I WENT to Paris!
I previously wrote this post in Indonesian language — based on my dear spoiled brother Ayos Purwoaji‘s request. But here, you’re going to read the English version. You can find the Indonesian version on his blog here.
Click on the photos to view larger images
Paris, yes, you are such a beauty!
If someday there’s a man comes to and tells you that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world, all you have to do is simply this: TRUST him!
Although I have never been to London, or Brasilia, or New York, or… places in Egypt, but I am pretty sure that he is not lying when he says Paris is one gorgeous city.
Three weeks ago, seven friends of mine and I went to Paris. We headed to Paris from Amsterdam — we spent some three weeks (April – May) in Hilversum, the Netherlands, to study new media.
We did not have much money to travel nicely to Paris; we only relied on our scholarship’s funding from Nufic – Nesso. But, bet ya, we have this spirit of “hell yeah, we should be kicking Paris!” that finally brought us to the city!
There are several options to travel to Paris from Amsterdam. You have airplanes, trains, and buses. We chose the last option, Eurolines buses service, because that was the cheapest and the most reasonable option for us. Each of us only needed to pay 85 euro for the trip, yes, two ways. It was a good deal compared to Thalys – express train – that would have cost us 130 euro for merely one way.
We did not check planes because we did not want to deal with those immigration stuff and a long queue for international flights. Especially for us: some dark non-western people. Bus was the best option, despite the sad fact that we should spend some six to seven hours on it.
A Eurolines Service — the bus!
We left Amsterdam Amstel station at around 10 p.m. Friday night. The passangers were mostly backpackers and some “ethnic minorities” people in the Netherlands, such as Moroccan.
With only 85 euro of course we did not receive a first class service. The bus did not have a toilet, and only stopped twice in two different gas stations.
What impressed me was the driver! Especially when he said: “Put your seatbelt on or you will be fined 150 euro” and “The bus will stop for 30 minutes. Take your time and get back here on time or we will leave you.”
Discipline impressed most of Indonesians, I guess.
He wasn’t joking. He would not even tolerate two minutes late! So, we chose to not move from our seats well, I went for a pee once tho, hehe.
My sleepy friends right after they got off the bus
The night bus was not that bad actually. It was late and all we wanted to do once we got on the bus was: sleep. We opened our eyes at around 6 a.m. in Paris! The city welcomed us with its cold morning breeze (still wonder why they even called it “spring,” it wasn’t lovely at all. The weather was UGLY!)
When you’re in Europe, I suggest you to check this kind of websites to find out how is the weather going to be in the next day. Otherwise, you will probably end up wearing a wrong costume (like me one day in Amsterdam, when I wore short skirt and legging when it turned out to be a very cold day! Like 6 degrees? Yikes!).
A queue to buy a Metro ticket
Paris’ weather was “friendly” that day, it was 12 degrees and we did have SUN! We stopped at Gallieni station; they call it a metro, some kind of subway (?), it connects places in Paris.
We decided to buy a one-day metro ticket. It said: 12 euro per ticket. But it came to my surprise when the officer only charged me for, guess!, 5.90 euro! Later on I found out that that was a “kids” price, God Save Jamie Cullum!, they considered me as an “underage” passenger! (I was sooooo happy! Not for the cheaper price, well probably that too, but more importantly for the age wrong guessing the officer made! Oh, she made my day )
Hokay, so where were we going? Here’s the list:
1. Louvre Museum
Louvre early morning. What a BEAUTY!
It was still dark, very early in the morning at around 6.45 or 7 a.m. when we reached Louvre. The museum stunned me to the bones! There were only one or two people jogging at around the museum, and a couple (tourists) walking. I felt that I own the museum, it was very quiet and – yes, I overstate this – magical, the fountains haven’t even sprayed! IT WAS B.E.A.UTIFUL! Without the crowd, only old museum walls and me, ugh, us!
My friend Imung, he was touched by these ravens flew around the museum walls. Oh people, should I suggest you something, it would be: go to Louvre very early in the morning, you won’t regret it!
Me in front of the pyramids! WHOA. My fave spots of all!
It costs you 9.50 to get into the museum, minus the special exhibition (it was Dali three weeks ago). It’s, unquestionably, VERY CHEAP — compares to what they have, oh, thousands of paintings, sculptures, antiques, prints, and drawings! Even cheaper than Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam: 14 euro for fewer collections.
Walls of Louvre Museum
Louvre has two floors and three main doors: Sully, Denon, and Richelieu – it holds over 300,000 items! How many hours do you think you need to enjoy all those items? I will say: AT LEAST 24! But guess how long did I stay inside the museum? 30 F MINUTES.
No, I am not joking. I just wanted to die or kill myself! It’s like: you finally find an apple juice fountain when you were thirsty to death, but only get 3 seconds to drink. You’ll die anyway. 30 minutes inside the Louvre museum.
My only question to the officers was: where’s Mona Lisa? It’s a sin to get inside Louvre and not bump into the lady. So I was running like a lunatic to see Da Vinci’s La Joconde. And I did meet her! I WAS SO HAPPY *sobbing*
Paolo Caliari’s The Marriage at Cana
I also managed to see Eugene Delacroix’s La Liberte Guidant le Peuple plus Paolo Caliari’s The Marriage at Cana. 30 minutes. I am sure I was the first person to get in and out the museum that day!
Note: just ignore whatever signs you read that prohibiting pictures taking inside the museum, everyone TAKES photos.
2. Notre-Dame Cathedral
Don’t take the metro, or buses, or taxis, or anything to reach the cathedral from Louvre. I suggest you to WALK! Every corner of Paris is pretty and worth to enjoy! You only need ten to fifteen minutes-walk from Louvre to Notre-Dame, but if you choose to not only walk but also enjoying Paris, you might need more than that.
Anton Muhajir in front of the cathedral
There were a lot of people and stores selling flowers and used books, paintings, drawings. You will enjoy the walk.
Notre-Dame was so crowded that day, and it might have taken us hours to enjoy the cathedral till top. So we decided to only look around the church. Beware of “immigrants” or beggars, when you’re here. When they ask you: “Do you speak English?” just said: “No” if you reply “Yes” they will immediately throw you a letter saying that she has been stranded in Paris for three months and does not have enough money to go home. They ask for money.
Birds. And us. I looked so tired, no?
So, just say NO.
3. Shakespeare and Company (Bookshop)
Don’t you dare to not stop by the most famous bookshop in Paris, Shakespeare and Company, once you hit Notre-Dame. It’s VERY CLOSE to the cathedral, you only need to cross the street.
I wanted to go to the bookstore because my favorite couple, Jesse and Celine in Before Sunset film, finally met again — in the bookshop — after some eight years (?) of a separation. It was kinda romantic
I LOVE THE BOOKSHOP!!!!
The bookshop is very modest and classic. They arranged the shop into some old libraries. I LOVE IT! Although they designed it classically, they have complete modern collections, you will love it too.
4. The Eiffel Tower
Yep, we continued our trip to Eiffel Tower from the church. And as you can predict, we were starving at that moment. Our suggestion: find a Chinese food restaurant, they have rice, good food, and cheap
Well, of course there’s always a possibility that their food are containing pork. But as long as you [I am talking about Muslim people] pray before eating, I am sure God will not get mad. So there, we enjoyed our breakfast-lunch in a Chinese restaurant near Eiffel Tower.
The tower… it did not astonish me, well it is an astonishing piece, but… well, towers are just not my kinda thing I guess! Surely you can take a trip to the top Eiffel Tower, and get to see Paris’ view from the top.
Never thought that we will miss the SUN [light] so much
But, again, we don’t have time for that. Besides, the sun was shining (although not too) brightly and the weather was good. We preferred to lie down and enjoy the sun. Some of us even slept during the Eiffel nap. It was pleasant to sleep under the giant tower.
5. Arc de Triomphe
To be honest, I don’t know what the H this building/tower is about. But well, it’s very famous and so I went There was a military ceremony when we got there, but I didn’t really pay attention on that. I felt my toes were burning and my ankles were crying.
Another pose of Anton Muhajir
6. Concorde Street
Concorde Rue or Street, was our next destination. My friend said “it’s Paris’ Orchard Road [one famous shopping area in Singapore, we Indonesians are very familiar with it].” There were a lot of expensive boutiques, and they even had a long queue to enter Louis Vuitton boutique. Impressive!
A line to get into LV
7. Place de la Concorde
Another walk session. Place de la Concorde is a monument (?), or like a monument. Not really different from Indonesian’s National Monument. But the panorama is pretty; you could see Eiffel Tower from here.
I bought waffles and Edy Can bought a hot dog near the monument.
You can see Eiffel from here
We “explored” seven sites that day! But it was still 8 p.m. and we scheduled to leave Paris only at 11 p.m. So we went walking again, had dinner in another Chinese restaurant again, and enjoying Paris to the last bite!
All stores already closed, so we went to several metro stations to buy some souvenirs. Everybody was happy! Of course that wasn’t enough, but it was not bad at all.
Ah, I need to get back to the city one day to visit Louvre and taking pleasure in all items they have. Hopefully, the metro officers will still mistake me for “kids”!