Monday, 21 April 2014

Paris: Day 2

This is the second post in my Paris series. You can view Day 1 here.

On our second day, we woke up rather late as we were so tired from our previous escapades. Our plan today was to see several sights; Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Moulin Rouge, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and Père Lachaise Cemetery.


I still remember coming out of the Metro exit and seeing the Arc de Triomphe for the first time, from the side.


And Sharon's question: "Is that it?!" :P 


After taking a few touristy snaps, we made our way across the Champs Élysées, perhaps the most famous avenue in Paris.


Once we'd managed to navigate our way through the underground subways, we were finally able to see the beauty of the Arc in detail.


It is actually possible to view the Champs-Élysées and Eiffel tower from on top of the Arc de Triomphe. Access is free for European nationals, but there is an admission fee for all those who do not own a European passport. As Sharon didn't have an EU passport and we were short of time, we decided to pass on this opportunity and went to find lunch instead.


When short on time and everything in Paris is so expensive, McDonald's really does become the best place on Earth..


I forgot the name of the burgers that we had, but they were specials only available in France. They weren't very French though. I seem to remember one being pork curry..?!


And of course.. a Daim McFlurry to top it all off!

We then headed off for the Moulin Rouge! To be honest, this really wasn't a very good move. Unless you have plenty of time to wander around or you're a big fan, I don't recommend seeing the Moulin Rouge. It was a bit of a detour for us so I was a bit disappointed to just stop and take a few photos before hopping back on the Metro. It really is just a snap-and-go attraction. (Not sure what I expected to be honest...)



After a bit of searching, we finally arrived at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.

 

It was so relaxing lying on the bank in the path of a gentle breeze and the sound of chirping birds that we ended up falling asleep for a good hour before making our way up towards the tower.


In the background to the photo above, you can see the temple peeking out. The bridge I stood on was actually designed in 1867 by Gustave Eiffel; the same civil engineer who created the Eiffel Tower.

And then we saw it... the beauty of Temple de la Sibylle.


Inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy, the temple perches 50 metres above the artificial lake, sitting atop the rocky island Île de la Belvédère.

Unfortunately, we had run out of time and energy to see the temple up close. We left the park and ended up stopping at a McDonald's for a much needed cold drink and a box of totally necessary macarons...


We then headed for Père Lachaise Cemetery.


Unfortunately, our trip to Moulin Rouge and our accidental nap in the park meant that we arrived too late... the cemetry was shut. Père Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris, with many famous citizens buried in this garden cemetery.


We came across a water fountain outside of the cemetery which drizzled with fresh spring water. I never tasted it, but apparently it tasted nasty... not what you would expect from a Parisian spring water fountain!


We ended up making our way towards Notre Dame for a casual stroll before dinner.

 

Amazing street art! Which one's your favourite? Mine's the blue landscape :)


After wandering around the main square that reminded me of the area between Covent Garden and Leicester Square, we eventually ventured down some smaller roads.


It was definitely an area entirely targeted at tourists.


We came across an awesome chocolate shop, with chocolates moulded into interesting shapes.


They sold different flavours of macarons, and a whole assortment of chocolates.


Our stroll along the touristy roads revealed a whole street full of restaurants with waiters and waitresses posted outside to lure in the customers. Inevitably, we ended up inside one of these restaurants. The waiter who beckoned us in was extremely friendly, and we had actually wandered away before returning for what appeared to be a good value menu containing escargot and mussels alongside a free drink!


I loved the way the interior was so different. It's not often that you see such textured walls and coves inside a building! It also gave a more 'European' feel :P



For starters, Sharon and I went for the mussels. I have never had so many mussels in my life. Not even Belgo's can compare! The boys went for escargot, and a goat's cheese salad.


I love how most European restaurants give bread whilst you're waiting. It means your wait doesn't feel as long when you're so ravenous :P I just have to make sure I don't get carried away... nothing worse than being so full on bread that you don't have space for your amazingly delicious meal.

For our main course, Sharon, Joe and I went for steak and green beans, whilst Kin went for coq au vin. I think I pretty much ended up having steak every day that we were in Paris.


Dessert was Créme Brûlée for the boys, and profiteroles for the girls!


After our delicious meal and watching the couple next to us have the most amazing looking fondue (which we vow we will go back for one day), we strolled around the streets near the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Any one have any idea what these are?!


We came across a really creepy and weird clown guy who was just chilling in the streets and scaring people. I think he was supposed to be funny... but I don't think tricking girls in the street to kiss you on the lips is good comedy...

Notre Dame was so beautiful at night. The cool breeze and the calm atmosphere was so relaxing, we ended up stopping by the river and people watching.


Eventually, we sat outside the cathedral and just chilled for a while. It was nice to just relax, chat, and wind down after such a long day.


I think we must've sat there for a over an hour, before we decided we should head back for some real rest.

Felix Faure - our station! (Still can't pronounce it properly in French.)


And to finish, the beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower from our balcony that evening!


Ahhh, how I miss Paris.

Disclaimer: The amazingly beautiful and professional shots featured in this blog post are not my own. They have been used with kind permission from Kin :) A few of my own photos do appear, but the majority do not belong to me.

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