Ooh Lala, Paris!

Unlike the cold summer in the UK, Parisian summer is at least over 20ºC, which was welcoming for me, but my mom felt that it was swelteringly hot. She’s an Eskimo, I tell you.

Paris is lovely in the summer. It’s comfortable to walk around and you still get a little breeze in between. We stayed at Hotel Clauzel, which was along Rue des Martyrs in the 9th arrondissement – a street full of restaurants, diners, bakeries and markets. We didn’t manage to try all of them, and for the lack of a kitchen, we weren’t able to buy the delectable fresh produce on display. We did however, try a few cafes and restaurants along this street and they were pretty good.

Places/landmarks covered in this post:

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Seine River Cruise
  • Champs-Élysées
  • Notre Dame

If you haven’t already, read up on my tips for navigating Paris.

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THE EIFFEL TOWER
We decided that since we’re here, we should definitely visit the Eiffel tower – at least for a photo op. The queue to go up there was crazy and we didn’t want to waste what short time we have jostling with a million other tourists. The Eiffel was remarkable up close, but its surrounding area was bare and unkempt, with an odor of piss.

I didn’t like the fact that there were at least 20 peddlers around, selling more or less the same replicas of the Eiffel in various colors and forms. They were pushy and looked threatening. The key is to pointedly ignore them – I find that politely telling them no is a mistake, the seem to find politeness a weakness and would harass you much longer.

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SEINE RIVER CRUISE
From the Eiffel, you can easily access the Seine River through a cruise tour that has both French & English translations. While this river used to be a mode of transportation, it is now used for tour cruises and you can even find some boats along the banks that have been transformed into a restaurant. Very romantic.

The cruise itself is by Vedettes de Paris and it’s really comfortable. You get to sit on the upper deck for some fresh air (though I find that the river smells a bit) and lower deck for air-conditioning and a pantry to purchase food and drinks. I was amazed that the pantry-girl was able to even make crepes in such a confined space.

The views are definitely worth going on the river cruise for – you get to see most of the famous landmarks and beautiful sculptures that decorates their bridges and buildings.

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Spotted some local street artists creating some beautiful works by the river bank.

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CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES
A short train ride away via the Metro, we found ourselves in the famous shopping district where you can also find the famous Arc de Triomphe in the center of a very busy roundabout. *cue photo with the famous arc* You don’t have to cross the busy road to get a good shot, honestly.

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We didn’t do much shopping except in the Swatch, Longchamp and Birkenstock outlets. We spent our time walking the entire stretch just to poke our heads into shops and people watch. Laduree is forever packed with a long queue outside, and we were wise enough to steer away. The amount of sugar & calories didn’t feel worth it.

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NOTRE DAME
Did we see a hunchback by the bell tower? Well, no. But after watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame during my childhood, I can finally say that I’ve been here. The cathedral is so gorgeous, and admission is free. The queue to get in can be pretty long, but trust me when I say it’s worth the wait.

Although I’m not a Christian, I was inclined to donate 10 Euros and light a candle while giving a short prayer. You can light or take as many candles as you want, but please be honest and donate the right amount before you do so.

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If you appreciate architecture, you would definitely appreciate the interior of the cathedral. There’s also a section where they have a miniature model of the entire Notre Dame, along with its history. It’s a really long history of takeovers, rebuilding and redesigning the Notre Dame to become what it is today.

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After we left the Notre Dame, we went to a nearby street to have a quick lunch at a place called Le Quasimodo. I had a pretty decent steak while my mom had crepes. Later on, we perused some of the souvenir shops in the vicinity, and I got myself crepes from another stand. It was a pretty good day to be on the streets of Paris.

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This sums up our short time spent on the streets of Paris. The next post will outline one of our main highlights (a must-go), which is to Musee Louvre! No trip to Paris is ever complete without seeing the Mona Lisa.

Until then!

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