Once upon a time, we stayed a week in one of my dream cities, Paris. It was the perfect end to our honeymoon to have the last and longest leg of our travel adventure in the City of Lights. Paris was our entry and exit point. In my previous posts about our Europe honeymoon in 2012, I shared that we flew Singapore Airlines to Paris, then took the train straight from there to London, flew via EasyJet to Venice, then took the Eurostar train to Rome, then flew again via EasyJet back to Paris. It was quite a lengthy and tiring travel itinerary so we decided to make our stay in Paris the longest to be able to rest and to leisurely enjoy what we can before flying back home. Plus, we will also be making side trips to Versailles and Brussels from here.
So today’s post will be about one of the dreamiest places I’ve ever visited. Paris is so dreamy during the day and romantic at night. There’s just no bad time to see it. At first, the old crappy and unorganized CDG airport and the dirty train to London and the Metro turned me off — it felt like Manila with just handsome French guys haha and unlike London where I was super impressed with the train stations. But exploring Paris each day and seeing its beauty in broad daylight, misty afternoons and sparkling night lights just really captured my heart. The city has its unique old world charm that I am just so in love with!
We arrived in Paris from Rome at night so we just slept as we were very tired. On our first morning, we discovered that 8AM in Paris looks like 5AM in Manila. We stayed in Welcome Hotel in Saint Germain des Pres in Rue de Seine. It was a very old and tiny hotel, I wouldn’t recommend it if not for the very central location. Majority of the sights were just walking distance. So on our first day we explored our area, grabbed some breakfast, walked to Saint Sulpice, Jardin de Luxembourg, Pantheon and Notre Dame.
One of my favorite spots that we discovered walking by our hotel is Jardin du Luxembourg. This garden is just very pretty like a secret garden you could just spend your whole morning or afternoon in, lounging around, taking in the scenery. I love the gardens, the pond and the beautiful backdrop of the palace. It’s so peaceful and relaxing especially with the cold breeze since we went in October. I’m sure it would be even prettier during summer with all the colorful blooms. It’s like a scene out of a movie. I wish we could have spent more time here. This is a spot in Paris that I would love to keep going back to.
In the afternoon, we went to the Pantheon and on the way I particularly enjoyed seeing the lovely French architecture during our walk. I just love the styles of their buildings, the facade of their apartments, the balconies and windows and everything else. It’s just so classy and chic! Outside the Pantheon, there many people sprawled on the ground enjoying the sunshine. The Pantheon’s design inside and outside were very elaborate. We appreciated the details in the carving, the pillars and everything else. The Pantheon houses the remains of the French philosophers and famous writers. The in script at the entrance means “To the great men from the grateful homeland” which is Paris way of honoring its great men. Inside we were able to visit the tombs of Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Rousseau, Marie Curie and many others. You can even watch films about them and the French Revolution.
Right across the Pantheon you could see the Eiffel Tower from afar. Our first glimpse at the famous tower!
From the Pantheon, we walked to church of Notre Dame. We didn’t climb anymore and instead just prayed inside. We also got some candles that they were giving out as souvenirs. Just like everything else in this city, the Notre Dame Church is a beauty. It’s hard to take photos in front as there are a lot of tourists. The best spot to take a photo is at the side by the Seine River with the Notre Dame as the background.
We ended our day of touring at the Saint Chapelle, the pretty little stained glass church across the Notre Dame.
The next days were spent visiting the Louvre, seeing the Eiffel Tower from day to night, shopping, enjoying crepes, cheese and other French pastries and chocolates. I’ll share more about these in my next entries. We also spent a day walking leisurely through the whole stretch of Champs Elysees. We started in the Arc de Triomphe then walked all the way past the iconic Louis Vuitton store and as far as our tired feet can take us.
We didn’t go up the Arc anymore but they say it will give you the best view of the whole stretch of Paris’ main Avenue. But after my last encounter with heights and cramped spaces in Rome in St. Peter’s Dome, I didn’t want to do any more climbing. We explored the streets and stores instead and just watched the locals and tourists.
Overall, a week in Paris is really not enough. We were able to do the main touristy sight-seeing but there’s just so much to see and experience in this city. I’d love to experience the Moulin Rouge, take the cruise along River Seine, see the carousels, and visit more museums, gardens and explore more un-touristy places. At the end of our trip, we were tired of packing and unpacking and moving from one city to another. We were more than ready to fly back home to Manila but the moment we got back I was already wishing for a chance to go back. You’d always have a spot in my heart, Paris. ❤
And so I’ll end this post, with a shot I randomly took by the River Seine. Up next will be about our day in the Louvre and the Eiffel! 🙂