Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Trippin' : Paris

The first time I went to the City of Love, I did NOT fall in love, contrary to most travelers, who are instantly enamored with the French capital. My first few hours in Paris were marred by a series of disasters: my train from the airport to the city was hours late, my phone had been cut off, and I got lost the moment I got out of the subway, dragging my 30-kilo suitcase dressed in a thin sundress and flip flops,  which were immediately drenched as it started pouring heavily. So, when I think of my first time in Paris, those desperate moments are what come to mind right away. You can understand the lack of love. 

Which is why I was looking forward to visiting Paris again on the last leg of our recently concluded European trip. Pat, surprisingly, had never been. We would be arriving on a Friday afternoon, and leaving late Sunday evening, so we didn't really have much time to go around. We had already agreed to skip the Louvre touring, and just walk around neighborhoods, and visit the major sights. But then at this point, my luggage was already overweight, so we decided to ship a balikbayan box home. Which made Pat decide to go shopping. And I mean SHOPPING. He hardly bought any clothes in London, so he asked me if it was ok that we spend most of our Saturday buying him a new wardrobe. Hell, YEAH! I had so much fun doing it. It was like going on a spree, without spending my money, haha! Plus, we got to take advantage of the EUR 175 single receipt minimum to get a tax rebate, so we were able to get a lot of shopping money back. If ever you decide to go on a similar spree in Paris, contact Liza or Boualem of Eliza travel at +33-0140506074 or text +33-609182432. Their address is on 20 Rue Bois le Vent, 75016 in Paris (Metro: La Muette). A regular balikbayan box will cost you 65 euros to ship, and will arrive in about a month, door-to-door to your Philippine address. They also have an express delivery where you pay 100 euros to have a balikbayan box (maximum limit of 25 kilos, with a surcharge for every extra kilo) delivered to your door in a week. Pat and I opted for this, and we got our box the Tuesday after we arrived. It only took three days to get it. Amazing!

Needless to say, I enjoyed Paris this time around. How could I not? I was traipsing around with my French-speaking lover (a huge help), shopping, crepe-eating, re-visiting the beautiful sights, and soaking up the sunny weather—everything worked out perfectly this time. Here are photos from that trip. I hope they make you fall in love with Paris as much as I did.

Ever the perfect gentleman, Pat took my overweight luggage and rolled it plus all our other heavy suitcases himself on the busy streets. Just one of the reasons why I love him so much! 

An electric car! So cool!

I packed this breezy outfit hoping I would get to wear it sooner. But the weather was so crappy most of the time we were in Europe that I was only able to bring it out in Paris. Top and skirt, designed by me and made by Dan Cadiz (same designer who made by peplum dress)

Gold bangles by SM Accessories. Thrifted bag.

Notre Dame in all its glory

These individually crafted statues are all over the cathedral's facade. It boggles the mind to think of  how much time it must have taken to complete them. That man holding his head is Saint Denis, patron of Paris, who, according to Wikipedia, picked up his head after it was chopped off, and walked ten kilometers, preaching a sermon the entire way. 

Notre Dame is also famous for its gargoyles. This one isn't as scary. He looks kawawa (pitiful)

On our way to dinner, I spotted this man on the steps leading down the Seine River. He looked quite content reading by the light of the setting sun. 

Gorgeous vintage jewelry, the window display of 20 Sur 20 boutique on Rue Des Lavandières

Spotted: a really cool graffiti'd door

Priceless photo: the golden sun setting behind the Louvre pyramid

A peek inside the Louvre

Inuman (drinking session), Parisian style. 

Pat and I cannot remember where we had dinner that night, but I do remember that their pate was deelish!

Saturday, day 2 in Paris. Stopped by a market near our hotel to admire the produce. 
Look at all that fresh seafood!

This is as close as we got to the Eiffel Tower. We were more anxious to get to the balikbayan box cargo company!

And the shopping commences. I had time to take a quick snap of the Paris Opera.

The beautiful domed ceiling of Galeries Lafayette. 

If you're keen on getting a detaxe or vat refund, you're better off shopping in grand magasins or department stores like Galeries Lafayette that house a multitude of brands under one roof. You'll need to spend a minimum of 175 euros in the same store, on the same day to be able to qualify. Pooling receipts with a boyfriend, friend or family member in a similar shopping frame of mind also helps.  

Of course when you're buying alcohol worth 3,500 euros, the detaxe shouldn't be a problem. 

Another beautiful door in a rich pine green.
On the way to Sacré-Cœur Basilica, I got sidetracked by a flea market beside the metro station where we got off. 

The vendors sold mostly old furniture and knick-knacks, but a few were displaying some pretty weird things.

Like doll's eye balls. *shudder*

And some cool stuff, such as these typography letters.

I was overwhelmed by the mass of people congregating on the steps leading to the Basilica. 

See? I almost didn't want to go up anymore. 

But the view when you get to the top makes it worthwhile. Monmartre is the highest point in Paris.
The dizzying height did not stop this performer from defying gravity, climbing up a towering lamp post on the edge of a balcony with his bare hands, and his prop, a football. 

The tricks he could do with that ball were incredible. Here he is kicking it in the air. He never once dropped that ball. 

Visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside the Basilica, but I was sneaky and managed to get a shot.

The requisite outfit photo. Dress, Primark. Pearl collar, made by my sister Nina. Booties, Rachel Comey.
I also tried to take an outfit shot by the stairs, but as you can tell from my expression, I was disgusted by the garbage bags beside me! We managed to make friends with that couple behind us. The girl turned out to be a photographer who works for the US Army. 

The whimsical carousel at the foot of the Basilica.

While looking for a place to eat dinner, we came across a huge crowd of people gathered around another amazing street artist. His music was so merry and infectious that both the young, and young at heart skipped and danced along to his beats. 
Even though it was nearly midnight, I couldn't resist the call of crepe. 

It doesn't look appetizing in photos, but trust me, this chocolate crepe was heavenly! 

Sunday, final day in Paris. Saw this claw foot tub in the window of a home store. Nice! 

Paris' "love locks," public declarations of affection (and imprisonment).

Couples from all over the world come to engrave or mark their names and initials on locks, and then throw the keys into the Seine as a declaration of their undying love. Don't think that a padlock can guarantee forever love. According to an article in The Independent, "from time to time a dejected ex-lover has been seen desperately hacking at a padlock with a pair of pliers." Ouch.

Sunny Paris outfit: Blazer, Uniqlo. Tie-waist top, Primark. Shorts, Pull and Bear. Scarf, thrifted. Tiger print cuff, Martina-Martina. Leather wrap-around band, H&M. Bag, thrifted. Sandals, SM Parisian. 

I love accessorizing with scarves. Too bad I can't do it much in Manila. It's often too hot!

Ibang level ang street performers dito. Sosyal! (Paris street performers are on another level. Very classy!)


And more doors.

The Medusa head was captivatingly freaky.

Near the Sorbonne University, we came across this beautiful building, and had to stop for a photo. 

I deeply regret not having the time to visit Centre Georges Pompidou, a complex that houses their bibliothèque publique d'information, or public library, and the largest museum for modern art in Europe, the Musée National d'Art Moderne.

Paris does not lack for gorgeous architecture. Maybe that's why you don't hear a lot of tourists talking about visiting the City Hall. I would never have gone if it wasn't near a shoe shop where Pat was making a purchase. Situated in a large square, it's quite beautiful. 

Quick snap of the Arc de Triomphe. It being a Sunday, most of the boutiques are closed. But the shops along the Champs-Élysées are open. Be prepared for the pushing and shoving tourists and shoppers. 

We were running late and only had a couple of hours before we had to leave for the airport. But Pat was intent on purchasing his blue suede shoes, so we took a risk and hopped on the subway to get to La Défense, the business district at the westernmost part of Paris. They have a mall there that's also open on Sunday and not as crowded as the stores on Champs-Élysées. I highly suggest going here. Seeing the Grande Arche (above) was worth the stress and rush of the trip. It was truly awe-mazing!

I have a lot more photos from Berlin, Ireland and Scotland, which I'm exited to share with you. But I'm saving that for another post, so stay tuned! :)


  1. Hi Kat! I didn't fall in love with Paris either! Hahaha! So I am going to give it another chance. Hopefully soon! :)

    hope to see you soon! :)

  2. The food! The Marion-Cotillard-ness of it all (yep, Batman hangover!). Alvs and I have yet to go to Paris—one day someday :)

  3. I love that you're wearing SM Parisian flats in Paris, no less! Hooray for cheap but chic SM finds! They look great on you and they look expensive from how you put it together with your outfits :)

  4. @Coni: Yes, it must be given a try! There's a reason why tons of people go gaga over the place haha! When did you go and what did you do?

    @Mariel: Oooh, I have yet to watch Batman. But I'm pretty sure you and Alvs will love it! Markets palang, panalo na! I'm not a big fan of their breakfasts though. Nothing beats brunch, New York style! :)

    @The Sunset Goddess: (SM) Parisian in Paris! Hahaha, hilarious! I didn't even realize the irony! Thank you for dropping by! :)

  5. hi,
    did u have a good experience with the agency you dealt with that sent your balikbayan box?


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