Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Day 8. Paris
What an absolutely amazing last day in Paris!!! This trip has been so fantastic and fun and adventurous that I cannot help but be 100% thankful and grateful for every little moment. I’m so blessed ^_^.
This morning, we woke up again at our usual time of 6:15 a.m. ish and had breakfast in the dinky dining area. This time, they opened it up so that there were a lot more tables and we weren’t as crammed. We had been waking up and having breakfast every morning for our entire trip at the same time each morning. I really liked that because it gave me a good sense of schedule and there weren’t any mornings where we had to be up especially early. Hehe :D.
Our itinerary for our last full day in Paris, France was absolutely packed but full of highlights!
First, we went to the Place de la Concorde where we saw the isotope, Fountaines de la Concorde, and Ferris Wheel (Roue de Paris). It was a beautiful view in the morning sunlight and already our creative juices were flowing with the various poses we were doing for our photos in front of the famous Parisian monuments. So awesome and so fun. 😀
Next, we went to the famous Arc De Tromphie where there were already a lot of tourists taking photographs. As always, we had to be extra cautious in Paris since we saw many young gypsy girls (and boys) staking out and ready to pickpocket. Our tour guide told us that one of their tricks was to hold a piece of paper and cardboard, walk up to you to ask if you know how to speak English, and if you do, to tell a sob story of their people and country and then after that, for you to take their pen and sign the sheet of paper. While you are signing it, your hands are not holding your personal belongings so they are open to attack. One of the gypsy girls will band together to feel your open pockets or purses to grab whatever they can without you noticing. It’s quite the scheme and teamwork too!! Luckily, even though one of these gypsy girls did approach me, I quickly moved away from her and turned my purse to the other direction. She immediately walked past me since she knew I saw through her gig.
Anyways, we took a lot of fun photos in front of the grand Arc De Tromphie and also walked in the underground walkway to look at it from underneath. It is such a gigantic monument that it is difficult to photograph it from underneath the arch in a single screen.
After this, we set on our way to take the Bateaux Mouches cruise that would overlook many Parisian streets, monuments, and the Eiffel Tower from afar.
It was an hour-long cruise (just like the one we took on the Rhine River in Germany) but there were many more tourists on this one (capacity was 1,000 passengers). The boat had two levels and the top level contained these fold-out plastic orange chairs that actually were quite comfortable (contrary to what it looks like). We sat on the first deck where the bright sun shone warmly on us.
We passed many bridges and saw a lot of sights. There were voice-overs of descriptions of the attractions we passed by in various languages like English, Mandarin, French, and Korean.
After the cruise, we headed towards the Eiffel Tower. But before we mass shot photos again, we went for lunch first.
We all decided to treat our lovely tour guide John for a great job leading us for the tour for lunch.
We had lunch at Traiteur Saveur d’Asie, a Chinese restaurant. Click here to read the review of Traiteur Saveur d’Asie.
Then, we had about 30 minutes to walk around and take photos of the famous Eiffel Tower. I recognized the green expanse of grass and lawn that I’ve seen in photos and movies but first time live in person. It was beautiful.
After some jump shots, photos with a clown, and more trying-to-look-amazing pictures, we boarded the tour bus once more again for our next stop.
It took a bit of time to get to our next stop of Palace of Versailles as the traffic was quite bad in Paris (we were stuck in traffic for two hours on the second day too). During this time, I snoozed so hard and deep. I had only been sleeping 3-4 hours each night on the trip (somehow due to me staying on wifi long each night and attempting to blog but failing but definitely typing out each day’s thoughts for my blog later) so that was why I fell into a deep sleep so quickly on the bus. It was so restful that I definitely didn’t want to get up.
Anyway, by 2:30 p.m., we had arrived at the Palace of Versailles and entered. Versailles was a huge court and mansion for the king, Louis XII, back in the day.
We borrowed some audio-guides and walked through each room of the house to listen and learn about this ancient past. It was quite the building and astonishing to believe it was all man-made 400 years ago through sheer teamwork, willpower, and desire.
After the photos inside and outside of the Versailles garden, we went to have a relatively early dinner at 5:30 p.m.
Mom and I decided to have a French cuisine tonight for dinner while the others headed towards some comfort food — pho.
Mom and I ate at La Place, the best meal of the trip! You can read the review of La Place blogged here.
We finished dinner right in time and we hopped into the awaiting private van that we had rented for a night tour of the city. This tour was not part of the overall 10-day tour and it was an addition to the trip (since it was after-hours for the original tour company). However, this night city tour was so worth it!
We fit snugly into the seven-passenger van and our driver and tour guide of the night did an amazing job leading us around the city to see the major parts of Paris that we didn’t get a chance to view yet.
Our first stop was the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. The sun was just starting to set as we began our journey around the city. It was a very comfortable walk around the cathedral and we actually walked down one of the streets. I saw a lot of French pastries but I was too full to enjoy any… even though I really, really wanted to!
We also saw these gigantic and colourful meringues. I saw watched a man make crepes and was tempted to get some… but after we watched him handle the crepe making and cash at the same time… we thought it wasn’t very sanitary and moved on.
Our next stop was Le Panorama de Paris, a gorgeous view of the city of Paris from atop a hill and Sacré-Cœur Basilica. There were a lot of people here sitting on the steps enjoying the view too. I could see why they call Paris the most romantic city in the world. There were so many couples enjoying the view together.
Our driver and tour guide of the night was fantastic! He brought us to a special spot near the Eiffel Tower near the river where we could take beautiful shots without being interrupted or blocked. The sun had set and unbeknownst to most of us, the Eiffel Tower apparently sparkles every night on the hour (I think it was 9 p.m. but I could be wrong). We were there exactly at the right time and took a lot of photos while it was sparkling. Of course, even after it was done sparkling, it was just as beautiful and we took a lot of pictures too.
We then went to Champs-Élysées and its surrounding area to take photos of the night life. It was so gorgeous at night!
To finish it the night tour all off, we went to back to the Arc de Tromphie. This time though, we saw its gorgeousness at night. We were quite rebellious and took a risk by running into the middle of the road once the cars had passed to take photos in the middle of the road with the Arc de Tromphie right behind us. This was so fun. We actually waited for several rounds of red lights to go off to take these photos. Again, I think our tour guide was so patient with us as we did these shots and didn’t rush us at all. He was such a great tour guide!
Alas, that concluded the city tour and our stay in Paris. It was one more night at the hotel before we headed to the airport! Thank you for such a beautiful vacation, Paris! ❤