Saturday, June 11, 2011

11 Jun 11 – Day 9 (Paris)

Since today we were on our own so we decided to wake up a bit later than usual. Only went for breakfast at 8+am and we saw Cecilia. Asked her a few questions of getting around and also the hotel for Dubai. She gave us the reference number for the hotel in Dubai and then told us that it would be more economical to get a carnet of 10 tickets to get around. Told her that we would be going to the Louvre Museum today and she said we should have told her yesterday so that she could help us get advance tickets from Galleria La Fayette coz there maybe chances that we need to queue for two hours for tickets and getting in.

The family of 10 left for London and some of the members opted for the optional tour to the Factory Outlet, Notre Dame Cathedral and a couple of other places. We bumped into the family of four and an older couple (Mr & Mrs Tay). They asked where the three of us would be going and they wanted to tag along. So after eating, we went to check with the reception staff how to get to the nearest metro and were told that we need to take tram to get to the nearest metro station. So arranged with the family of four and the couple to meet at the lobby at 10:45am and headed out together.

Followed the directions given and found the tram station, Henri Farman. We needed to get tickets from the ticket machine and it only accepts coins. So we had to pool our coins together to get enough tickets to get to the metro station. Got on the tram and while traveling, we saw Pullman Hotel again and realized that there was a tram station called Suzanne Lenglen near it. Reached the station Porte de Versailles and went to the metro station to get tickets from the ticket counter. After that, we followed Kim’s lead to take line 12 all the way to Concorde to connect to line 1 to Palais Royal Musee du Lourve.

Alighted and we exited to the underground mall. The family of four went their way and the older couple followed us. Saw the place to get tickets and the queue was short but we recalled Cecilia saying that we may take two hours to get into the Museum. So we decided to go check the queue before getting the tickets. The queue was not too long and seemed to be moving quite fast and so quickly hurry back to the shop to get tickets and joined the queue to get in. Had our bags checked and then we were in. Went our separate ways with the Tays and we had a bit of a difficulties finding our way. Saw the pyramid and we took the escalator up and found ourselves inside the glass pyramid.

Finally figured out and we headed for the Richelieu wing first where we saw many sculptures and then followed by paintings. We took some photos while we walked. After that, we headed to the Denon wing and like all tourists do, we hunted for the Mona Lisa. Along the way, we saw people sitting down on benches to draw either in ink or using pencil. Some even brought their drawing stand and materials to paint. Finally found Mona Lisa and it was crowded with people. So could only take photo of it from afar. Last but not least, we went to the Sully wing and saw more masterpieces.

Some photos taken in the Louvre Museum :

We were done in about two to three hours and I wonder aloud why the queue was not as long as what Cecilia had told us. Then we figured out that we actually entered via the group entrance underground instead of the one on ground floor. Walked around the underground mall Carrousel du Louvre where I found Fragonard and bought perfumes while Kim bought bar soap. Then Kim went to another shop where she bought t-shirts. We went for late lunch at the food court and after eating; we went to take photos of the inverted pyramid. Mag saw a blue handbag in a shop that cost 300 Euro. She thought about it for a while before finally getting it and then we came out of the Museum to the garden where Mag found a bench for her to repack her stuff into the new bag.

The name of the food court

My lunch

After she was done, we headed to Notre Dame Cathedral since Mag has not been there before and we were hoping to climb the tower. Walked there, passed by Pont des Arts where we saw a lot of padlocks on the railing of the bridge. By the time we reached Notre Dame Cathedral, it was about 4pm I think and we joined the long queue to get in. Walked around and half way through we lost Kim. She messaged me saying that she would be waiting at the entrance. So we joined her shortly and walked around the area. Saw the queue to go up the tower and it was long and also I read that the tower closes at 5:15pm so we did not have much time for it.

Pont des Arts

Lots of padlocks on the railing

 Some photos taken in Notre Dame Cathedral :

Passed by a stall selling crepes with banana and nutella and we were tempted to buy but in the end we didn’t. Walked towards St. Louis Island and was trying to find La Maison Berthillon. Found it but again there was a very long queue so we didn’t wait for it. It was evening and we were getting hungry. Wandered into the 4th arrondissement but we didn’t see many cafes around. So in the end, we decided to take the metro to Balard station which is near to Pullman Hotel to go to the Aquabolevard nearby to get food before taking the tram back.

Got to Aquabolevard and we stood around to see the activities inside the indoor pool. Saw many people in there, swimming, playing water slides and so on. Walked around to decide what food to get and in the end, I bought a piece of pizza and a raspberry tartlet from two different stalls as dinner. Took the tram back, showered, settled down and ate my dinner while sorting out the things I bought. Kim came over and we discussed what to do for the next day. She suggested going for an opera show and asked Mag to check using her iphone. Turned out that the operas were either in Italian or German and they started late and would last for many hours.

Indoor pool in Aquabolevard

My dinner

Referred to the booklet that I had prepared for the trip, I planned that we could explore the Latin Quarter in the 5th arrondissement and so we decided to choose a place in the booklet to visit. We settled on Pantheon Paris and Luxembourg Garden before going to bed.

Thoughts: Well… This is my second visit to Paris and I was hoping to do the things I missed during my previous visit. However, I know how Kim works and so I kept reminding myself to take things easy and just go with the flow. Though we didn’t do much for the day, at least we enjoyed ourselves by walking and exploring at our own pace and appreciate the surroundings in Paris.

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