Return to Paris, France
Since I usually take forever to write blog posts on my trips, I thought I’d get this over and done with. After all, it also coincides with my article in The Bangsar Boy last weekend where I talked about what I think of French people (in general).
In my article, I mentioned a few not-so-nice incidents with French people that kind of put me off France. I had spent a few days in Cognac at the early part of my trip (blog post on that coming soon) and had a few unpleasant encounters. So, when I had left France for London to celebrate my birthday, I wasn’t so keen to head back to Paris for the last few days of my trip. In fact, I was dreading it.
Still, it had to be done and I’m glad I did. For one, there was that exciting evacuation at Eiffel Tower I encountered, no thanks to a bomb threat.
You can read my blog post about it here, where I shared pictures taken throughout the encounter, talked about my interview with the CNN and how the evacuation worked in my favour because I had a relatively easy time after getting up the tower (mainly because everyone left as they were not sure if it would reopen – or if it was safe to go up!).
I won’t retell the story. But other than the journey from the airport to my hotel, and then from my hotel to the Eiffel Tower, that was really my first day in Paris gone (I was at the tower for easily 5-6 hours!).
There were a few other surprises the next day but of course, not as dramatic as the night before. I have never head of the Love Padlocks but when I reached the Pont de l’ArchevÃªchÃ© near the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, I saw so many locks er, locked to the grill on the bridge. A quick Google check confirmed my suspicion, that lovers went to the bridge and put a lock there together as a symbol of their love. Most names on locks were just written with a marker pen, but like the one above, some were obviously planned! I liked it very much.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the weather. When I was in London a few days before, it was freezing (not so bad but because I was unprepared, didn’t have much warm clothes!). So I really enjoyed just getting a sandwich and sitting down on a grass patch.
This picture was taken while I had lunch near The Lourve. I didn’t go inside because I didn’t have much time (and it would have been a waste to pay so much, and queue for so long just for a couple of hours) so I hope to be back. The last time I was in Paris, I didn’t have much time either but my sister and I did rush in – only to take a picture with a (possibly fake) Mona Lisa and the statue of Venus. I was really hoping for more time but what can you do?
Surprises aside, I went back to Paris this time with a few things in mind that I wanted to do. The Lourve was one of them so now I wish I had planned for an extra day. Otherwise, I did get to see a lot more of what I wanted to but didn’t get a chance too back in 1997.
The first of which was definitely the Eiffel Tower. Many years ago, when we did a tour of Europe and stopped by Paris, the tour bus only dropped us quite a distance from the tower to get a good photo. My sister and I were adamant that we had to at least touch it, and we started running but alas, didn’t make it – we were only given 20 minutes to stop and running halfway almost took us 10 mins! I was really happy to be back and to manage to go up even. It was quite a sight!
Then, there’s the Notre Dame de Paris. I managed to see it last time but I was alone this time, and could spend some time appreciating the beautiful architecture (and wonder about the gargoyles outside!). I spent an hour or so there just walking around. I’m not a Christian but I love old churches and I tend to sit there and wonder what kinds of prayers people have done there, what have they asked for and which were answered. I’m strange like that. But I always find it calming in any house of worship I visit anyway.
I also went to another church, which I’m not posting the picture (they didn’t allow us to take pictures inside), which is the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) in Montmarte. I visited that church many years ago as well, but my memory failed me and I thought I only saw it from afar. Only when I walked in again did I remember. This time, when I walked in, there were a number of nuns sitting near the pulpit (is this the right term?) at the front of the church. Sound of Music filled my mind and I half expected them to break out into a song. Five minutes later, they did! The feeling was incredible!
But Montmarte was somewhere I really wanted to visit again because I really, really liked it there last time. And now, older, wiser and perhaps a bit more “cultured”, I wanted to see it again. I have to say I was a bit dissapointed that there were more Asian artists than French (but I suppose, at a tourist sight like that, the “real” artists don’t just sit out there and work on their wonders) but I still enjoyed the atmosphere. I had only one proper meal in Paris, and it was there – I had my favourite French dish at Au Cadet de Gascogne … the duck confit!
I don’t think I’ll be back to soon, but I will be one day. I still need to conquer The Lourve.
11.52am Malaysian time (+8 GMT)