It was the first decent meal i had. And they had to convert our bill to Euros cus Switzerland uses Franks as their currency. Which makes everything more expensive than it already is.
After dinner, we went to see the attractions of Geneve, Switzerland which was the Fetes de Geneve. Fetes de Geneve is is the highlight of the summer and draws over 2 million visitors annually. For ten days the party boogies on along the shores of Lake Geneva with carnival rides, concerts, food stalls, variety shows and parades. The evenings are capped off with a fireworks show sponsored by a different firework company each night. The finale of the festival is the sensational Techno Parade where each float is a rave on wheels complete with costumed dancers and pumping beats that always get the crowd going. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to see it. But what we did see was a lot of scary men coming up to us and asking us for cigarettes, people catching the last train rides & the train station closing.
We had about 9 hours to kill before our train to Italy. With no place to go we spent 4 hours in the train station staring at people who luckily got a train ride back to their homes or hotels. After 4 endless hours of waiting in the train station, we finally got kicked out. Apparently, train stations in Europe close after the last train leaves. We felt officially like backpackers. But instead of having backpacks we have our handy handbags with us. And the rest of it, was purely one of the authentic backpacker’s experience. Here’s why… After we got kicked out of the train station, we tried to search for a decent cheap hotel. Unfortunately, hotels in Switzerland were too expensive. We wanted to book one but we had 5 hours left before our train leaves for Italy. So, spending £115 for 5 hours isn’t really a smart move. Then we walked around Switzerland trying to kill time and met 2 backpackers who are killing time as well! We ended up, sitting outside the train station, which was cold as fuck. But the company was good though. Hearing stories from legit backpackers was simply amazing. This guy… I forgot his name… From Lithuania, has been backpacking for almost 3 months now. He has been sleeping everywhere. At the park, beach, train station, some random person’s place and he has been hitching rides. The only thing we didn’t get to ask was… How does he shower? The ultimate question for backpackers.
After endless conversation and stories of their travels, we ended up going in the train station. The railway itself was closed but the mini mall inside was open. We sat near the entrance of the railways and they continued chit-chatting there. As for i, i slept. My eyes gave up on me. And yes, i slept on the floor of the train station. I felt like a real backpacker. After an hour, i woke up with someone beside me… Sleeping as well. When i got up. I saw a bunch of people sleeping around us. We’re such a trend setter. It felt good seeing other people sleep around you. My friend and the 2 backpackers we met were sleeping as well.
Finally, our train had arrived. We immediately got in.
And, as the legitimate backpackers that we are, we took a shower in the train with only a sink and a hand dryer. We totally came out of the restroom like we were different persons. New sets of clothes, hair still wet and sporting bare faces.
I think we rocked and survived our “Backpacking” trip Part 1. Definitely a must try. I can finally cross “Backpacking in a foreign country” out of my Bucket List!
Stay tuned for Italy: “Backpacking” Part 2 - Barcelona, Spain & a whole lot more of France!
Finally, after hundreds of pictures, i got to choose the best among the best. Well, not really. Every photo that was taken in Paris was absolutely perfect. I just had to cut down and choose ones that would show you the beauty of Paris.
So… This would be Part Deux (2) of my France tour. (For those who haven’t read, Part Une (1), head on over to the vineyards of Bordeaux!)
Paris is totally the opposite of Bordeaux. That i am positively sure of. The people, the streets and the attractions. No wonder tourist can’t get enough of it!
We left Bordeaux around 8 in the morning. Had one stop over for lunch (my first drive-in in France, btw!) & arrived in Paris around 6 in the evening. As we were wandering the streets of Paris, the first magical thing we saw was Galeries Lafayette. With its eye catching lights and Karl Lagerfeld puppet windows… I haven’t seen the Eiffel Tower yet, but i fell instantly inlove.
After dropping of our luggage at Hôtel Voltaire République, we had dinner at our partner school in Paris.
Vatel, Paris was like CSB in a way. They had students greeting, cooking and serving the food. The only difference was they spoke french… Extremely well.
The food they prepared was so delicious that i had to taste the dish with shrimp in it. They served around 7 dishes of well-cooked food. Cheese was present. A whole meal of cheese. The only thing that was missing was wine. Yes, they didn’t allow that much wine . The only time we were allowed to drink wine was when we went wine tasting at Bordeaux.
After dinner, we went straight back to the hotel to get some rest. We were all still jet lagged and the 6 hour bus ride to Paris didn’t help at all. To add pressure, the call time we had the next day was still, 8am.
Day one in Paris! Before our 8 am call time we had our breakfast at this Coffee shop infront of our hotel, Cafe Richard. Instead of having your typical filipino meal, we had our typical french meal. I completely fell inlove with Pain au Chocolat. It is the best chocolate bread i have ever eaten in my life. The set breakfast meal we had costs around 3€ which is around Php 180. Not bad for a basket of different breads, freshly squeezed OJ and a cup of hot chocolate!
First stop, La Basilique du Sacré Coeur
This was one of my favorite spots in Paris. Just looking at Sacré Coeur made my heart skip a beat. Everything seemed surreal and absolutely beautiful. My professor made a short side story about Sacré Coeur. He said that when Sacré Coeur’s facade is white and clean, it means everything surrounding it is polluted. But when its facade is dirty, everything surrounding it is clean. Weird way to put things, but its true.
While we were chilling on the steps of Sacré Coeur, these “men” that our professors warned us about approached us and asked us for or hand. Scared, i asked my professor if i should say yes, so he said, go ahead. I ended up letting these men make friendship bracelets for me! They made bracelets on the spot! But the downside of this is that you have to pay 5€ - 20€. I paid 5€ because they told me the bracelets were free.
The road going to Sacré Coeur is filled with vendors selling trinkets and what not for tourists like us. So, while my blockmates were taking pictures and roaming around Sacré Coeur, my friends and i went side shopping. From Mona Lisa postcards to Eiffel Tower keychains, my tourist instincts came to be. Was hustling the whole time we were shopping for souvenirs!
Next stop, La Défense
La Défense is the major business district of Paris. This part, for me is the future-ish side of Paris. A part of La Défense is filled with protestors protesting for something important. I know i sound a bit dumb, but i didn’t understand any of their posters more so what they were saying. I’m sorry. But i’m sure they’re protesting for the right cause and the right reasons.
Beyond the horizon, you would see this huge monument that is La Grande Arche de la Défense. Which house two government offices. That explains the protestors located outside the Grand Arche.
Ahh… Hôtel de Ville. My favorite place to shop and what not. This place or district if filled with all things fashion and art combined! We first set sail to see Centre Georges Pompidou. While walking, i couldn’t help but go in each shop and buy! I found my “soul-wallet” in one of the shops in Hôtel de Ville, Tring and i also found this huge vintage shop called Hippy Market. The place was full of “to-die for” leather jackets and clothes you could possibly dream of! And we also came across a costume shop. That’s where we bought our hippie frames for only 12€! Everything in Hôtel de Ville is simply breathtaking. The street art, the galleries, the exhibits. The place left me wanting for more.
(For those who haven’t read my posts about street art and the galleries i’ve been to, head on over to Paris Street Art & Galerie Art for a dose of Paris Creativity!)
Where’s Quasimodo? Tales were in fact… True! I saw a statue of Quasimodo somewhere hidden in the facade of Notre Dame! We did get a chance to go inside, but i had to pass. The line was so long that it would consume half of the time spent at Hôtel de Ville. Besides, the gothic exterior was totally enough for me.
Last stop for the day, Bateaux Moches à River Seine and La Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower)
As you may have noticed, i was just wearing a dress with stockings underneath. It wasn’t in our itinerary to have this Bateaux Moches (Boat ride tour) of Paris. At first, when the sun was still present, it wasn’t that cold. But when the sun set, damn, i was freezing cold! The River Seine was producing fog by itself! The cold i felt was a different kind of cold. The cold that even gloves and beanies can’t keep me warm. But i think all that cold went away when i saw the beauty that is, The Eiffel Tower. The Iron Lady, sparkled when i saw her. Literally, sparkled. I got to witness the light show up close and it left me awed and breathless. Seeing it made everything surreal. I had to pinch myself to see if i was dreaming or not.
The Eiffel Tower was the creme of the crop, the icing to my cake and the cherry to my ice cream. I swear, it made everyone’s day.
Like they say, save the best for last.
The second best attraction in Paris was the illuminati which is Musée du Louvre.
Musée du Louvre was the biggest museum i’ve ever been to. We spent half of the day wandering just 1/4 of it. They had a map of the wings and famous artworks, but it was nice just to get lost inside Louvre. Of course, i didn’t pass the chance to see The Mona Lisa! That was my top priority! Half a day inside the Louvre made me artistic and shiii. It was a blessing to get to witness all of these gorgeous paintings and sculptures from way back.
While we were waiting for our blockmates to finish roaming around the halls of Musée du Louvre, we went roaming around the nearby streets of Louvre and stumbled upon this restaurant that served nutella crepes, pasta-in-a-box and huge sandwiches! We ended up eating a lot while the others were still busy taking pictures of the facade of Louvre Museum. I ended up drinking Red bull to. Which made me hyped and a bit crazy.
After a tiring first day, we thought that we were just having a chill second day looking at the artworks of Musée du Louvre… But we all thought wrong. We had to walk the streets of Champs-Élysées all the way to the end point, Arc de Triomphe. The walk was nice though, we got to see all the other attractions of Paris. And we also got to stop by the main shop of Louis Vuitton and got to shop at H&M. We didn’t have a clear shot of Arc de Triomphe because the roads were under construction and that would just look bad on the photo.
For our last and free day in Paris, we dropped by the Eiffel Tower to see how’d it look at daylight. Well, it looked amazing. We got to go to the top of it as well. You could see all of Paris plus the wind was extremely strong. Strong enough to push you down the stairs. Seeing all of Paris through the eyes of the Eiffel Tower was beyond amazing. It was one of those moments when you want someone to take a photo of yourself just basking in the glory of everything you were feeling at that moment. I really felt that, yes, i’m really in Paris, standing high in the Eiffel Tower and just staring to pure beauty of the city. I felt complete. Even though my hair was flying everywhere, i felt complete.
How can one city be full of life? I felt like i was in my true place.
Paris is and will always be the way to go.
I’ll be seeing you soon enough, Paris. Wait for me.
After the hustle & bustle of the city, i got the chance to roam around Paris at night taking photos of all things creative. I ended up walking as far as 4 train stops could take me. From Oberkampf to Voltaire. Here are some street art i saw (at night) check em out!
It amazes me on how Paris or France itself can freely express their art, not only through their great works seen in Louvre Museum but also in the streets and subway. You could really see how artistic french people could be!
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