Paris, here we come....
It was a short 4 days 3 nights trip... and the 4th day was actually spend onboard flight home! So it was a very short, hectic, tiring and hot tour of Paris. Not to worry, I hope I will be back.
We took Eurostar train from the St Pancras Station. The high speed train journey was pleasant and in fact we soon fell asleep to the swaying movement of the train! Inside the carriage was quiet and best of all it's air-conditioned. We had bought our tickets online and got our numbered seats. All passports and tickets were checked and completed in London before departure and we just have to walked out of the Gare Du Nord Train station in Paris.(which we actually did without taking any photos of the station !!!)
Again we have to say a BIG thank you to Diana for introducing us to her god-son, Alain who is residing in Paris. He has migrated with his parents from Vietnam when young and now is a French resident.
We contacted him before we came over to France and he had kindly booked for us The Ibis Hotel and arranged for his friend, Alex to meet us at the station as he was working that day. We have not meet either one of them and as we came out of the station, we saw this French man holding up a card that read "Alex" and we were sure pleased to see him! He can speak a bit of English while none of us can speak French. He had bought for us the train tickets and took us to check into the hotel. And he was our guide for the rest of the day.
As we only had some light breakfast at the St. Pancras, we were feeling hungry. So after checking in, we decided to go for our very late lunch first. This was just one of the many bistro by the roadside and boy, it was definitely good to have someone who speak their language to order for us!
Buckwheat pancake stuff with...
OMG, they are so generous with the pancetta and cheese....
a typical french meal served with baguette on the side.. just can't stop eating the bread!
graffiti along the road.. and the day promised to be a hot hot day....
beautiful landscaped lawns and garden... Parc de Choisy (1937)
This park (garden) is in the 13th arrondissement and situated on site of former gas factory. Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements (like districts). Like all French formal gardens, it has board lawns and long straight alleys of trees.
Notre Dame de Paris
The construction for this Catholic church started in 1163 and were opened in 1345. The architecture is French Gothic. I remembered reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo for school literature and now I am standing in front of this glorious church.
The western facade of the cathedral. There are around 387 steps upwards to the top where you can get a panoramic view of Paris and also to view the famous Bell and the Spitting Gargoyle. There are total of 10 bells and the largest named "Emmanuel" ("God is with us")! Gargoyle are half beast and half man statues and its a Latin word meaning "throat" and the role of these statues are actually that - they are placed aloft the church and served as a drain pipe so that rainwater does not fall on the stone masonary to damage the cathedral!
This is Alex- our French guide! See the long queue behind us, waiting to go inside the Notre Dame.
this is taken from the River Siene- showing the Spire and the east side of the cathedral. Notice those flying buttress (arched exterior stone supports) of the cathedral. The Notre Dame is located on the eastern end of lle de la Cite, one of the two remaining island in centre of Paris.
Not sure whether this is the north or south Rose Window...
Batobus- water taxis- a popular mode of transportation along the River Seine but it is more expensive than the metro.
The Petit Pont (a little bridge) a stone bridge built in 1853 connecting the the 5th arrondissement with lle de la Cite (where the Notre Dame stands)
Along the bank of River Seine, you can see many of these green shops selling posters, bric-a-bracs etc
Fontaine Saint Michel
This is a wall fountain and constructed by Gabriel Davioud in 1855 -1860 with 9 major sculptors who participated. The central image is that of St. Michael, the archangel with the devil underneath and there are 2 dragons spouting water into the fountain.
There are 4 sculptures of cardinal virtues above. These 4 are prudence (wisdom) holding the serpent and a mirror; justice with the the scale and the sword; Courage with the lion skin and club and temperance (self control) I think its a cup of wine?
Another interesting pediments/facade of the apartments. Paris seems full of these beautiful historic buildings/apartments and I just love looking at them!
Paul Patisserie established in 1889
The first owner Charlemagne Mayot came from a long line of farmers and his wife operated a small bakery near Lille (where you take the interchange train to Paris Disneyland).
Pierre Oteiza Produits Basques, one of the top 10 gourmet shop in Paris.
Free sampling of cheese and saucisson .
Saucisson is French dry sausage with its natural casing (normally pork intestine) dried for 72 hours and then age for around 6 months. We did not get to taste the foie gras though which is just as well too because it is the fattened liver of the duck or goose which has been forced fed (:
the piggy at the window display
The Panthenon .undergoing renovation to the roof now, so we decided to skip the place.
The Dancing Faun statue in the Jardin du Luxembourg
or Luxembourg Gardens...
This vast garden and palace was created in 1612 by Marie De Medici, widow of King Henry IV of France.
this balustraded terrace has many statues of the former french queens, saints etc.
One thing I noticed that all the trees in the garden are in alignment! Notice behind the trees is a gazebo where there are musical performances going on...
We too sat down to relax as Alex ate his cheese!
The hot weather was tiring us out and we did not venture to look out for the Medici Fountain as the garden is really too huge...and we decided to go back to the hotel
Vertical gardening! ...these are modern apartments. ....
Guess what is this?
We finally got to meet Alan for dinner at this Thai Restaurant which they frequent often. The lady owner was very friendly and in fact through her, we managed to book the taxi to the airport at a cheap price Euro80 for 3. The dinner was quite ordinary Thai fare.