After 13 years, Paris is as crowded, dirty, and expensive as my first encounter in 1998. It was the height of Asian financial crisis, rupiah was at one of its worst state, and with my dad, my Parisian two-days were the point when I felt like we were from a desperately poor country. However, I was glad to spend a night in Paris, to see the world-famous Eiffel tower, a glimpse of Arc de Triomphe, and a quick tour of Musee du Louvre.
Two weeks ago, I had the chance to revisit Paris. With Yoga, although Paris’ Metro and RER stations seemed to be filled with more beggars than before, finally I felt the romantic vibe of the city, which is usually glamourised in movies and pop culture.
We got up really early on Feb 11th since the train from Rotterdam was scheduled to depart at 7.58 am. Rotterdam is about half an hour away by train from The Hague, and to get to the train station, we needed to ride the tram for around 10 minutes. We spent the 2,5 hours in the Rotterdam-Paris train ride to eat our breakfast and sleep as good as we could on the non-reclining seats.
Around 11 am, we set our feet on Gare du Nord platform. Yay, Paris! Pity we were too lazy to get our camera to capture its old beauty. We went straight to the Metro underneath the station to buy carnet tickets. Boy, the queue was long! And after we got the tickets, we bumped into two very pushy beggars. Anyway, bad start aside, we used our first t-tickets to take the bus to Arc de Triomphe.
Then, we started to walk to the eastern part of the city. Through Champs Elysees, we passed the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais. We saw Charles de Gaulle’s statue on our way.
After we crossed Place de la Concorde, we were too hungry and in need to munch something, we decided to buy the 4-euro waffle in the Tuileries. It was delicious, but pricey. Then we walked through the gravel paths of the Tuileries and reached Louvre.
The queue for the ticket seemed to be intimidatively long so we continued our walk to Notre Dame. A short episode of lost-in-the-city occurred (as always), but then we bought a map and sorted things out while having a late lunch in Pizza Marzano.
Notre Dame’s gorgeous rose stained glasses was as beautiful as my first sight on them. The colours, reflected on the walls, were magnificent. The exhibition on the crypt, under the cathedral, was also interesting.
We took the Metro to drop our bags in a hotel in the 10th arondissement, rested for a while, and then went to see the Eiffel tower. Unfortunately, the weather was deemed to cold, its top was closed and visitors could only go to the second floor. So we walked to Trocadero to get a must-do for every tourists: photo sessions with Eiffel as the background!
(to be continued)