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Travelogue: Paris (5-9 June 2010)

6 Jun 10: Our first day in Paris, a visit at Louvre Mhttps://pampam81.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/travelogue-paris-5-9-june-2010/useum

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Saturday, 5 Jun 10 Singapore
SQ334 Depart Singapore T3, 23:40
Seats: 76H, 76K, 77H, 77K, 76G (A380 upper deck, economy class)

Sunday, 6 June Paris
SQ334 Arrives Paris CDG Terminal 1 at 07:05
I watch 3 movies: From Paris with Love, Avatar, Shutter Island & learnt simple French words on Singapore Airlines Inflight Service. Enjoyable flights

Airport
Train – RER B Wait for Ang Tak Cheong until 08:25
Terminal 1 is served by the free CDGVAL shuttle train (average journey time: 6 minutes)

Public Transport Spending
3 Days Paris Visite Travel Tickets Zones 1-6
Dates: 6, 7, 8 Jun 2010
9 Jun, use single entry ticket [compliments of Jacques Yan, thanks!]
Purchase 3 Day Paris Visite Travel Tickets at RER Station 1-6 zones: Aeroport Charles de Gaulle 1
Goh + Pam + Robin €40.50 x 3 = €121.50
Dominique + Clement €20.25 + €0.00 = €20.25
Total €141.75 for 5 person 3 days
[Average €28.35 per person for 3 days, €9.45 per person per day]
http://www.ratp.info/touristes/index.php?langue=en&rub=decouvrir&cat=paris-visite

Train
Departure: Aeroport Charles de Gaulle 1
Destination: La Défense Grande Arche [RER C] From: Aeroport Charles de Gaulle 1 /To: Chatelet Les Halle
[RER C to RER A] Change at Chatelet Les Halle
[RER A] From: Chatelet Les Halle / To: La Défense Grande Arche

La Défense Grande Arche

Raining, we don’t want to go to Ang Tak Cheong’s place (Gif Yvette) He gives us a treat We have lunch at a Chinese fastfood restaurant. €60+ bloody expensive lunch simple dishes. The most expensive Singapore style “mixed vegetable rice” I ever had, count by weight, most dishes range from €2.50 to €4.00 per 100g. Not freshly cooked, lots of MSG. Feel bad for Ang, spent < SGD100 eating such lousy food. This day all of us felt thirsty the whole day, thanks for the MSG intake during lunch. We decid to cook as much as we can.
Took picture at La Défense Grande Arche

Train [RER]
Departure: La Défense Grande Arche
Destination: Porte de Clichy
Hellish train trips with luggage (2 big trolleys + 1 small trolley + 1 pram)
Train platform floor and train not of same height !!! Robin boarded train with Ang, the rest of us missed as door closed while we struggled with luggage.

[RER A] From: La Défense Grande Arche / To: Chatelet Les Halles
[RER A to RER B] Change at Chatelet Les Halles
[RER B] From: Chatelet Les Halles / To: Saint Michel Notre Dame
[RER B to RER C] Change at Saint Michael Notre Dame
[RER C] From Saint Michel Notre Dame / To: Gare d’Austerlitz (this was in fact unnecessary if not because of the broken escalator at Saint Michael Notre Dame when changing train lines]
[RER C] From Gare d’Austerlitz / To: Porte de Clichy

Accommodation in Paris, 17e (3 mins from Porte de Clichy Station)8 Passage Cerf Petit, Paris 75017
Total Spending: €251.55, Selim, +33 6 13 52 87 13 selimeck@free.fr
Booking was through Only-apartments.com [mailto:info@only-apartments.com]
Good Location, near Porte de Clichy which has 2 lines: RER C & Metro Line 13
Environment: Not on main road, hence quiet. Opposite the apartment – upscale apartment
4th Floor (which is 5th storey as in Singapore terms, no elevator)
Interior: Nice fully equipped kitchen, a bedroom with double-bed, children slept on floor. No air-conditioned, had a fan. One dining table with 4 chairs, additional chairs available at corner. Simple & tastefully decorated. Nice toilet.
Facility: Free Wifi

Train [Metro]
Departure: Porte de Clichy
Destination: Musee du Louvre [Metro Line 13] From: Porte de Clichy/ To: Champs Elysees de Clemenceau
[Metro Line 13 to Metro 1] Change at Champs Elysees de Clemenceau
[Metro Line 1] From Champs Elysees de Clemenceau/ To: Palais Royal Musee du Louvre

Palais Royal Musee du Louvre
http://www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp?bmLocale=en
Opened till 6pm. We reached here few minutes before 5pm. We were lucky as it was free admission for all visitors on the first Sunday of each month. No need to queue.
The first hall we went was the Mona Lisa. Not enough time to see all exhibits, it closed at 6pm.

Train [Metro]
Departure: Musee du Louvre
Destination: Porte de Clichy [Metro Line 1] From: Palais Royal Musee du Louvre /To: Champs Elysees de Clemenceau
[Metro Line 1 to Metro 13] Change at Champs Elysees de Clemenceau
[Metro Line 13] From: Champs Elysees de Clemenceau/ To: Porte de Clichy

Home Sweet Home
This was the first day we were in Paris. All of us were tired, had broken sleeps on the flight. Hence, we decided not to proceed to other places of interests as planned. We had dinner at “Home”, we loved this place as it was fully equipped with all the things we need. Fridge, stove, kettle, crockery, cutlery. We felt at home. Fortunately, we brought an induction cooker. The first home-cooked meal we had – steamboat. It was nice feeling to eat something hot in cool weather like this. We let the natural air entered the place, used fan to circulate air. The feeling was marvellous.

Monday, 7 June Paris
Train [RER & Metro]
Departure: “Home”
Destination: Opera [RER C] From: Porte de Clichy / To: Pereire-Levallois
[RER C to Metro 3] Change at RER: Pereire-Levallois/Metro: Pereire
[Metro 3] From: Pereire / To: Opera

BNP Paribas CIB
3 Rue d’Antin, 75002 Paris, France
3 Rue d’Antin is at a quiet small road, I almost missed it if not I asked for direction. My family members waited at ground floor reception area while I went to 1st Floor/ Security was tight. 1st Floor was a beautiful grand hall. Linsey came to bring me to Fixed Income. The Dealing Room was warm. I started to perspire. I met Dominique and Martine Rembault. We had communicated with each other in email but never met. So nice to meet them.

Change Swedish Kroner SEK1000 at money changer

Ministre de la Justice
(unplanned) 13 Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris, France
http://maps.google.com.sg/maps/place?hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=ministry+of+justice+paris&fb=1&gl=sg&hq=ministry+of+justice&hnear=Paris,+France&cid=12941371430500728609

Opera Natioale de Paris Garnier
http://www.operadeparis.fr/cns11/live/onp/pratique/acces/index.php?lang=en
at the corner of rue Scribe and rue Auber, 75009 Paris

Train [RER]
Departure: Opera/Destination: Anver [Metro 3] From: Opera / To: Villiers
[Metro 3 to Metro 2] Change at Villiers
[Metro 2] From: Villiers / To: Anvers

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur
http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/us/infos.html Admission Free
We are not Catholic. We didn’t go to the church. It is so high up there, climbing the stairs needs effort. It looks very beautiful from afar. A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmarte, the highest point in the city, we can see it very clearly at Eiffel Tower

Rue de Steinkerque
The street had been infected by T-shirt shops and trinket peddlers, an excellent place to find cheap clothing

Train [Metro]
Departure: Anver
Destination: Blanche [Metro 2] From: Anvers / To: Blanche

Moulin Rouge
Bal du Moulin Rouge ® Montmartre 82 boulevard de Clichy 75018 Paris – France
http://www.moulinrouge.fr/html_gb/contact_gb.htm
The world’s famous cabaret, is just a short walk away from Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. The area around it is full of strip clubs, sexshows, sex shops, etc

Departure: Blanche
Destination: “Home”
[Metro 2] From: Blanche / To: Place de Clichy
[Metro 2 to Metro 13] Change at Place de Clichy
[Metro 13] From: Place de Clichy/ To: Porte de Clichy

“Home” Lunch. Cooked noodle, egg in induction cooker pot

Departure: “Home”
Destination: Ecole Militaire
[Metro 13] From: Porte de Clichy / To: Invalides
[Metro 13 to Metro 8] Change at Invalides
[Metro 8] From: Invalides/ To: Ecole Militaire

UNESCO (3pm)
7, Place de Fontenoy
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/about-us/where-we-are/visit-us/
I emailed to UNESCO one month before my trip and received a reply. I was ecstatic. Having a chance to visit an international renowned organisation, I felt very honoured. There were about 20 visitors including us from all over the world. UNESCO only entertains overseas visitors every Monday afternoon, once a week. French visitors can write in to register for Wednesday afternoon, also once a week.
UNESCO Tour – Individual Visitors 7 June 2010 at 3pm
programme of the visit:
(1) A brief presentation of the Organization and its activities,
(2) Some key elements about the architecture of the UNESCO's buildings,
(3) A tour of the Japanese garden,
(4) A tour of a part of the buildings and including the presentation of some works of art.
Contact: Ms Monia Adjiwanou Bureau of Public Information

Ecole Militaire
Opposite UNESCO, excellent view of Tour Eiffel
http://maps.google.com.sg/maps/place?hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=ecole+militaire+paris&fb=1&gl=sg&hq=ecole+militaire&hnear=Paris,+France&cid=12221933721748872696

Hotel Nationale des Invalides
http://www.invalides.org/
We saw at this beautiful architecture. Les Invalides, officially known as Hôtel national des Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids), is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building’s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l’Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France and war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte

Walk

Tour Eiffel
http://www.tour-eiffel.fr/teiffel/uk/index.html
http://www.tour-eiffel.fr/teiffel/uk/pratique/acces/page/tarifs.html?id=2_3#
Paris Eiffel Tower is a “must visit”.
We took the stairs until 2nd floor which is 115 metres from ground.
Goh + Pam = €4.50 x 2; Robin = €3.50; Dominique paid €3.00; Clement doesn’t need to pay. Total = €15.50
4 of us bought another 4 tickets to take elevator from 2nd floor to summit. €5.00 each x 4 = €20.00
Total Spent = €35.50 For this price, it’s worth it. The queue at the stairs climb is pretty short. When we wanted to buy the ticket for Dominique, the ticket officer did not believe that Dominique is 11 years old. We had to produce Dominique’s passport to prove his age. And the guy asked about Robin’s age. I replied 13. Robin was shorter than his younger brother.

Tour Eiffel: It is is one of the main symbols not only of Paris, but France as well. It was built for the exhibition held in 1889 to celebrate 100 years from the French Revolution. It got its name after its architect, Gustave Eiffel.

The tower’s 320m high. It has 3 floors (at 57m, 115m and 274m) and 1710 steps to the top. You can climb 345 steps to the 1st level and 359 steps to the 2nd one, and then take the lift up, or go all the way up in the lift!
It’s not really tiring to walk the stairs probably because of the cool weather, we sweat a little.
As a tourist we can’t go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower. That is because you can see it from all over the city. You even see it when you are flying over Paris taking off or landing [see pictures we took when SQ334 was landing Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport). The view from Eiffel Tower was magnificent. City planning of Paris is awesome. Broad, straight avenues and block layout were complemented by formal, geometrically ordered gardens. It looks like a piece of cake cut into even shapes and sizes. So beautiful. Nicolas told me this was the work of Baron Haussman. Amazing!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haussmann's_renovation_of_Paris

Train [RER C}
From: Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel
To: “Home’ [RER C] From: Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel / To: Porte de Clichy

Tuesday, 8 June Paris
Train [RER]
Departure: “Home” / Destination: Charles de Gaulle Etoile [RER C] From: Porte de Clichy / To: Neuilly-Porte Maillot
[RER C to Metro 1] Change at RER: Neuilly-Porte Maillot/Metro: Porte Maillot
[Metro 1] From Porte Maillot / To: Charles de Gaulle Etoile

L’Arc de Triomphe
From the exit of Charles de Gaulle Etoile , first thing you see is magnificent L’Arc de Triomphe
http://maps.google.com.sg/maps/place?hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=arc+de+triomphe&fb=1&gl=sg&hq=arc+de+triomphe&hnear=arc+de+triomphe&cid=8271927742151435365&pcsi=8271927742151435365,1

Avenue des Champs Elysees
This street is a paradise for those who love good life, good food and good shopping. The building of Louis Vuiton is an eye catcher for shopping-tourists and window-shoppers alike. Personally, I don’t really like Avenue des Champs Elysees. It is too touristy.

Train [RER]
Departure: Charles de Gaulle Etoile
Destination: Marne-la-Vallee-Chessy (Parcs Disneyland)
[RER C] From: Charles de Gaulle Etoile / To: Marne-la-Vallee-Chessy (Parcs Disneyland)
Journey to Disneyland was very long but it was a relaxing trip. I fell asleep. Not many people travelled to Disneyland this way.

Parc Disneyland
Parc Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios
Goh + Pam + Robin = €67 x 3 + = €201
Dominique = €57. I did not pay for Clement’s ticket
Total = €258
http://parcs.disneylandparis.fr/parc-disneyland/index.xhtml
Euro Disney is the 3rd Disneyland I visited. The first 2 was in LA and Tokyo. Paying a hefty S$450 for my family’s 6½ hours visit to 2 parks: Disneyland and Walt Disney Studio, I felt a little ‘heartache’. My 2 bigger children had already forgotten about their holiday in Tokyo Disneyland because they were too young at that time, in March 2003.
We reached Disneyland at about 11:30am. Opening time was from 10am. Gloomy day, cloudy. Tickets were expensive. While I was queuing for admission tickets, 2 teenaged girls approached a couple who queued behind me. They spoke in English. One of the teenaged girl who spoke to the couple sounded French. She tried to sell their tickets for €45 as she got free tickets won from contest and the tickets she bought were of no use. The couple were sceptical of the offer, the guy declined. The girl did not approach me and other people in the queue.
The sky was cloudy, getting darker. When we queued at the first ride, it started to drizzle. What a day! I thought. Fortunately, the rain just caused a little bit of inconvenience and a little cold when we were on outdoor rides, it stopped a while later. I skipped rides that required long wait (45 mins+/-). Nothing surprised me except Walt Disney’s The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror which was a really thrilling one.
Rides I took:
Fantasyland: Dumbo the Flying Elephant, It’s a Small World, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups
Discoveryland: Star Tours/Robin and Dominique tried Autopia
Adventureland: Pirates of the Caribbean
Frontierland: -none- (not enough time)
We went to the “Casino” supermarket at the RER station and bought a few packets of chicken wing, got them microwaved and took as lunch at about 3:15pm. Each packet cost €2.70, very cheap and good.
At 3:40pm, we entered Walt Disney Studio,
Robin, Dominique and I tried “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror”, the feeling was beyond description. For a moment, we were in darkness and the next moment our butt left the seat, ascending – descending ascending – descending (repeat few times different heights in darkness) Lift door open – all of us saw we were in 20 stories high, door close, descend again, ascend again, door open, descend again……really exciting….I had not come across something interesting theme rides like this for a long time. As you know, if you had visited some wonderful theme parks and tried the thrill rides, it was difficult to find something that satisfy your ‘appetite’. “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” did it.
Also tried Ratatouille starring in Disney’s Stars; Cars with my 3 sons Robin, Dominique, Clement. This was similar to “Tea Cups” just that this was in a car spinning round and round. Very nice too.
I missed the Studio Tram Tour. The facility faced technical problem. We came to know about that after queuing for 15 minutes. Goh and Clement tried it when we went to “Tower of Terror”. I think it was similar to Universal Studio in LA.
And then almost 7pm. We got to leave because the parks were closing. We did not feel it because it was still very bright. Sunset time was late at about 10pm.

Train [RER]
Departure: Marne-la-Vallee-Chessy (Parcs Disneyland)
Destination: Porte de Clichy [RER A4] From: Marne-la-Vallee-Chessy (Parcs Disneyland) / To: Charles de Gaulle Etoile
[RER C to Metro 1] Change at Charles de Gaulle Etoile
[Metro 1 ] From: Charles de Gaulle Etoile / To: Porte Maillot
[Metro 1 change to RER C] From Porte Maillot/To: Neuilly-Porte Maillot
[RER C] From: Neuilly-Porte Maillot/To: Porte de Clichy

“Home Sweet Home” We cooked again. But we came back too late at 8:30pm, G20 Supermarket which we always got our grocery was closed. Goh went to the Muslim shop to buy a big grilled chicken. It was stuffed with herbs, potato and some unknown spice + boiled a few hard-boiled eggs, and that’s our dinner.

Our next destination was Tour Eiffel again, to see how it looks at night.

Train [RER]
Departure: Porte de Clichy
Destination: Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel [RER C] From: Porte de Clichy/To: Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel
At the entrance of Porte de Clichy, I could see Tour Eiffel glitter. It looked very beautiful. As sunset was after 10pm, we came out of our ‘home’ at 10:15pm. Perhaps I was too tired. I directed all to the wrong platform to take train. It was late. Dominique alerted me and we got to the correct one. Very lucky, night train’s waiting time was usually long and we were afraid of not able to catch the last train later.
Plan to go to the cathedral at Notre Dame (Station: Cite) was aborted because of late hours.
Tour Eiffel vicinity This time we went to the direction to see Tour Eiffel which Goh and I did 14 years ago.
Tour Eiffel did not glitter all the time. This was a designated time. I don’t know when.
At daytime, Paris is beautiful. At night, Paris is extremely beautiful. I could not think of another city which was more beautiful than Paris.
Robin, Dominique and I were approached by a stocky black man selling souvenirs, we rejected him. Robin said he saw him yesterday, pitied him for having to sell souvenirs at such late hours. It was about 11pm. After getting my approval, he ran to the man and asked him to show us his products. The souvenir of Eiffel Tower with glowing light was 1 for €10, I bargained. The closing price was 3 for €10 batteries included. Robin asked whether he will make a loss. I said he probably won’t but profit margin became very thin. Robin’s sympathy for people could be good, could be bad, depend on situation.

Train [RER]
Departure: Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel
Destination: Porte de Clichy [RER C] From: Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel /To: Porte de Clichy
I don’t know what time was the last train. It was scary having to miss the last train. I don’t know how much it cost to take a taxi after midnight.
Close to midnight, we walked to RER station: Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel to take a train. I noticed something, usually after 8pm, commuters will decrease in number gradually. Frequency of train became longer. Train shorter. While we were at the platform, I saw a notice flashing in French but I did not understand. It had the work ‘platform’ and ‘centre’ in French. I guessed it was advising commuters to stand at the centre of the platform. I did not know that the train was shortened by so much and we were at the back end of the platform. We ran, pushing Clement in the pram and fortunately we boarded the train before the door slammed at our face. Clement sat at Robin’s lap. A woman who was sitting opposite Robin smiled at looking at the 2 boys. My tough boys!

Wednesday, 9 June PARIS
Train [RER]
From: “Home”
To: Neuilly-Porte Maillot [RER C] From: Porte de Clichy/To: Neuilly-Porte Maillot

Bus to Paris Beauvais Airport
Goh + Pam + Robin + Dominique = €15 x 4 = €60
http://www.aeroportbeauvais.com/bus.php?lang=eng
http://www.aeroportbeauvais.com/acces_maillot.html
Thanks Elias for showing me the place to take the airport bus in Google map.
The bus terminal looked exactly like the one shown in the map. Easy to find.
The process was very smooth, from finding the bus station after getting out of the RER station, got our luggage, bought bus tickets.
At the airport, something hellish happened.
Ryan Air is a budget airline. I bought 3 x 15kg of checked in bags for €45. When checked in, the officer (who seemed to have a foul mood after arguing with a traveller queued in front of us) told us that each bag maximum allowed was 15.9kg. Although one of our luggage was small and weighed only 10.3kg, it would considered as one piece of bag (I did not maximise to 15kg) The other 2 bags were more than 15.9 kg, one of them was about 19kg. We repacked, putting some clothes and items at our handcarry luggage (each person allow one not exceeding 10kg). When checked in, bag weighed 16kg (max allowed 15.9kg), “1kg, 20 Euro”, said the stern-looking officer. My goodness, I exclaimed in my mind. I quickly unzipped, took 2 pieces of clothing, stuffed into my handcarry bag. The scale showed 15.6kg. Phew! We escaped the penalty charge …

Flight: FR9504 (Ryan Air)
Internet Check-in completed It is a must otherwise there will be a EUR40 penalty for each check-in
From Paris (Beauvais) (BVA) to Stockholm (Skavsta) (NYO)
Wed, 09Jun10 Flight FR9504 Depart BVA at 14:05

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About Pamela's Online Journal

Working mother of 3 boys, loves travelling & writing.

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