The big family holiday … in Paris …

Nothing could be more annoying than to have the weather turned all nice and sunny… only after the family has gone back home. While they were here, it rained nearly everyday. But it has not rained at all this week … arghhh! I don’t know whether to be grateful for the turn in weather or to curse it. Ok, ok, I will be grateful for it because it does make it easier for me to do my washing, cleaning and tidying.

Anyway, to continue with the story of my big family holiday, we arrived in Paris in the evening … and was warmly received by the younger brother of my sis-in-law, who had kindly offered to be our guide in Paris. Well … since he had been to Paris several times and can speak French, he decided to meet us and helped to show us around. It was really kind of him, considering that he had to fly all the way from Bintan where he is based. He showed us the way to our hotel which is just across from the Gare de l’Est and within walking distance from the Gare du Nord, the station that we arrived at. Since we arrived at peak hour, he thought it might be faster and easier for us to walk to our hotel than to take a crowded métro. Very wise, indeed.

Our hotel is quite old and small … but very charming. The only lift in the hotel is not only small and slow, it does not even service the last floor! One would have to stop at the fifth floor and then take a narrow and winding staircase which seemed to slant at a precarious angle … if one is, unfortunately, given a room on the last floor (i.e. the 6th floor). And guess what?  That is exactly where the hubby and I were checked into as well as that of my younger sister and her family of 5!! Imagine having to lug several bags and suitcases into the small lift and then up the winding staircase (I actually felt quite dizzy when I tried going down the winding staircase from the top floor all the way to the ground floor!) And for the icing on the cake, the hubby and I were given a room in a corner which we dubbed the servant’s room … because, besides its location at the far end, it also has a gorgeous view of a … WALL! My sister on the other hand, had a spacious room with a view of the street, the Gare de l’Est, the Basilique du Sacré Cœur (which looked really beautiful during sunset) … and even a view of part of the Eiffel Tower! Hmmm … what can I say, some people are lucky while.some are not! 🙂 But still, we enjoyed our stay at the hotel.

We spent our second day taking the Batobus to tour the popular tourist areas in Paris, followed by a day at EuroDisney on the third day. Unfortunately, it rained when we were at EuroDisney, so we could not enjoy it as much as we would have liked. And interestingly, despite the longer daylight during this time of the year (it doesn’t get dark until nearly 10pm) most of the attractions in the park were closed either at 6 or 6.30pm. So, with the rain to hamper our movement, we didn’t really get to enjoy the park to the max! A bit disappointing.

And on the fourth and last day, before catching the TGV train to Geneva in the evening, we went to Champs-Élysées to soak up the atmosphere and then to Galeries LaFayette for some shopping. Well … for my sisters and I, it was more of a window shopping excursion. Things are just too expensive for our taste, there.

Even though we arrived quite early at the train station after picking our luggage from the hotel, we nearly missed our train only because of the inefficient system there! Sad to say, although Paris is quite an attractive city, we were disappointed by the attitudes of some Parisians that we came across. But … we definitely enjoy the briyanis that were sold at the Indian restaurant not far from our hotel. Oh yes….we enjoyed the food that we had both in England and Paris very much. Delicieux!!! 😀

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Basilique du Sacré Cœur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Paris), as seen from the window of my sister’s room in the evening. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to visit Montmatre, the area where the Basilica is located. I had enjoyed going there during my first visit to Paris.

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Two of the more famous landmarks in Paris, the Eiffel Tower (above) and the Notre Dame (below), which one can view from a Batobus cruise on the river Seine..

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It cost €13 for a whole day boat ride. You can just hop on and off at any of their 8 stops which are located near famous landmarks until the end of service, which at this time of the year ends at 9.30pm.

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Besides its many beautiful buildings, France is also well-known for something else … street protests and workers’ strikes, which we were fortunate (or maybe not) to witness, not long after arriving at the Eiffel Tower! This time, it was by the health workers. The mood seemed quite festive though … not scary at all … just noisy. But I would not want to fall sick on that day!!! 😉

And here is a Japanese tourist trying to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower.

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Oopps …sorry. It was just my elder brother lah!!! 🙂 But he certainly could have passed off as one, no? hehehe….Jangan marah ye bang! (don’t be angry big bro)

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The beautiful garden in the interior of the Grande Mosquée de Paris (Paris Grand Mosque).

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And not forgetting … a quick visit to the famous Louvre Museum, after coming back from EuroDisney. We didn’t go inside to see the famous Miss Monalisa as it was already quite late and everyone was quite tired after the long day of excitement at the park.

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Taking a short break after much walking along Champs-Élysées to see the Arche de Triomphe, before heading for Galeries LaFayette.

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Err … these are not displays, even though they may look like one. They are actually seats at the children’s shoes department in Galeries LaFayette. Very pretty and very colourful, huh?

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