Paris Day 4: I'm Not Leaving

Today we were supposed to join City Free Tour’s Montmartre walk at 10:30 am.
 Sadly, we woke up late again and missed the tour.  With nowhere else to go, we just went to the Cathedral of Notre Dame since it’s just a short stroll from our hotel.   According to our tour guide yesterday, Notre Dame was almost demolished during the olden times.  The Parisians have abandoned and forgotten about the cathedral.   Thanks to Victor Hugo’s novel, Notre Dame de Paris (Hunchback of Notre Dame), interest grew in restoring it again and saving it from destruction.  Thank God for that.

The famous Notre Dame 

Amazing intricate carvings
Interior of the cathedral

The façade of the church is adorned with elaborate carvings that even with the use of today’s technology would be hard to make.   The details of the entrance are awe-inspiring.  At the top, gargoyles watch over the cathedral and Ile de la Cite.  Inside towering pillars support the high ceiling of the church.  The intricate stained glass patterns which provided natural light inside are unbelievable. Notre Dame used to be the center of Christianity. Royalties, like Napoleon, were crowned here.  Just the thought of it gives me chills.  

Where to eat?



 The beautiful metro station of Cité

Afterwards, we tried visiting Sainte Chapelle.  Unfortunately, it was closed.  Talk about bad luck.  After eating our lunch, we headed to Galeries Lafayette, the Harrods of Paris.  This is one of the most luxurious department stores in Europe.   The huge art nouveau building is an attraction itself.   Its stained glass dome would match the ones in Notre Dame.  The interior design shouts opulence and elegance. The atmosphere inside is grand.   Everything in this department store is expensive and I heard overpriced.  So we just bought some bags and perfumes and waited till we get to Champs Elysees. 

Stained glass dome of Galeries Lafayette

Believe it or not, this is a department store

 The main reason why we went here is because of its rooftop.  Located at the 8th floor of the building, the observation deck is fairly crowded.   This spot is one of my favorites in Paris.   Building of Haussmannian architecture dominates the view while the Eiffel Tower can be seen at the distant.  The Opera Garnier is just nearby so the view of it from the deck is spectacular.   The best thing about it is it’s free of charge. That’s hard to find in an expensive city like Paris.

Palais Garnier from the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette

Bird's eye view
Feel free to use this as your desktop background

The Eiffel Tower and the Parisian chimneys

Tourists being tourists

While claiming our VAT refund for the items we purchased, we met two Filipina medical professionals who just had a convention in Spain and was touring Paris.  The moment we met them, we just felt comfortable with them.  Since we were going to a river cruise that night, we invited them to join us. 

The two funny Filipinas we met in Paris

 On our way back to the Latin Quarter, we passed by the fountain of Saint Michael.  After taking our group pictures in front it, a French woman approached us and eagerly asked, “are you real Filipinos?”   Although confused (and freaked out a little bit), in unison, we said yes.  Then the unexpected thing happened. She started talking in Filipino!  “Miss ko na Pilipinas. Masaya doon. Dito malungkot! (I miss the Philippines. It's fun there unlike here!)” she said with her strong French accent.  We just laughed the whole time.  It was amazing to hear a French talk in Filipino.  Not to mention that she’s good.  She said that she worked as a volunteer in Manila and lived in the slums for a couple of years.   She enjoyed the experience and would like to come back.  “Gusto ko na balik pero mahal pamasahe, (I want to go back but the ticket's expensive)” she said with disappointment.   It’s funny how a person living in one of the most beautiful cities in world would rather be in the chaotic slums of Manila.  I guess she’s a testament that “it’s more fun in the Philippines!”

River Seine

Parisian sunset

Excited for the cruise

Calm river

Here we go

The Eiffel Tower from the river!

Look at her glowing

Take a closer look

How romantic

Parisians hanging out

After having dinner at a Greek pita restaurant near Saint Severin, we went to Pont Neuf for our boat cruise.   The banks of the river are packed with teenagers.    Festive mood is in the air.  Wines and beers on their hands while having a laugh.  Romantic couples kiss passionately as the sun sets.  Everyone is waving at the excited tourist as boats pass by.  Scenes like this make me want to live in Paris for good.


1.  When you’re traveling be as flexible as possible.   Don’t be a prisoner of your itinerary.  If you missed an attraction in your list, don’t worry there’s always a next time.  

2.  Read about the history of Notre Dame first or join a tour to appreciate the cathedral.

3.  Notre Dame Cathedral: website, free night shows (video), free tour, opening hours, directions, and tickets at the top.

4.  Attend a holy mass.

5.  Check out the park at the back of Notre Dame.

6.  Go at the top of the cathedral and see what the gargoyles can see.

7.  Galeries Lafayette: website, and  location, directions and mall hours.

8.  There is a free fashion show held in Galeries Lafayette every Friday.  

9.  Shop early in Galeries Lafayette to avoid the crowds.  It gets chaotic in the afternoon when the Chinese bus tours arrive.  If you’re on a budget and would just like to window shop, trust me you don’t want to compete for the salesladies’ attention with the Chinese who buy luxury items in bulk.  

10.  Join a river cruise: 

What we joined: Vedettes Pont Neuf

Other boat companies you should check out: Bateaux Mouches, Bateaux Parisiens and Batobus (transportation).

11. Sunset is the best time for a river cruise.


This entry was posted on Sunday, August 4, 2013 and is filed under ,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

One Response to “Paris Day 4: I'm Not Leaving”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...