Sunday, June 12, 2011

12 Jun 11 – Day 10 (Paris)

As per the day before, we woke up late and had breakfast late. As the checkout time was 10am, we only went out after checking out and putting our luggage in the hotel storage room. Took tram and connected a metro to Cardinal Lemoine station and used the map to find Pantheon Paris. Passed by Saint-Étienne-du-Mont and wanted to go in but there was a sign that said no entry on Sunday morning. So moved on to find Pantheon Paris and we found it. Took some photos of the Pantheon, the Pantheon-Assas Paris II University and Mairie of the 5th district (building that houses the Municipal Services of the 5th district) nearby in the open space outside the Pantheon before getting tickets to go in. The website stated 7 Euro but we ended up paying 8 Euro so I guessed the website wasn’t updated.


Pantheon, Paris

Mairie of the 5th district

Pantheon-Assas Paris II University

Open space in front of Pantheon, Paris

Saw a sign saying that visitors could go up the building for a panoramic view of Paris and so we decided to first walk around the building before queuing to go up. I’m not good at appreciating architecture so I could only describe Pantheon Paris as very big with very tall pillars, a big pendulum in the center hall, sculptures and paintings at the sides, lots of skylights and I particularly like the fact that it doesn’t have too many strong colors like those in Palace of Versailles.

Some photos of the Pantheon, Paris :

Headed to the crypt and the first thing we saw was Voltaire's statue and tomb, tried to take photos but didn’t come out well. There were some rooms that were empty with doors closed and locked. Mag asked me if those were meant for people to sleep in and I couldn’t remember if I replied to her that they were meant to put coffins. Walked further in and saw other rooms that were opened and some were beautifully decorated. If I recalled correctly, I thought I pass by one that has Marie Curie and there were flowers on her grave. A Caucasian lady was inside taking photos and so I didn’t have a chance.

Came out of the crypt and we went to queue up to go up the building. Each session only allows a maximum of 50 persons. There were two guides, one leading and one at the end to make sure no one was left behind. We first made a stop to the top of the hall within the building before climbing more steps to get to the top and more steps before reaching the dome. We climbed a total of 206 steps but the view offered was great and we saw Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Notre Dame Cathedral and if I’m not wrong, Basilica of the Sacré Cœur as well. Walked round the dome, taking photos for each other before gathering together to go back down.

Some photos taken during the trip up Pantheon, Paris for panoramic view of Paris :


Reached the ground floor and we headed out to hunt for lunch. Crossed the road and we saw a café called Crepe A Gogo so we went in, found a table and placed our orders. Mag and I had sweet crepes while Kim had savory one. Food was good and I don’t remember eating in a café in Paris during my previous visit. After eating, we followed the map to Luxemburg Garden and along the way passed by souvenir shop where Kim and I bought t-shirts, magnet and coasters. Shortly after we stepped into Luxemburg Garden, we saw a school band performing and there were lots of people sitting on the chairs provided or standing around to watch the performance.

Inside Crepe A Gogo

School band performing
My lunch - La Belle Helene

The audience

Performance ended and we continued to walk around. The garden was huge and we saw a very big, pool where there were ducks, kids playing with toy yachts, people sitting around it on chairs provided doing reading or just chit-chatting in front of the Luxembourg Palace. On the other side were big patches of grassland and there were lots of people sitting on their picnic mats lazing around. Walked on and saw a group of people practicing martial arts I think. We saw playground, tennis court and an open space where kids could rent cars to cycle about. If only there were such big, big gardens back home. The garden was so huge that we didn't really cover the whole place or see the Luxembourg Palace.

Some photos taken while in the Luxembourg Garden :

Left Luxemburg Garden and headed to Galleria La Fayette Montparnasse. The night before Kim was saying that this was the one we went on the first day and I was in doubt. Found it and it looked awfully quiet and very different from the one we saw. Only then we realized that the one we went was Galleria La Fayette Paris, the flagship store and because it was Sunday, the store was closed. So walked around the area to see if there was anything interesting and saw some tents along a road. Browsed around and saw many people selling their artworks such as paintings, handmade jewelry and so on.

Done with that and we didn’t know where else to go and we still had a couple of hours left. Suggested that we find a place to drink something and people watch but Mag suggested that we take the tram from one end to the other. Kim preferred to be on the move so she opted for Mag’s suggestions. So found the nearest metro station to get to tram 2. We didn’t manage to sit to the end coz of time constrain and so turned back after a few stops to get back to the hotel. Got back, claimed our luggage, did some repacking and then waited for the coach to bring us to the airport.

Traffic was rather smooth, reached airport and did our check-in before hunting for food. Kim and Mag shared nine chicken wings while I had potato wedges and a drink. Soon it was time to board the plane to fly to Dubai.

Light meal before boarding

Thoughts: My second time to Paris and only managed to do a bit more of what I intended to do the previous round. Nevertheless, I learnt to take things in my stride, explore at my own pace and appreciate Paris more. At least I got to eat in a café this time. I hope to return to Paris again to do more exploration and it would be good if I get to spend more days there.

No comments: