Travel: Paris River Cruise + Travel and Saving Tips for Your Trip to Paris

Finally on my last installment for Paris! Since I’m writing this in the middle of the night as I suffer from monthly lady pains, I’m just gonna make this a quickie post. Also, so I can proceed to writing about Geneva next. 😉

After our half-day trip to the Versailles, my husband and I quickly went back to the city to do some last minute shopping for souvenirs and sight seeing. We first dropped by the Palai Garnier which is the official home of the Paris Opera.

dsc04656-1_zpsgpfjd8rs

It’s definitely a grand building and a pleasure to look at. After exploring that area for a bit, we went straight to the Galeries Lafayette. Not to splurge or anything but to just stare and be in awe of the ceiling. Yes, we’re kinda weird. But just look at it!

Paris, Travel, France, River Cruise, Seine Cruise, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, City Cruise, Lafayette, Paris Shopping,

We walked around, getting lost in rows and rows of shops till it was almost sunset. We made our way back to the Eiffel Tower so we can catch a river cruise along the Seine. We wanted to do the cruise at the right moment to maximise what we could get out of it.

Normally, we wouldn’t make much effort just to join a cruise but since the ticket was included in our Paris Pass, we decided that it might be a good way to end our trip.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Travel: Château de Versailles

We reserved the first half of our last day in France for a short trip to Château de Versailles. Seems fitting doesn’t it? Also, considering the itinerary my husband drew up for our Paris trip, it seemed better to venture out of the city on our last day.

I’ve always been fascinated by this place – even before the public’s whole Marie Antoinette obsession that followed the release of Sofia Coppola’s movie. Side note: Didn’t like the movie. It lacked character development. Great shots and soundtrack though. Also, Kirsten Dunst was perfect for the role.

There’s just something so intriguing about this palace. From its grandeur, the lavish lifestyle of its former inhabitants, and for it being the setting of their downfall as well. It actually makes you want to wish that the walls can talk.

To this day, the château remains to be a symbol of France’s absolute monarchy or what they call the ‘old regime’.

Paris, Travel, France, Versailles, Chateau de Versailles, Marie Antoinette, Europe, 2015, Summer, Paris during summer, Summer Versailles,

Getting there:

The easiest way is by taking the RER train (not the Metro) to the Versailles Rive Gauche station. From there, the palace is only a short walk. There will be maps all over the station.

Tickets:

It’s best to book your tickets online as lines outside the palace are horrendous. Especially if you’re visiting in the summer. We were lucky that it was starting to get cold during our visit so we didn’t end up sweating and burning under the sun while we waited to get inside, tickets in hand. We stood in line for about 15 minutes which isn’t so bad though. But of course, on warmer days, the wait will definitely be longer. A ticket that will take you through the palace and the gardens is at 15 Euros. This price also includes the audio guide. If you want to enter the Trianon estates, there will be extra fees.

The château

Located about 20 kilometres from Paris, Versailles used to be a sleepy village but nowadays, its a bit of a posh suburb. Louis XIII had a hunting lodge built in this area but it was later on expanded and renovated by the Kings that followed him: Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI.

Paris, Travel, France, Versailles, Chateau de Versailles, Marie Antoinette, Europe, 2015, Summer, Paris during summer, Summer Versailles,

Paris, Travel, France, Versailles, Chateau de Versailles, Marie Antoinette, Europe, 2015, Summer, Paris during summer, Summer Versailles,

Paris, Travel, France, Versailles, Chateau de Versailles, Marie Antoinette, Europe, 2015, Summer, Paris during summer, Summer Versailles,

Paris, Travel, France, Versailles, Chateau de Versailles, Marie Antoinette, Europe, 2015, Summer, Paris during summer, Summer Versailles,

The château has indeed come a long way from its stone and brick hunting lodge days. It’s the epitome of grandeur – with art and gold leafing in almost every corner, painted ceilings, intricate sculptures, and lavish furniture. It can be overwhelming.

Continue reading

Travel: Paris Streets and Shops, Notre Dame Cathedral, Shakespeare & Co., Sacré Cœur, Montmartre (Paris Day 3)

One of the things I love about Paris is the abundance of interesting stores and cafés that can be found in its various streets and alleys. They’re like little surprises.

France, Travel, Paris, Europe, Holiday, Summer, Paris Streets, Paris Shops,

France, Travel, Paris, Europe, Holiday, Summer, Paris Streets, Paris Shops,

Caught window shopping by the husband. 😉

If you’re a fan of luxury bags, there are a LOT of stores selling pre-loved ones all over Paris. Lili Rose Luxury in Rue Dauphine actually offers pretty good deals. However, if you’re from Asia, I’d say the shops in Tokyo still offer better prices. 😉

dsc04257-1_zpsm7sk7ovc

France, Travel, Paris, Europe, Holiday, Summer, Paris Streets, Paris Shops, River Seine,

France, Travel, Paris, Europe, Holiday, Summer, Paris Streets

France, Travel, Paris, Europe, Holiday, Summer, Paris Streets, Paris Shops, Paris Streets, Love Locks, Love Locks Paris, Pont des Artes,

Continue reading

Travel: Jardin du Luxembourg (Paris Day 3)

It’s 2016 and I’m still behind my posting schedule. I’ve already had three other trips after our Europe trip so you guys can really imagine my backlog. Tee hee. Just looking at it is enough to make me feel overwhelmed. So from now on, I’m gonna keep the travel entries for Europe shorter and will keep it to one to two places per post. I will be eliminating some of the minor places we visited or passed by and just focus on the major ones. Will also just opt for photo heavy posts. I’ll still be giving travel tips but they’ll definitely be a lot shorter. Hope that’s alright with you, loves!

***

On our third day, my husband and I decided to bring some breakfast and eat inside the Luxembourg Gardens to have a picnic of sorts. It was a great plan as we wanted a relaxed and kind of a romantic morning.

France, Travel, Paris, Europe, Holiday, Summer, Luxembourg Gardens, Luxembourg Palace, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris Garden, Paris Flower Garden, Park

It was the perfect place for a breakfast date, to be honest.

Continue reading

Travel: The rest of our 2nd day in Paris (Pantheon + Champs Élysées + Ladurée

* So sorry for the short hiatus! I’ve been running around like a headless chicken these days as I’m so busy with some freelance work, family visits, and travels. If you ever miss me for not being on the blog, you can always find out what I’m up to on Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat (carolific) though I do suck in making snaps on the go too. 🙂

Paris, Travel, Diplomat's Wife, France, Budget Travel, Europe, Europe Travel, Pantheon

We started Day 2 with a quick trip to the Pantheon which is located in the city’s Latin quarter.

dsc04026-1_zpsahxy1izy

Before entering, a photo of the husband outside the Universite de Paris’ Faculté de Droit (Law). Yep, I married a lawyer. A geeky one at that. 😉

Okay, back to the Pantheon. Originally built as a church for St. Genevieve, it was turned into mausoleum after the French Revolution and is now a place to bury remarkable French people.

Paris, Travel, Diplomat's Wife, France, Budget Travel, Europe, Europe Travel, Pantheon

Its crypt is the final resting place of writer/philosopher extraordinaire Voltaire, philosopher/writer/composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau, poet/dramatist/writer Victor Hugo, and chemist-physcist Marie Curie to name a few.

A lot of visitors to this place – particularly foreigners – often forget the nature of this building. Most visitors make so much noise, blowing the solemnity of the Pantheon into smithereens. That’s why I suggest to visit this place early in the morning. Less people – like parents laughing and shouting at their kids as they run after them across the vast hallways.

Paris, Travel, Diplomat's Wife, France, Budget Travel, Europe, Europe Travel, Pantheon

Behind the Pantheon is the St. Etienne du Mont that contains the shrine of St Genevieve – the patron saint of Paris.

Continue reading

Travel: (Paris Day 2) The Louvre + Tuileries Garden + Place de la Concorde

** It’s quite sad that this post (which has been sitting in my draft pile for over a week due to pending edits) was scheduled for posting in the wake of the senseless acts of violence in Paris. My heart goes to the victims and their families as well as those who perished in Beirut due to a similar incident.

Paris, Travel, Europe, The Louvre, Museums, Budget Travel, Visiting The Louvre, What to See, Diplomat's Wife, History,

A visit to Paris won’t be complete without stopping by The Louvre. While the city does have a lot of museums, nothing compares to the Louvre when it comes to the number of historical artefacts it hosts. It sounds so basic to say that the Louvre has got to be one of my favourite museums in Europe – but it is. Tied with Rijksmuseum, to be honest.

A dream job of mine would be to work there and have a humungous employee discount at their souvenir shop. I’ll just buy all the books I want. 😀 😀

My last visit before this year was in January 2013 and I wrote a quick article for Rappler on some of my must-see pieces. You can find that article by clicking on this link: Visiting The Louvre. If you’re a first time visitor and would love to get a few tips in getting in and exploring the museum, I think that article can serve as a primer.

For this post, I won’t go into detail on the pieces anymore since I already did that in the Rappler article. This is going to be more of a photo diary from our recent visit in August.

Continue reading

Travel: Paris Day 1 – Musée de l’Armée + Les Invalides + Napoleon Bonaparte Tomb + Eiffel Tower

Back to travel posts! Right after we arrived in Paris, my husband and I freshened up and went straight to exploring for a bit. The first stop was Musée d’Orsay.

Paris, Travel, Musée d'Orsay, Musée de l'Armée, Eiffel Tower, Diplomat's Wife, Europe, Europe Travel, France, Budget Travel

And since it’s summer in Paris and it was about two in the afternoon, we found this:

Paris, Travel, Musée d'Orsay, Musée de l'Armée, Eiffel Tower, Diplomat's Wife, Europe, Europe Travel, France, Budget TravelOf course, my spirits weren’t dampened. We each have a Paris Pass! Surely, there’s a special line. Yes, there is! But it’s also equally long. *insert disappointed face emoji here 😒*

For those who haven’t heard of the Paris Pass, it’s your ticket to a lot of the attractions in Paris and includes a lot of perks and freebies too. Oh, you can also opt to get a train ticket with them that will give you unlimited Metro rides for the duration of your stay.

Some would say it’s kinda gimmicky but you actually save money and time by using it if you plan to go to a lot of museums and attractions. Since it’s the husband’s first time in Paris, we had a pretty tight itinerary so we could go to a lot of the ‘must-sees’.

Sadly, we had to skip Musée d’Orsay for this trip due to the crazy line. I really wanted to go show him my favourite Renoir which can be found in this museum. 😦 Weird enough, we didn’t have the same problem with the Louvre. But I’ll talk about this on a different post.

We then moved on to Musée de l’Armée which is something we’re really excited about.

Paris, Travel, Musée d'Orsay, Musée de l'Armée, Eiffel Tower, Diplomat's Wife, Europe, Europe Travel, France, Budget Travel

France’s National Military Museum is located inside Les Invalides. A compound in the 7th Arrondissement that houses a couple of beautiful buildings that relate to the country’s rich military history. Aside from Musée de l’Armée, you can also find a couple of war monuments, a hospital and retirement home for war veterans, and even a former Church that houses Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb. We’ll get to that in a bit. 😉

Paris, Travel, Musée d'Orsay, Musée de l'Armée, Eiffel Tower, Diplomat's Wife, Europe, Europe Travel, France, Budget Travel

Continue reading