Saturday, January 18, 2014

Europe pre-wedding trip Day 13 (Paris)


Itinerary of today:
breakfast @train
Chateau de Versailles 
Port Alexandre III 
Musee de l'Armee Invalides 
Rue Cler  
picnic @Champ- de- Mars 
Eiffel Tower 
Arc de Triomphe 
Avenue des Champs- Elysees
dinner @apartment

Woke up at 8a.m. and we were not able to cook our own breakfast. Gotta take a long trip to Chateau de Versailles, so just bought a sandwich and a big cup of yogurt (EUR12) and had them on the train. 

From Rambuteau, we needa take the metro to Gare Saint- Lazare then changed train to Versailles- Rive Droite. (EUR4.1) From there we got the direction from staff in the train station. They got a handy map for us and told us it was like 20 minutes walk away. It wasn't a heck to us even we got the wrong way and finally reached there in more than half an hour. The quite street with trees along the way and nice sunshine did't bother us too much.

It was a weekday and we couldn't believe that there were already crowds of people queuing up out there. Can't imagine what would happen if we go at the weekend. Even we got our museum pass, (EUR18, free with Paris Museum Pass) we had no advance access and it took us another hour to get inside. We went through the security check and dropped our camera stand at the consigne (free) as it was not allowed to be taken inside. 

Château de Versailles is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years. There are 4 major areas in Chateau de Versailles, The Palace, The Garden, The Grand Trianon and Marie-Antoinette's Estate. 

We first stopped at the gallery, which is located at the start of the Grand Apartments tour. From that we got more ideas on Versailles' complex topography and history with its three palaces and gardens

And later, of course, were the apartments of Kings and Queens staying in this magnificent palace. To be frank, it was way too much for me to remember all those names. All I could recall was how grand and finely decorated they were.

The Grande Galerie was served daily as a passageway and a waiting and meeting place, frequented by courtiers and the visiting public. It is also known as the Hall of Mirrors. (should be a place surrounded by lots of mirrors according to the name)

Things in The Grand Trianon and Marie-Antoinette's Estate were quite similar to us with many look alike apartments, so we decided to get out of the buildings and got some fresh air in the gardens. 

From the central window of the Hall of mirrors the visitors look down on the grand perspective that leads the gaze from the Water Parterre to the horizon. This original perspective, which preceded the reign of Louis XIV, was developed and prolonged by the gardener André Le Nôtre by widening the Royal Path and digging the Grand Canal. But from my perspective, it was only a big garden (even I love greens) with endless walk. (provided that we ate a few only since the train trip!)

Made our way back to the train station and bought some pastries to stuff our tummy. (EUR5.5)

From Versailles- Rive Droite, we headed to Champs- Elysees Clemenceau, interchanging at La Defense Station. 

From there, we left our footprints on Port Alexandre III. It is an ornate, extravagant arch bridge that connects the Champs-Élysées quarter and the Invalides and Eiffel Tower quarter, and is classified as a historical monument. 

Saw Musee de l'Armee Invalides (EUR8, free with Paris Museum Pass) far from the end of the bridge. (Really far! We saw that and thought we were close, but it took us 15 minutes walk on a straight road) It was really interesting as we were both not interested in armed force stuff but we kept looking at the collections and stayed there for an hour!

All the way we went to Rue Cler to see the Parisian-style neighborhood. With this cute street, it substantially bumped up my appreciation of local street markets of Paris. Didn't get bored at all in this short yet fascinating street with all those fruits, cheese, fish, meat, flowers and at the same time cute restaurants. We made some stops in a couple of shops and bought a small grilled chicken (EUR6.5) some drinks and chips (EUR7.4) and got ready for our 'luxurious' picnic time under the Effiel Tower.

It took us like another half an hour to walk to Champ- de- Mars. By there, we found a nice place for our 'big feast'. There were many local people, some lying on the grass reading their favourite books, some chit-chatting with their friends, some cuddling their loved ones (including their partners or their babies)... seldom see this happened or do this in Hong Kong with everybody is gonna use this precious time working instead of relaxing in the park. But now I did it! Can't explain how good I felt! Should definitely do this more often when I get back to Hong Kong. 

After all, we took tones of pictures in front of the lovely Eiffel Tower like crazy. (Yes! We flew all the way here actually because of that) Some people were laughing at how crazy we were, some thought that we were sweet (I could tell from their eyes). We didn't care too much, mainly because we were tourists and no one even knew us.

Got closer to the Eiffel Tower and got some more snaps. Gosh! It really looked romantic! 

Didn't go up the Eiffel Tower as the queue was way too long. Plus we could get a nice view from Arc de Triomphe, we did't want to waste much time in the line. 

Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

We went up to the top (EUR9.5, free with Paris Museum Pass). Didn't quite remember how many stairs were there until we reached the top. I could only remember that's quite a lot, which made my legs felt senseless. But it worth as the view from there was exceptionally great! 

To end our day, we decided to walk along Avenue des Champs- Elysees, a street which is so famous for its luxury specialty shops. (Is that just Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong?) It was so crowded and seeing all those rich people buying expensive goods was boring, we tried to do some window shopping as well.

Finally, we both agreed that we should go back to our apartment resting instead of doing window shopping. We took the metro back to Rambuteau. (2 tickets)

Went to a supermarket nearby and bought lots of stuff: box tissues, a few packs of spaghetti, a loaf of bread, a dozen of eggs, a pack of sausages, a bottle of Nutella, some veggies, a canned soup and some fruits. They only cost us like less than EUR20. (of course we pick those cheap brands) The living standard in Paris is actually not much different from Hong Kong.

And tonight, we made spaghetti and veggies on our own, saving some money for a big seafood feast that I found attractive online. (Yes, in Chinese, we usually say that's 'a spoon of sugar and a spoon of shit')

Total expenses for 2 =EUR69.1
breakfast @train                        EUR12
Train                                        EUR4.1 X2 =EUR8.2
Chateau de Versailles                 pass (saved EUR18/ person)
Pastry                                       EUR5.5
Port Alexandre III                       /
Musee de l'Armee Invalides          pass (saved EUR8/ person)
Grilled chicken + snacks + drinks  EUR6.5 + EUR7.4
Rue Cler                                    /
picnic @Champ- de- Mars             /
Eiffel Tower                               /
Arc de Triomphe                         pass (saved EUR9.5/ person)
Avenue des Champs- Elysees       /
dinner @apartment                     EUR20


  1. Hello Ivy, beautiful photos from Paris! Asian people is hard-working people, oh yes you must more relax, less working- more living! Thats my assertion.. (。´∀`)ノ

    1. You are so right! If you come to Hong Kong,you will know how fast the pace of this exciting city is and how stressed people working everyday!