Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tour de Paris - France (Part 2)

On my second day in Paris, I woke up pretty early and grabbed breakfast that is served at my hostel which includes of sandwiches, cereal, and juices. I dressed up in a pretty monochromatic palette today - learned my mistake from yesterday's wardrobe; today I decide to go on full-Parisienne with a black/gray/white attire in order to distinguish myself far from a tourist. This is actually a bit contradictive to what I'm planning to do today as I decided to go on a tour of Paris' top tourist spots using Big Bus Tours. I decided to take the hop-on-hop-off Paris sightseeing tours as I don't want the hassle in looking for the spot and also because I was still pretty intimidated by the idea of exploring a foreign city by myself. Hence, I bought the two-day tour worth of EUR 38 from the bus driver that I met on the first pit stop - right in front of the Gare du Nord. I was given a receipt that serves as a ticket for my two days journey. You can also buy the ticket online with for a fraction of the price.

Using the Big Bus, I went from my starting in Gare du Nord to my first to within Avenue des Champs-Elysées. I was dropped right in front of the Arc de Triomphe. I then traveled along the avenue that is surrounded by many shops and restaurants and made a mental note of which shops that I shall visit sometimes later during my stay here.

Along the stride, I arrive at the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais that is located right across one another. The palaces currently serve as an art exhibition and museum complex but I only spent my time in the vicinity and hung out on the stairs of the Grand Palais by the site of construction of the palace by the time I got there.

After a while and taking a little further walk to the south of the city, nearing to the Hôtel des Invalides, a building holding France military history. I didn't take a closer look since I was taken away by the sight of the Eiffel Tower from one of the bridge crossing to the Hôtel. The Seine River and its bridges is a beautiful sight by itself, I found myself pausing my walks on top of the bridges as I was trying to get a close look at areas of the city that is abridged along the river.

I then walked back to the Grand Palais to find the Big Bus stop from there and then continued to ride along the streets of Paris and then stopped in front of the Eiffel Tower. It was a cold autumn evening but the lines going into the tower is still long. There are two levels of the tower that you an access to. Access to the very top will cost you EUR 17 and your access time is predetermined by the time you bought the ticket.

My last visit for the day is to Palais Garnier, the French national opera that is world famous for its history since its construction within the Second Empire but truth to be told I was only familiar with it since the first time I read Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera as part of my seventh grade reading assignment for English class and thanks to the soundtrack of Andrew Lloyd Webber's play on the story. Anyways, the Opéra is located near the Galeries Lafayette shopping district but as I was disinterested in shopping, I decide to take a look at the inside of the building. The entrance costs EUR 7 and I fell in love with the decor from the first sight I entered the building and seeing warm dim chandeliers hanging on the walls.

The Opéra is my last stop for the day as I want to return back to the hostel before it gets dark. Paris was also a bit rainy by that day and doesn't seem like a good weather to go out. I hopped back on the Big Bus, and take another round of the city before stopping by the Gare du Nord Station that is a walk away from my hostel. I am excited for tomorrow as I get to travel to few more places with my day ticket. Paris in so far has been a beauty as I imagined it was from all the movies and books. Can't wait for what tomorrow awaits!