Saturday, April 16, 2016

Europe Trip, Paris, Shopping Mall vs Museum

Lucky us! We got Singapore Airline's early bird promotion for our flight tickets. Both bounds of Singapore-Paris and Amsterdam Singapore cost us approximately SGD 1,300.

Our flight was scheduled on Friday, 18 April 2016 at 00:10. After having dinner in the airport, we walked into the departure terminal, cleared our immigration, and we were set to fly!

We are ready for Europe!

This is my first long haul flight and Singapore Airline has a non-stop flight for Europe. So, we sat in the plane for about 14 hours straight. The plan that carried us to Paris was an 2-tier Airbus 380. We got the seats at the lower deck and to be honest, the space between rows was not as big as I expected. It was not that narrow, but it was not how I expected.

There were full entertainment system (movies - old and new, TV series, songs - not too updated, games), comfortable blanket and pillow, supper and breakfast, free flow drinks, as well as snacks in between (sandwiches, nuts, fruits, etc.).

After chucking myself with 2 glasses of chardonnay, I managed to sleep about 4 hours. Yay to that!

14 hours after our departure time, which is 6:00 am in Paris, we landed safely and smoothly.

A travelator in a tube to connect the arrival terminal and the main building

Clearing the immigration was particularly easy. The officer that was in charge of me did not even look at my passport and me. He practically just multitasking, talking to his friend and stamping my passport at the same time. Another one in charge of mom and dad just asked about the duration of stay, next destination, etc. etc.

After we claimed our luggages, we walked to Sortie 32 (Sortie means Exit in French) to take the bus connecting to the city centre. There were a few bus operators here and we chose Roissy Bus. Just opposite the exit, we walked into Roissy Bus office and bought our bus ticket through a machine.

Sortie 32!
The bus ticket cost EUR 11 (~SGD 17) per person. I inserted a EUR 100 notes and to my surprise, the machine gave me changes in all coins! I weighed 2kg heavier instantly.

The bus came in every 30 minutes or so and departed after less than 5 minutes of stopping. We boarded the bus with our luggages and set off to the city, to Opera.

In about 30 minutes, we reached a bus stop around Opera, very near to Galeries Lafayette. Since our hotel is approximately 15 minutes walk from the bus stop, we walked with our luggages.

That's Galeries Lafayette at the back of us!

We booked 3 rooms in a small but decent hotel called Axel Opera Paris. It is located very near to Grands Boulevards Metro Station and there are quite a number of eateries nearby. When we reached there, the check in was not available yet but the friendly front desk let us sit for a while at the lobby, gave us some drinks, and store our luggages into the store room.

After resting for some time, we walked to our first destination: Galeries Lafayette!

Yes, this place is a must visit in Paris, they say. It's a shopping paradise. A few buildings of the same department store catering to all needs, from fashion to houseware. Behind Galeries Lafayette there is another department store called Printemps. Unfortunately, we did not manage to get to that one due to time constraint.

Taking photo in the middle of the road, we are tourists!
The main building of Galeries Lafayette, other 2 buildings are also under the same department store
Palais Garnier, right at the opposite of Galeries Lafayette

We sat at the cafe in one of the buildings before starting our shopping spree. The cafe is called Pret A Manger and it serves good coffee and better croissants. The coffee cost approximately EUR 3 and the croissant was from EUR 1.1 onwards.

The barista

After 3 hours inside the department store, roaming through the boutiques of designer bags, shoes, perfumes, etc., we walked back to the hotel, checked ourselves into the room, put our shopping bags, and quickly rushed to our second destination.

Musee du Louvre.

The largest museum in the world with more than 35,000 of art works.

So, coming back to the history, The Louvre was built as a garrison fortress in 1190 to protect the city. However, in 1525, under the reign of Francois I, he decided to use Louvre as a royal residence so as to provide him a place close enough to regain control over his capital. Therefore, many restorations were done during this time.

Many things happened until it was declared as a museum in 1793. After that, the building underwent many phases of restoration and extension until it reached the current state.

We took a metro from Grands Boulevards Station to Palais Royale-Musee du Louvre Station. We did not buy single ticket or the day pass, instead we bought carnet, which is a bundle of 10 tickets at lower price. A single ticket cost EUR 1.7 (~SGD 2.6) and a carnet cost EUR 14.1 (~SGD 22) for 10 tickets. So we saved about 20% for each ticket.

Front facade of Musee du Louvre, right in front of the metro station
Selfie-ing with Le Palais Royal, opposite the Louvre

We have pre-booked the ticket into Louvre for EUR 15 (~SGD 23) per person with an indicated time slot. We reached there about an hour before 6:00 pm, so we had many times to take pictures and enjoyed the iconic view of Paris.

Going inside to see the famous pyramide of the Louvre. That's the entrance, by the way.
One of the museum wing
That red container is the souvenir shop
The museum opens till late on Friday evening. I had done some research and people commented that the museum was not that crowded on Friday evening because less people knew about the extended opening hours. Another thing to note, youth (younger than 25 year old) has free entrance for Friday night. Yay!

Taking this kind of cheesy picture is a must in the Louvre
The queue, which was supposed to be 'not so crowded'

So we went into the queue slightly before 6:00 pm and got our bags checked and screened. Even thought it was not 6:00 pm yet, the officer was kind enough to let us in.

Inside the pyramide

There are many wings and many levels within the museum itself. We tried to walk through the famous ones but even now I could not remember what were those. To be honest, I was more interested in the architecture and the interior rather than the art works.

One of the first chambers that we entered
Great one 
I love the interior so much! 
I remember standing in front of this statue reading about the origin and story but now I have forgotten, LOL.
Winged Fictory of the Samothrace
Selfie with the pretty ceiling
The Dying Slave 
Paintings in French Section
Not interested in art at all

I was disappointed to see Mona Lisa being cordoned off by barricades and people crowding around it. In the end, I did not even walk near it because it was too crowded already!

The crowd, oh the crowd
After 2 hours inside the museum, we decided to find our way out and we passed by a corridor that gave us a really nice view.

The Pyramide at night

I love the skyline very much. Every time I think about The Louvre, this picture will come into my head. Although I am not a big fan of art works, I think it is worthy to visit this museum, for the architecture and the vibe.

The exit of The Louvre connects to a shopping mall, which is another Printemps.

The linkway to the shopping mall
We were too tired to do anything by then, so we skipped the shopping mall, we got back to the hotel and had dinner nearby. We called it a day.

That's the shopping vs museum day. I guess some of us enjoyed shopping and some of us enjoyed the museum. I am the one the enjoyed both.

Bonne nuit, Paris. Till the next day.

Love is in the air,
Little Feet

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