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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Paris | Day 2


Welcome to part 2 of my Paris adventure post. If you've not read part one, click here.

Day 2 in Paris was the last day I had to spend travelling around and what not before having to take the Eurostar the next morning. As I've said before, it's a super short trip. Another regret in my life.

Anyway, places to go on Day 2: Musée d'OrsayNotre Dame Cathedral and a special trip to the famed CityPharma (plus a pop over to Pierre Hermé for their amazing macarons). It's a packed day-- read on!

First stop is Musée d'Orsay, which is accessible via the RER (another form of rail transport in Paris) or you can take the metro to Solférino or Assemblée Nationale and walk a short distance. I took the metro because my lodging was just a stone's throw from a metro station. It was raining when I reached and I walked around armed with my map in hand to the place. The museum is a revamped train station and you can see signs of its history in the way there is a beautiful big clock at the top. It's a beautiful place to house the great works of artists like Van Gogh, Cézanne and Monet, just to name a few. I had to choose between visiting this and the Louvre, and I chose this because I wanted to see the works here more. I shall save the Louvre for the next time I visit~

Outside the entrance-- I was there early!

I entered the museum for free using the 18-25 year olds long-term resident of the EU scheme. To qualify, one would need to have a visa and have stayed in one of the EU states for 3 months or more. It's a great scheme that lets you visit many of the museums in France. 

When I saw the works of Van Gogh and Monet, I was simply captivated by them. It's always amazing to see things in real life that I've admired and studied in books and Paris is a place that lets me experience this sense of surreal. It's like meeting a Hollywood celebrity while on the way to do grocery shopping. The museum itself is beautiful and you can see a nice view of Paris through the glass window behind the clock!

Inside Musee D'Orsay. Beautiful place right?
I would have loved to stay the whole day there just wandering around and admiring the works but time was short. I had to go to Notre Dame Cathedral while daylight lasts, which isn't very long in winter.

Next stop is Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, another famous landmark in Paris. As usual, beware of pickpockets though. I supposedly had an encounter with one, an interesting tale which I shall recount to you soon.

Notre Dame Cathedral, which has lots of Christmas decorations outside.
This is what happens when one tries to take a selfie with the cathedral. I did not want to risk asking someone to help me shoot a picture here.
It started drizzling again when I reached, hence the whitish cast in the photo. Not a great day for sightseeing honestly. Like I mentioned above, I had a close encounter with a pickpocket. Thankfully her scam did not work on me.

What happened was, while trying to figure out why my camera had suddenly blacked out, this woman approached me with a paper in hand. She asked me to sign a piece of paper for charity. By right this should instantly set off warning alarms in your head. Mine did, but of the different kind.  I told her: "Why the heck do you want my signature for?" while in my head I was thinking "this is a scam!!". Some guy came and chased her away and told me (jabbing his finger on my shoulder) that this is a pickpocket scheme and to be careful. Well, I was right to be careful of her but it did not occur to me that she was trying to pickpocket me, but that she was trying to scam me. Haha. Stupid thought process I have in my head. Anyway, like a good traveler, I had: 1. my bag slung in front of me fully zipped; 2: my jacket over the bag and 3: my hands pressing down on the top of my bag. I would have been a tough target since no way was I dumb to sign on a piece of paper for no reason.  And that ends my interesting short story.
TL;DR I thought some woman was trying to scam me but was actually a pickpocket. She failed and got chased away by random passerby.

Inside the cathedral were the beautiful stain glass windows. The colours of the glass adds on to the charm of the place without taking away the solemnity and tranquility in the cathedral. 

Check out the gargoyles too! This is the place where you queue to enter the bell tower.

After visiting the cathedral, I decided to check out Berthillon at 31 Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île for lunch, which was a 15 minutes walk from the cathedral. There were many shops around with the same name and I'm not sure if I went into the right one.... but whatever (I was starving by then). Nonetheless, I had the best sorbet ever and the waiter was nice!

Crossing the River Seine. You get a great view while walking too!
The journey was a beautiful walk even with the rain. The mood was just perfect for contemplation. It made me feel melancholic and peaceful.
Selfie attempt #2! It was cold and my cheeks were dry, but I wanted a picture with the Seine in the background. There weren't anyone around to ask to help.

My second proper meal in Paris in 2 days-- this was a lovely buckwheat crepe with cheese and egg with a salad that had a nice dressing. Delicious!
The many flavours of ice cream available which I could still decipher without having to know french. I got Pomme Verte and Peche Sorbets!
Nevermind that I was not sure if I was in the right place. I had green apple and peach sorbets. The sorbets were good, especially the peach flavour (peche) which was a creamy, icy delight. Creamy is a weird term to describe a sorbet but that was how it tasted to me. You can really taste the flavours in them and they're great and decently priced.

After lunch I went to check out the souvenir shops behind the Notre Dame. One must always grab some things for people back home to share the love. Kitschy but pretty Eiffel tower keychains could be found in every shop, but one shop really stood out because it had rose gold Eiffel tower keychains! It had other cool colours too beside the usual gold and silver-- it had a brass coloured one, copper coloured, steel coloured ones too. I got a couple of them, especially the rose gold ones because I know of a few people who would love them.  Plus cool magnets with pictures of Paris encased in glass frames. With not much time left, I headed to the metro and took the metro to Saint-Germain-des-Prés station and walked down to the famous Citypharma on rue du Four. 

Reaching soon~
I did not take a picture inside because it was cramped. It's as if the owner decided to squeeze as many products in one shop and there was only enough space for 2 slim people to walk in between the rows of shelves. I was in skincare heaven. You can get Biotherm, Caudalie, Vichy, La Roche Posay, Avene etc for cheap here plus other brands you've not heard of. What's more, the range is so much wider here and CHEAPER.  I left after 2 hours, but not without spending 400+ and leaving with 4 heavy bags of stuff. Check out the upcoming haul post to see what I've got!

The whole stretch of Rue Bonaparte has great shops to check out, like Annick Goutal and Pierre Hermé. I wanted to check them out but did not expect spending so much at Citypharma. Had I bought those in Singapore, I would have had paid a few hundred dollars more. It's a win win situation in a way. Eventually, I did go to Pierre Hermé for my macaron fix. People were saying that this was better than Ladurée's and damn were they correct. Especially their chocolate macarons-- they were to die for. They were also more expensive than Ladurée, going at one for  €2+. I felt so bad about my spending spree in Citypharma that I only bought 3 macarons....sigh. the quest for perfect skin can be so heartbreaking sometimes.

With my haul, I dragged myself back to my lodging, which took a while because I lost my sense of direction as to where the metro station was and had to ask for help. Let's just say the station was a lot further than it looked on the map I drew... 

Tired, I dumped my stuff down and feasted on my macarons for dinner. Got two kinds of chocolate macarons and another flavour that I cannot recall for now. The macarons were all so good! They were dreamy creations-- works of art. Soft and crisp without being crumbly, light on tongue and tastes richly of chocolate. Mmmmm....... but I only got 3. *facepalm* 3 macarons for dinner= luxury 5 star meal for budget, short on time girl here. 

Look at all these gorgeous beauties~
Finally, we have come to the end of my Paris trip posts. There were so many places to go and so little time that I really had to prioritise on where I want to go and see. It was a little sad to be travelling alone when there were so many awesome places to see, but I never did feel lonely about it until I had to eat, because I was thinking "ah how nice it'd be if I had someone to share food with." Nevermind, I shall be back again someday Paris! I still have got many places on my list where I want to visit. If you're curious on the things I got from Citypharma, check out this blog here next week!

Till next time,
El   xoxo

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