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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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. 😉

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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!

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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.

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

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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. 🙂

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 😉

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Travel: Arrival in Paris + Hotel Home Moderne, Paris (Review) + Antique Book Market

After a short stay in Amsterdam, we took the Thalys to Paris. It was a pleasant journey that took a little over 3 hours.

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Thankfully, we took the train on that particular day as just a few days later, a gunman boarded the same train and planned to shoot innocent passengers as the train sped through Belgium! Good thing there were 3 men – 2 Americans and a French national who stopped him! It’s still a running joke that if it were Alvin and me on that train, God knows what would have happened. :)) But I digress.

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Getting there

We arrived at Garre du Nord station where we were able take the Metro to where our hotel was.

We were lugging around big suitcases and one thing I should tell you is that Paris Metro stations are not that conducive for people with humungous trolleys with them.

I knew this already and I know I should have packed less but we were staying in Europe for 3 effing weeks! I’m not the backpacker type of traveller either – I need my hair products and I will never sacrifice my clothing choices. So I pulled and huffed my way to the other side of Garre du Nord.

Alvin tried to help me but I was too proud. I did let a couple of French guys help me carry my suitcase up a few flights of stairs in two separate incidents. For two good reasons – 1, my suitcase was indeed heavy and 2, I just want show Alvin that I still got ‘it’. 😛 Whoever started the rumour that the French are snobs, I really have no idea whom you’ve met. The last time I was in Paris in 2013 and on this recent visit as well, I’ve only met kind and helpful Parisians!

We got off at Plaisance where the hotel was a good 10-minute walk from. It’s not too far, to be honest. But with heavy luggage, it did feel like forever.

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Location

Hotel Home Moderne is located in the 15th arrondissement so it’s not too near the city centre and all the attractions. However, with the Paris Metro line, everything in the city and its outskirts are always easily accessible.

It’s more of a residential area where there are quaint cafés and small restaurants. If you want to see actual Parisians (even in the summer!), I suggest you stay here. You also get the feel of actually ‘living’ in Paris because of the neighbourhood.

It’s a tourist-friendly area but not touristy – you get what I’m saying? There’s an abundance of small grocery stores which also makes everything easier.

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