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Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Honeymoon Series [viii] - Paris, France

After touring the beautiful, more rural Lorraine and Fontainebleau (review here), we ventured into city living - beautiful, beautiful Paris, the city often associated with glamour, elegance and high fashion.

Besides being a beautiful, fashionable city lined with shops and the latest trends, arts and culture of France are also evident in Paris itself. We explored the city for some iconic landmarks bearing traces of long history as well as art.

Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007, Paris, France
Website: http://www.toureiffel.paris/en.html
Opening Hours: 9.30am to 11.00pm daily
Ticket Prices: Between 7 euros to 17 euros per person

Named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, this wrought-iron lattice tower is a icon by day and a sparkling diamond in the night. One can climb or take the lift up to the top of the tower, and view Paris from the top; there are also restaurants as well as souvenir shops within the tower itself.

75058 Paris, France
Website: http://www.louvre.fr/en
Opening Hours: 9.00am to 6.00pm daily except Tuesdays
Ticket Prices: 17 euros per person

After the novel and movie "The Da Vinci Code",  I am sure that The Louvre Museum needs no introduction. It is the largest museum in the world and houses one of the most impressive art collection in history. From the pyramid entrance, one accesses many different art galleries of paintings and sculptured arts; there are many, many galleries such as Eastern Antiquities, Islamic Art, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan & Roman Antiquities and Arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americans etc, giving us an international art appreciation opportunity.

Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008, Paris, France
Website: http://www.arcdetriompheparis.com
Opening Hours: 10.00am to 10.30pm
Ticket Prices: 12 euros per person

One of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing tall and strong at the end of Champ-Elysees - the Arc De Triomphe was built between the years 1806 to 1836, in honour of the French soldiers who fought for France, particularly those who battled in the Napoleonic wars. Engraved on the inside and top of the Arc are the names of the generals and wars fought.

75008, Paris, France
Website: https://frenchmoments.eu/place-de-la-concorde-paris
Website: https://www.google.com.sg/#q=ferris+wheel+paris

One of the largest major public squares in Paris, the Place de la Concorde is situated along the Seine River and separate the Tuileries Gardens from the beginning of the Champs-Elysees. Renowned for its important part in French history, this majestic square is chosen for many happy or sad national gatherings.

Some of the most impressive monuments within the Place de la Concorde itself are the Fontaines de la Concorde, also known as "The Fountain of River Commerce and Navigation",  The Luxor Obelisk (a 23-metres tall Egyptian monolithic pink granite monument given to the French in 1829 by the Egyptian viceroy), and the Le Grande Roue de Paris (60-metre tall Ferris Wheel).

Place des Invalides, 75007, Paris, France
Website: http://www.musee-armee.fr/en/english-version.html
Opening Hours: 10.00am to 5.00pm
Ticket Prices: 11 euros per person

More commonly known as the "Hotel national des Invalides", this complex of buildings contain museums and monuments. It was founded in 1671 by King Louis XIV, the Sun King, for providence of accommodation and care for wounded soldiers. Among them are the Napoleon's tomb, Dome Church and army museums.

The Seine River Cruise allows us the opportunity to view most of Paris' iconic monuments such as Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre Museum, as well as the river banks via an hour's long cruise ride, complete with audio introductions in different languages.  There are several cruise operators offering the river cruise service, beginning at 15 euros per person. We went with Bateaux Parisiens, website: http://www.bateauxparisiens.com/en/cruise-tours.html.

126 Rue de I'Universite, 75355, Paris, France
Website: http://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/decouvrir-l-assemblee/visiter-l-assemblee-nationale

The lower house of the French Parliament, and visits to the Palais-Bourbon are available. Public entrance is at 33 Quai d'Orsay, 75007, Paris, France.

One could never miss out on shopping in Paris. Whether you choose local designers, high fashion or discount outlet malls, everyone brings home something from this beautiful city known for its ahead-of-time fashion.

8th arrondissement of Paris, France
Website: http://www.champselysees-paris.com

The Avenue des Champs-Elysees is a 1.9 kilometres long avenue stretching between Place de la Concorde and Place Charles de Gaulle, containing many trendy boutiques and restaurants. You could find many familiar high fashion brand names and street brand names as well as skincare brands on the signboards of these shops.

Website: http://haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/en

An upmarket French chain department store with many outlets across France itself, Galeries Lafayette has 3 buildings in Paris itself - one for male, one for female, and one for family. There are many shops and brands within the department stores, from high fashion clothes, bags and jewellery to high street fashion brands, etc. Be prepared to spend hours on end here browsing the boutiques and buying to your heart's contend.

1 Rue du President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 78340, Les Clayes-sous-Bois, France
Website: http://www.onenation.fr/en/contact

One of the largest and newest outlet shopping mall in Paris, opened by none other than the Galeries Lafayette Group, dedicated to fashion and luxury brands.

3 Cours de la Garonne, Serris, France
Website: https://www.lavalleevillage.com/fr/home

One of the best outside-Paris outlet mall with a village setting and has more brands than its competitors, La Vallée Village boosts of brands which has very few outlet stores such as Celine, Givenchy, and Christian Lacroix etc. The discounts are authentic and often deep.

Along Champs Elysees and stretching all the way to Place de la Concorde in November to December, one can experience beautiful atmosphere at the Christmas Market  - buying gift items, Christmas decor, hot red wine, hot beer, food items etc, or have fun on the theme park rides. It is beautiful and definitely brings out the Christmas spirit in anyone.

Don't ask me why out of the 2 days in Paris, we only managed to enjoy one French meal - whereas the other meals were taken at Chinese restaurants. No, I don't miss Asian food and no, our tour package ain't ratty nor with some cheapo tour agency.  One wishes for French Onion Soup, Escargots, Foie Gras etc when in France!

3 Rue Royale, 75008, Paris, France
Website: http://maxims-de-paris.com/en/

The place to be! But reservations need to be made way in advance. A renowned restaurant with history tracing back to year 1893, and is known throughout the world. I would be here someday for their French food.

Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 2A, Level 2, Roissy-en-France 95700, France
Website: http://www.parisaeroport.fr/en/passengers/shops/shopping/store/fauchon

Gifts store, fresh chocolates and now a restaurant concept on level 2 of the Charles de Gaulle Airport, after check-in area. The restaurant with its classy black exterior lit by neon pink letterings is hard to miss, and the menu comprises mainly Western dishes.

A French restaurant with pretty decor in Paris, near the Galeries Lafayette malls area. I guess we were too excited to order, and thus forgot the name. Here was where we had Duck Confit and Escargots.

Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 2A, Level 1, Tremblay-en-France 93290, France
Website: https://www.caviarhouse-prunier.com/paris-bars

Loved the classy white bar counter settings, especially when hunting for food during flights-intervals. Therefore I had a foie gras with glass of wine. Must admit that I prefer seared foie gras - for the goose paste in this form tastes more like a pate.

Small burger joint near Courtyard Marriott Hotel, Paris. It looks normal but no shyt - we had one of the best burgers we had ever tried - thick, juicy beef patties with lots of cheese. We returned the next night to try their Beef-Chicken Burger, having the best of both worlds.

54 Avenue Bosquet, 75007,  Paris, France
Website: http://www.fontainedejade.be

Beautiful Oriental decor, and I grudgingly admit that the food was quite good. We had dishes of soup, fish, vegetables, pork, omelette and beef.

90 Rue de Provence, 75009, Paris, France

Near the Printemps Galleria Opera area is a Chinese / Vietnamese restaurant serving beef noodles, fried rice, etc Asian dishes - often packed with diners. I thought the food was so-so only, but having hot soup in cold wintry weather is always welcomed.

Finally we reached the sleeping quarters. We stayed 2 nights in Marriott Courtyard, a hotel on the outskirts of Paris city, reachable by tram. This gave us the opportunity to ride their local public transport - rather easy to get around.

91 Boulevard Charles de Gaulle Colombes, 92700, Paris, France
Website: http://courtyard-by-marriott-paris-la-defense-west-colombes-hotel.booked.net

I think this should be the hotel we stayed at - either that, or Courtyard by Marriott Saint Denis. Their structure and facilities look awfully familiar. Never mind - rooms were spacious, and I really love how the toilet cubicle was separate from the bathroom. There were few restaurants / eateries nearby, but close enough to airport. This hotel is around 200 euros a night, including breakfast.

Overall, I enjoyed my French holiday - again, because I love everything French, from the culture to the language to the fashion to the food and the arts. Having said that, thank you for reading about my Honeymoon Series Part 8. Do keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming Part 9 - on Switzerland tour! Here's wishing you dears a good weekend ahead.

For other parts of The Honeymoon Series:
(i) Honeymoon Series part 1 - selecting the destinations (click here)
(ii) Honeymoon Series part 2 - researching and booking (click here)
(iii) Honeymoon Series part 3 - preparing for the trip (click here)
(iv) Honeymoon Series part 4 - Rome, Italy (click here)
(v) Honeymoon Series part 5 - Siena, Florence & Pisa, Italy (click here)
(vi) Honeymoon Series part 6 - Venice & Milan (click here)
(vii) Honeymoon Series part 7 - Lorraine & Fontainebleau (click here)

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