Sunday, September 23, 2012

Playing Parisian

I ordered a Blue Moon. My Man and My Tower

There is no woman who does not dream of going to Paris.  It is after all, cliche as this may sound, always been touted (since time immemorial)  as the Most Romantic City in the World.  And girls, whatever ages, are born romantics.

Ultimate Classy Shopping District of Champs-Elyssees
Since I was a teenager, I've always dreamed of roaming its cobble-stone streets (preferably in over- the-knee winter boots), stealing glances at smooching lovers,  sipping espresso in tiny cups outside a cafe watching chic Parisians, browsing through museums with endless collections of priceless arts,  and of course, the grand pinnacle of delights ~ Sharing a kiss under the beautiful Eiffel Tower.

Behind Richelieu wing of the Louvre

A Brassiere (it's not undergarments) but actually quaint French Restaurants or Cafes in upscale setting

3 kids and still felling like it's Honeymoon.

Yes, sweetie.  Dreams do still come true!  The City of Lights realized all the images in my dreams and much, much more!  It's beautiful. Classy. Elegant. Stunning in an understated way.  A Grand Lady whose beauty stands the tests of time and invokes in every visitor the desire to pay homage in awe.  

The River Seine.  Postcard perfect in any angle, traverses Paris into Right and Left Bank,
with a bonus island in-between called lle de la Cite.

Jardin des Tuileries, were Parisians chill out and catch the sun

I wish I can eloquently put in words what I have experienced but it will only be futile. Pictures paint a thousand words!  But then again, there's no match for actually being there ~ having all your senses assailed by the taste, smell, sight, sounds and feel of this French capital.

Tribute to the Pyramids at the entrance of the Louvre

Place de la Concorde, where they used to behead traitors to the Republic

Travelling always comes with a price.  As bad as it sounds, I sometimes wish that Europe goes into further recession, so going there can be more affordable.  :))  But then again, whatever mode you get into Europe, backpacker or middle-of-the-road budget travel, it is still costly.

cobble-stone road leading to Versailles

For us, we really pinched pennies for this once in a lifetime trip and consciously kept to our budget. Enjoy without burning the future!

Our home in Paris during our 5day stay was Pereire Arc de Triomphe.  A small bed and breakfast, short walk from Wagram Metro station and Arc de Triomphe. 

It's tiny and old as most Parisian hotels are, but strategically located and reasonably priced. Free Wifi only at the lobby. Breakfasts in most hotels don't come free.  They charge 10 euros per pax for a simple spread of croissants, ham, cheeses coffee, juices, eggs, yogurt.  We only had breakfast there once to try, and the rest of the days, made our own coffee and ate bread & fruits we brought from the supermarket.  Ain't that smart! 

Lunch is taken on the road, wherever our feet lead us.  Usually crepes, baguettes and paninis sold along quaint carts in most streets.

But for dinners, we splurge a little :)  usually in one of those French Bistros.  Wine is cheaper than bottled water in Paris.  Plus, you are spoiled with variety of choices.   Goes without saying,  I was walking around tipsy :))

Most tourists take the Hop On, Hop Off Buses to go around.   The buses stops at the major landmarks.  One can get a 1-day or 2-day passes.  A bit costly but it saves you the trouble of getting lost and commuting your way around.   This is perfect if you only have a day or two in Paris.  It's just breezing through.  However, if you are staying longer, you might not maximize the bus. Since, Paris is a walking city!  You will be tempted to just walk it out, or stay longer in some places.

But hub and I are adventurous.  We wanted to feel real Parisian everyday life.  We took walking tours. We used the regional trains, the Metro (subways), buses, even the eco-bikes.  We got lost, argued, found our way back, ask for wrong directions and the best experiences of all,  I almost got into a shouting match with 3 gypsy ladies who were trying to pick my bag!

Paris, being a tourist mecca, is also a hub of petty thieves.  Most my friends who've been here either have  an incident or 'almost' incident of being a victim.  I have thoroughly prepared by bringing, my ultra-secure cross body bag.  But once you drop your guard a little, these shady characters are just around the crowd to prey on you. Well, sorry sila, hindi sila umubra sa akin!  :)) Laking Quiapo and Avenida, Manila :))

Convoluted Map of Paris Trains.  Not for the faint-hearted!
Stroll along Ile de la Cite, the island between the two banks of the River Seine
Parisian "TukTuk or Trisikad" driven by one of 'em macho Bulgarians

It is impossible to see the whole of Paris for a week.  In fact, according to our guide,  visiting the Louvre Museum alone, and spending just 3 seconds for each display, will take you 3months to finish the entire museum!  It is that HUGE!

So, even before going to Paris, it is advised in the guidebooks to have your own Top 10 Hit List.  It's the essence of what you really want to see in Paris.  Otherwise, the sheer beauty of the surroundings can just intoxicate you ~ and you'll think you've seen the best, when the best is yet to come!!

Pretending to be Parisian :)

We managed about 9 of our Top 10.  Not bad!  I intentionally left that One, so I have another reason to go back! :))

Our Top 10  Paris Highlights ~  from The Eiffel Tower to meeting the Monalisa ...  (awestruck!!) and even venturing outside Paris to the biggest garden palace in the world ~~ Chateau de Versailles..... Up Next!
Yes, you know this place!  Feeling Marie Antoinette!



butterfly said...

c'est un beau blog!!! o ha. =)

i'm still dreaming of Paris. bucket list pa rin. naunahan mo pa ako. anyway, lovely indeed. kakaiba rin pala ang french ambiance. classy!
swak na swak the paul smith designed scarf and that prada-ish designed dress. rampa ang boots, of course!

and that's the beauty of never been to a place. oks lang maligaw, you tend to learn and be extra patient. nakakapagod lang to walk around, but still, that's the norm of being a tourist: walking, getting lost and carrying a digital cam & video and a tripod! plus learning to stray some thiefs. di ba nga i warned you din. they're everywhere especially the most toured cities.

kulang pala ang 1 day tour dyan. hmmmm...budget-budget muna. thanks for sharing. at least me tip na ako in the future. watch out ko pa your other parisian blogs.

Regina Glenda said...

Dream is not yet over for that little girl's imagination then. Yet to come is more grandeur....

RipeMango said...

thank butterfly. indeed, each country in europe has a different thing to offer. only 9hours from Italy by train, yet the culture and beauty have a lot of differences. Definitely, a must-visit for you, as well.
Everyone's in Scarf in Paris :) even the men and the little kids. I am tempted to pull aside someone, and ask, how the hell did you do that? andami nilang styles to don a scarf :)
Oopps.. u recognize paul smith ha. ;) didn't we saw one lady in Milan, airport carrying my to die-for paul smith bag? **drool**
can't wait to start the Italian Leg on my blog. But i'm savoring each entry!!

ciao, Dewie

butterfly said...

scarf-trending na rin here. malamig na talaga. yeah. a must 'yang paul smith bag one day. (medyo madugo' lang sa budget), and another one, the 1° Classe (prima classe) bag that we saw. drool! (kaloka)