(Why) Paris is (almost) always a good idea

Bonjour Paris!

Paris. Paree. The city of love. Capital of Fashion. Place for pretty pastries (and tastes delightful too). All the quotes and media exposure of this city is the reason why people have such a high expectation of the place. Ooh la la, I’m going to meet my charming prince in front of some painting I barely understand why they are always naked, in the world’s renowned Louvre museum. Then, we’re going to take a ride on his scooter around the city, walking hand in hand at Jardin Luxembourg, having afternoon tea with rosé macaroons and Mariage Frères tea. At midnight, he confesses his love at the top of Eiffel Tower whispering ‘Je t’aime’ in his sexy French voice/accent and as our lips are about to …..Arghh what’s that loud noise, well perhaps the reality alarm ringing to wake me up from daydreaming. That’s right, that’s never going to happen. Unless, you are a really really really to the power of millions fortunate to experience that, then missy you are one lucky *bleep*. This, is why Paris is ALMOST always a good idea, with some dark side unknown to the world. Let me list all the goods, and tell you a bit of some mehh not so good.

1.) Living with a stranger

First thing first I’m the realest, drop this and let the whole world feel it. Whoops, that’s just the song in my head when I type the word first thing. Ok all lyrics aside, when you travel, the first thing you do is to book the accommodation, and I decide to do it through airbnb. Well, why not? I want to have the full experience; absorbing all the culture and living situation, what can serve my desire better than bed and breakfast. As I travel in Paris alone, I choose to book a place with good location and a female host (one of the safest and quiet area is 16th arrondissement).

All apartments in Paris require passcode to get in, how old fashion of me to be thinking they would use vintage key
Tadaaaa I’m in!
What a coincidence to have the building letter the same as the first letter of my nickname! It’s a good sign people!
Anyone claustrophobic? Tiniest elevator ever!
My Parisien home for couple of days 🙂
Not easy getting access to the wifi…

2.) Traveling to places

Now the metro, is something you can’t avoid using when you’re in Paris, unless you’re a billionaire who only takes taxis or limos, otherwise you’re stuck in probably the most smelly and dirty underground train station. But then, Paris metro is one of the oldest and busiest subway system in Europe.

Beside the smell and the hygiene, the one most dangerous thing is actually the people. Beware of the gypsy girls and guys! Fame for pickpockets and scamming their way for getting money from you. They are good at turning attentions to something else and steal your stuff. Some work individually, some work in teams.

Here are my recommendations

a.) Do not sign any paper

b.) Do not accept the rose if they offer you one

c.) Do not let them tie some bracelet on your wrist

d.) Do not leave your valuables on table even when you are just right next to it.

e.) Always keep your valuables in zipped bag AND make sure it zips up all the way

f.) If you buy brand name products, better take taxi, as brand name shopping bags can be attracting

g.) Basically avoid being near them

h.) Be attentive to your belongings always.

i.) Just stay alert!

Now for the light at the end of the train tunnel? In other words, the bright side! Well, it will take you everywhere you want to go! Plus, you can enjoy the metro musicians who play live performances in hoping you will donate some money to fulfill their dream. You will also get to learn their culture by observing the locals around you; teens with their phones, adults with their laptops, older people with their newspapers, the majority dress very stylishly sophisticated. No doubt why it’s called the capital of fashion. Oh and couples! Alot of couples, some holding hands, some kissing, some hugging because yes it is very cold down here in the damp smelly metro in summer! NOT. (Does my jealousy come out too strong? Oopsie) Well, it is the city of Loooovvvveeeeeee. ❤

Metro is short for Metropolitain
Waiting for the train

A single metro ticket costs 1.80 euros, or 10 for 14.40 euros
There are also 1, 2, 3 and 5 day passes as well as weekly pass.
If you are under 26, you can get the daily pass in discounted price on weekends at the station counters.

3.) That Eiffel thing

You can’t go to Paris and not visit the Eiffel tower. It comes together! Like you can’t shower with no water (this might explain the smell of some Parisiens actually), ok my point is you must visit. There is no reason why you shouldn’t go. The best way for me is to take the metro to Trocadéro station, walk through Jardins du Trocadéro and across the river Seine, while some may take the RER to Champs de Mar – Tour Eiffel station.

There will be many kiosks selling snacks; crepe, ice cream, churros, cotton floss, etc. as well as gypsies/african selling mini eiffel keychains and other souvenirs.

The queue line to go up the Eiffel will be long no matter what time it is of the day, so be sure to get there in advance. (Check at their official site for the price tickets)

This is it.
Live performance to entertain the crowd
Walking down Trocadero garden
How ‘Paris’ is this photo
Getting close
View from under the tower
Architectural wonders when you look up
Pretzel and Eiffel… almost rhymess :p

4.) Most famous shopping avenue in the world, Champs-Élysées

Don’t be surprise if you see many Chinese or Asian tourists in front of luxury brand name shops. Other than that it is quite crowded full of locals and tourists. Spot the locals by the ones who usually smoke, or dress sophisticatedly, or easiest…speak french..duh.

Squishy squashy your way out of the crowd
Standing in the middle of the road
View from the next destination

5.) The most famous Arc…Arc de triomphe

Highly recommend this place for a great view of Paris, while enjoy shopping on the way. You can come by walking through Champs Élysées or Metro Charles de Gaulle-Etoile station.

Right center of the Arc and the Road!
Arc de triomphe is at the center of the roundabout, you will have to walk under the tunnel to get there
Honoring those who served the country during the first French Empire and the French revolution. Underlined names are thise who got killed during time served.
Paying respect
Better warm up before climbing up the spiral staircase. It goes on and on and on and on…
One side of the arc is to go up, and one to come down.

Ready for the view? It’s a 360 view from up here and it is Magnifique!!

Stop and Stare
Nothing stands out more than that thing.. what’s it called again? :p

6.) The white church Sacré-Cœur 

Sacré-Cœur or the Basilica of the sacred heart of Paris is a roman Catholic church, its white appearance sure makes it more appealing from standing right at the top of the montmartre hill. No wonder why it’s a popular site for tourists as well as a hangout place for the locals. In addition, popular for gypsies and african scammers as well, so beware.

Elegantly locate at the hill top
View from the top
This guy knows how to chill
Few years back he was performing at this pole, now? still here!

7.) Black white stripe columns at Palais Royal

Definitely one of a kind courtyard with 280 Black-white stripes column. Next to it is also the famous Palais Royal garden.

Very near to the Louvre
Very inspiring
Columns come in different height
So picturesque
Can also be children’s playground
Birdie sure knows how to pick a place

8.) Mona lisa’s home… the Louvre

The most famous museum in the world where all the artsies collide. The ticket is 15 euros, unless you are under 18, or if you’re 18-25 years old EU residents, it’s free!

Sign you will see when you walk up from the metro
Getting the artsy vibe?
The louvre pyramidd!!
Also a common place for pre-wedding photos
See the rows of statues? These are statues of the french scholars and other academics that play a part of the french history.
Police on skates! Don’t mess with them.

9.) Popular garden for fashion shows… Tuileries

Jardin des Tuileries is definitely one of the top garden in Paris. It wouldn’t host so much events and fashion show otherwise.

If you walk from the Louvre to Tuileries garden you will see Arc du Caroussel.

Arc du Caroussel so grandeur
Chill under the tree
Old couple walk hand in hand..awwww
Have some rose-shaped gelato in the sun
Chill around the fountain
Anyone wanna sunbathe with a view of Eiffel?

10.) Love lock bridge

Love is in the air, everywhere in this city! Lovers can’t miss this bridge, Pont des arts. The holy bridge where people believe their love will last forever if they ‘lock’ their love here. However nowadays, due to many love locks from couples around the world, it causes damage to the bridge that they have to actually remove most of the locks.  (i once read a comment regarding this sad event ‘ oh no there’s gonna be lots of divorces’ lol) All jokes aside, love doesn’t depend on the survival of these keys.. it’s between 2 people! That’s all it matters ❤

From the metro you can stroll along the Seine river to go to the bridge
Wooden panel to prevent people from putting keylocks on the bridge
And obviously people graffiti all over the panels
Don’t worry tons are still there
Don’t think i can squeeze mine in anyway if i wanted to

11.) The real Notre Dame of The Hunchback of Notre dame

One of the largest religious buildings in the world, and even prettier in real life. The day I visit this famous cathedral, they happen to host the Bread festival 2015 or La Fête du Pain 2015. This year they celebrate the 20th anniversary of the event under the theme of ‘bread and children.’ No wonder why there are so many snacks! The event is held for a chance to meet the bakers and see the baking process, as well as an opportunity to recruit new bakers. Win-win situation, as they get jobs, I get to eat freshly baked pastries.

Looks majestic even from afar
Ooohhh what event are they having?
You can see the process from dough to freshly baked
No wonder why it feels so hot in here.. keeping the temp high in here
Look at all the snacks i don’t even know what to call! i only know croissant! (Sorry, limited french vocabulary knowledge)
Food in the air, Cathedral’s right there… (just trying to make it rhyme :p)
Screen shot 2015-08-24 at 10.56.10 PM
Never forgetting this moment

12. It’s a castle and a palace! Elegance is an understatement! It’s Château de Versailles!

But…there’s so much to see and talk about, so stay tuned for the next blog! While you wait, here’s a little glimpse. You’re welcome!

Screen shot 2015-08-27 at 12.31.40 PM
Imagine living here…

Overall from travelling alone in Paris, which is most of the time because my friend is not available.This makes a lot of difference. When I have a friend, I feel much safer. When I travel alone, it’s a whole new world. Pretty much like Jasmine in Aladdin when she comes out of the safety zone-palace and into the market place where Aladdin lives. Major insecurities issue, every second is a second of fear, people shouting or some stranger come up and talk to you if you want any help (seeing i’m asian = tourist). On the other hand, there are plus sides on travelling alone; you see more, you hear more, you pay more attention and actually learn more about the places and culture. In a city like this? So much inspirations! Little tips, listen to classical music while you walk around Paris!!

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