Paris, ville de l'amour

Paris, ville de l’amour
A Youth Backpacker in Europe
Chapter V Part I

City: Paris
Country: France
Currency: Euro (€)
Travel dates: 29 Apr 2008 – 2 May 2008
Accommodation: Perfect Hotel
Travel buddies: Rahma, Saravanan

Caption: Arc de Triomphe

Paris, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Musée de Louvre, etc, Jiann Chyuan discovered everything touristy is a must for every virgin visit to the world’s most fascinating city, if not the city of love.

Caption: Typical metro entrance (left) and a must have Paris souvenir, they are really cheap!

There wasn’t any update last week because I was in Paris! Kin Fook asked me the other day whether I would give my winter trip a pause for my recent Paris trip. I spurned the suggestion right away. However, I reconsidered after that. And voila!

Paris is my most favourite city in the world. It actually already was before my visit, and it officially is after that. It is simply a metropolis, in the world where even if you are not paying a visit personally, you will never get away from the fascination of its charm. Why do you think it is one of the most shot cities in films in this planet after all? Not to mention how many appearances Eiffel Tower has actually made in movies.

I swear to you, even if Paris were to be a super dull city with only Eiffel Tower, I would be extremely enthusiastic to just stare at it and appreciate its beauty for the whole day without doing anything else. In fact, my 171 photos about Eiffel Tower alone in 4 days are more than sufficient to justify this statement.

Caption: Gare de Lyon (left) and Moulin Rouge

Including myself, there are so many people in this world that are actually crazy about Paris, one of the many reasons is of course not the notorious weather, but the Eiffel Tower. In movies, photos, magazines, posters, postcards, her appearance is simply dominant in anything Paris related. And to be truly honest with you, to just imagine myself getting closer to Eiffel Tower before the actual trip worth my insomnia for a few nights. To actually be in it, it kills!

I wasn’t staying in any arrondisement (district) near Eiffel Tower. Instead I was staying in Montmartre, the sister city of Amsterdam Red Light District, and also the arrondisement where the world renowned Moulin Rouge is actually located. However, all the sex shops and cabarets which prevailingly dominate the whole area didn’t seem to interest me that much. I understood clearly what was my heart was after in this trip.

Caption: My most favourite painting (left) in the Musée de Louvre.

Before the actual trip, I did try to imagine what would be my reaction when I finally get to see Eiffel Tower, for the first time, with my own eyes. But all the visualisations I had didn’t help in stopping me from panting heavily the first moment I had eye contacts with her, from Basillique Sacre-Coeur, arguably the highest natural point in Paris, and where the heart of Jesus is kept, I suppose.

It was the first day of my trip and I wasn’t really sure which direction should I focus in hunting down Eiffel Tower. Therefore, I was totally stunned when walking out from Basillique Sacre-Coeur after a few illegally snaps, while trying to grasp as much as possible the grey cloudy wet Paris, in a totally unexpected encounter with her.

I remember how my heart was beating so hard, as if it were going to break my rips and pop out from my chest, as if the blood in my heart was pumped with unnecessary energy and that I risk suffering stroke and pass out on the spot. I couldn’t really recall, but I think I did scream, in front of the swamps of tourists bombarding the basilica.

Caption: Basilique Sacre-Coeur (left) and Notre Dame.

However, I didn’t care about the embarrassment at all, because it worth! Yes, I am indeed fanatic about Eiffel Tower. She is really beautiful, with or without lights on. I would really suggest you to walk the staircase when you are visiting, not only because you get the chance to savour one of the most magnificent structures in the world with your foot steps, but also saves you from the painstaking waiting in the queue. It is cheaper as well!

Eiffel Tower aside, there are really a lot of attractions in Paris eyeing your money, but I am doubtful with the famous Musée de Louvre, and its obscenely well-blended pyramid. However, paying nine euro and get admitted into the world’s most famous museum, and trying to compete with literally millions of tourists, fighting for air to breathe, and space to appreciate paintings, and the chance of not being pushed away while you are struggling in front of Mona Lisa, is definitely not the best idea in enjoying greatest artworks.

Caption: Eiffel Tower in day and night time.

Well, it is actually not a good suggestion not to visit. Just to think about how you are going to answer when people ask you whether you have seen Mona Lisa in Paris. Musée de Louvre worth you days, but if you are just like me, easily bored after a few paintings or sculptures, one and half hour is all you need. It was exactly the time I took to pass through numerous corridors and aisles full with paintings before reaching Mona Lisa, and to get out again. Friction force with other tourists is one serious consideration in navigation.

Want more of Paris? Avenue des Champs Élysées which is less posh in my opinion compared to other shopping districts in this shopping paradise; Arc de Triomphe which is yet another most recognisable icon in Paris, and which took me half an hour wandering in the underground before finally realising the location of the first underground entrance which was right in front of my eyes due to confusing road signs; one of the world’s most well known cathedral, Notre Dame, which is also another hot spot for tourists, are a few to bookmark.

Caption: Place de la Concorde (left) and River of Seine from Eiffel Tower.

However, I was not particularly excited about all these, those taking a boat trip along Seine River treated me to all the most instantly recognised famous attractions, I was in Paris for some treats of movies. As the most mentioned city in films, Paris is really an exciting place for trailing movies footprints. For instances, Place de la Concorde as in The Devil Wears Prada, Gare de Lyon as in Mr. Bean’s Holidays, and Musée de Louvre as in DaVinci Code.

Yes, I am not the type of person that is actually literate in artworks, but to just stroll around blocks of identical Parisian buildings while trying hard not to step on dog shit, and to search for taste of movies are simply fascinating to me. What more can I say? Paris is simply a place for every type of person.

I love Paris. I am definitely going back to this city, where I fell in love with.

Caption: Are there really that many of art literate people in this world. At the right is Mona Lisa.