Paris, the City of Lights. Half the female population probably (I don’t have the statistics) dream about going to Paris. Paris is still one of the most (I have the statistics for this) visited city in the world. Is this just because of the popularity of Eiffel Tower? Don’t mean to burst any bubbles but the Eiffel Tower isn’t all… well, whatever you dream it to be. I mean, it IS impressive, and it really looks pretty in pictures, but up close it’s just an… iron… structure. And all those dreamy romantic scenes you imagine would happen at the Eiffel Tower? Nope, only pedlars swarming you, insisting that you buy their miniature Eiffel Tower keychains.
That is not to say that Paris isn’t a romantic city! ‘Cause it is. It is a beautiful and historical city, but it really isn’t just about the Eiffel Tower. It is completely understandable that it is still one of the most popular cities for tourists, although going so far as to have the “Paris Syndrome” is proooooooobably going a bit too far. But before you get all disappointed, I assure you that your picture with the Eiffel Tower would probably look as impressive as all the pictures of the famous tower you’ve seen; Exhibit A:
So I should probably start telling this adventure from the beginning. In the middle of the night, a few hours into the start of a day, two girls (girls? were we already too old for that? whatever I’m going to let myself have this one) and three guys were wandering around the popular city of Paris, although the city was still deep in slumber. We had found out upon arriving at the Grand Mosque of Paris that the mosque only opens during prayer times, and had nowhere to rest while waiting for the sun to rise over the horizon. Left to the deserted streets, the two girls took turns sleeping sitting on some steps as one of the guys took off to explore and another decided to curl up and sleep while the youngest valiantly kept awake to look over the rest. At the first sight of light, the group leisurely walked over to one of the most anticipated sight in Paris; the Eiffel Tower, only to be mobbed by pedlars trying to sell souvenirs.
Where did this novel type of writing come from? LOL. Anyway. We then went to get another girl from the train station, evening our number – and a DSLR enters the midst (All the pictures in this post was taken by the talented Ain). Since one of us wanted to go to another city later in the day, we decided to take a Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus to quickly see the sights of the city. Normally I prefer walking and exploring, but on a tight schedule this would be an acceptable alternative. Upon seeing the Notre Dame Cathedral, the friend hopped off the bus, and the rest of us then took a train to (drumroll) Disneyland! It was a mark on our lack of sleep that every single one of us fell asleep on the train, and only woke up when a kind soul tapped on our window from outside to let us discover that the train was already empty. Thankfully we got off the train before it turned around!
The thing about a Disney-movies-loving girl like me, coming to Disneyland really is like living a dream! However, half of the day was already gone, and even though we literally ran from ride to ride, we didn’t manage to even scratch the surface of the enormous park. Two of the rides I enjoyed the most (not that we got to ride a lot) was the Phantom Manor (although not knowing French, the back story was wasted on us) and Space Mountain (which we rode twice!)
As we chomped down our dinner later, we were finally joined by the last addition to the group – Husni, the student completing his internship in France. We got a good night’s sleep that night (relieved exhale) and the next day Husni and some of his Malaysian friends in Paris took us to enjoy a sight for sore eyes and a delight to starving stomachs: a Malaysian restaurant! Those nasi biryani and teh tarik couldn’t go down more appreciative throats, really. That was also the day we enjoyed several attractions more closely, snapping pictures (almost) every step of the way.
Arc de Triomphe (Triumphal Arch) is:
- a monument to honour the people who have sacrificed themselves for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and
- the eternal flame beneath the Arc has been burning in memory of all who died in World War I since 1921.
Suddenly the heavens decided to open up and shower us with drizzling rain, thus we moved to one of the world’s largest museums: Louvre Museum. But of course, even as we were splattered with rain, we couldn’t resist taking pictures, most of which we later discussed giving hilarious movie-like titles to:
Inevitably, the rain eventually sent us inside. Of course, being the ignorant troglodytes that we were, we utilised most of the time inside to take pictures in the beautiful museum instead of appreciating the impressive displays scattered all around us. We managed to cover only a small part, it actually takes at least two days to really take in the numerous collections in the museum. Another visit to the museum is definitely on my to-do list. After revisiting Disneyland.
Even after spending hours gallivanting about the museum the rain hasn’t let up, so we left the museum to walk towards the Notre Dame Cathedral, browsing through souvenir shops along the way. The magnificent cathedral looked even more majestic and mysterious in the night, but there wasn’t much to do around, so after snapping a few photos (surprise, surprise), we headed to Eiffel Tower to look at the lights show, in which 5,000 light bulbs sparkle (definitely worth some “oooh”s and “aaah”s) for five minutes every hour on the hour from the time the tower is light up until 1 a.m., then we went back to get much needed food, rest and sleep.
Unfortunately on our final day the rain was still falling down without any signs of stopping. No one was in the mood to explore so we took our time having breakfast and chatting (I remember playing Minesweeper on one the computers for a bit), then stopped by the Eiffel Tower (yet again) to buy some souvenirs before finally heading back to Florence. However, the city has so much more to offer than the little we got to see, so a second visit to this luminous city is definitely on my travel list.