12 Dec 2007 (Wednesday): Geneva - Paris

It's the 6th day of our trip. Since morning, we set off and headed for Paris.
  • One point to note: VAT redemption in Switzerland could be processed at the immigration point. Oops, it's not really the immigration point since we need not to show our passport at all!
  • All of us had been mentally prepared that it's going to be a long journey and therefore children were given priority seats. Well, we landed up with first class seats too!
  • It only took us about 30 minutes to reach the border. One interesting fact learnt: Half of the Geneva airport sits on the French ground!

Beaunne, France

  • We made a stop at Beaunne. The intent was to get us to go wine tasting... unfortunately, after all the walk and run (approximately 20 minutes to reach the place), we were informed wine-tasting was only available from 2 pm.
  • Nevertheless, caught some beautiful sights of this little old town - that offered a very different look, compared to Paris! How I wish we had slightly more time to roam around here!
Paris, France
  • We reached Paris at around 4 pm. The sky had started getting dark.
  • From far, we saw the Eiffel Tower, and it started blinking as we drove near! A blinking tower? Something I did not see in my 2 previous visits! It was beautiful!
  • Yes, we made a photo-stop there and of course, everybody's busily clicking their cameras!
  • Oh yes, I shot a video instead - Click at the clip at the side bar to watch (uploaded in YouTube).

13 Dec 2007 (Thursday): Paris

On Day 7, we had a local guide for the Paris city tour. He was more interested to reciting what he had in his script rather than engaging us in the commentary! Hm... lack the human touch. In fact, for a couple of times, he was rather impatient and shut people up, just like the teacher expecting the class to sit down quietly to listen (er... I think hear would be more appropriate here!). Well, not many of us have background knowledge of France... henceforth... most people were switched off ... His commentary? Gone with the wind...

Place de La Concorde

  • It's the world's largest square, claimed the itinerary. Well, I thought Tiananmen is larger...
  • Anyway, did not find this square impressive, except it has a few fountains (ok, the sculptures are beautiful) and an obelisk, which was a gift from Egypt.
  • A ferriwheel was recently set up... not spectacular since we were going to see the London Eye and we have the Singapore Flyer at home.
Arc De Triumph

  • Erected by Napoleon in 1806 as a memorial to his victorious army which has since 1919 become a National Monument to the unknown soldiers of France.
  • As the coach drove around the monument, it was pointed out to us that 12 main avenues extended from this central point.
  • Yes, that reminded me when both Lee Choo and myself climbed up to the top to have the pananomic view of the city. Hm... The view was magnificent. So, it's really a pity that there wasn't any stop here this time.

Champs Elysees

  • Among the 12 avenues, this is the most famous one. There wasn't much elaboration on this. In fact, some group members were asking whether they would be going to Chams Elysees. However, the guide did not point out that they were there!
  • Well, it's really a road with lots of branded shops lined up on both sides. For a amateur shopper, one day is not enough!

Notre Dame

  • It was a great disappointment that the coach did not stop at this significant cathedral. Not only because of its historical significance, but also its magnificent structure - the stain glass paintings (which are known to be the rose windows). Have been to several old cathedrals and churches (BTW, can't tell the difference)... This one stands out - in terms of the artwork found within. To date, none of those I visited could bit this one.
  • Of course, there's also where we find the zero point (ie. the centre of Paris), right in front of the cathedral.

Alexandra Bridge

  • Instead, there was a photo stop at the open area near the Alexandra Bridge. Not much info from the guide again. Of yes, vaguely recall he said the building facing the bridge is the Hospital for the Invalids and behind it was the tomb of Napolean. Well, well... so what's the significance? We were told that there's a high percentage of handicaps in France. Why? No answer.

Lourve Museum

  • The coach only passed by... not making any stop, assuming that everybody would be coming back the next day for the optional tour. So presumptuous!

Eiffel Tower

  • Eiffel Tower, built for the exhibition in 1889, using 7,000 tonnes of metal! Wow!
  • This was the highlight for the day. We took the lift up to the 2nd storey... Click at the clip at the side bar to watch (uploaded in YouTube).
  • Though we saw the awesome structure the previous night, The birdeye's view of the city was great. It was beautiful... with the River Seine flowing across the city.
  • Well, did you notice how far it casts its shadow?

After that...

  • Shopping was in the afternoon itinerary. What? Shopping? Yes, for those who have heard much about the Perfumes and LV bags. Yes, it was good harvest for some people... OK, people do research on everything, just like I would do research on places that I go to... there are also those who do research on the latest models of branded goods! No, did not buy another thing except a hat that cost me 7 euros at a 'pasa malam' store outside Lafayette.

  • Instead, we roamed slightly further to the Opera House. Went there before... but it's something we don't find in Singapore... not tired admiring the structure and scultpures.

14 Dec 2007 (Friday): Paris

20 people in the group joined this optional tour. Prior leaving Singapore, I was flipping through the guide... Since public transport was not quite accessible from the hotel, it seemed the best way to pass the day was to join the optional tour that cost us nearly 100 euros. Anyway, it's worth going to these places, in particular Lourve Museum :D

Catherine Lye was our guide for the day. What a vast difference, in terms of professionalism in guiding! It was clear, and more importantly simply to understand... we were engaged most of the time! Learn more about the Palace and the Museum :D

Versailles Palace
  • It's the 2nd time to Versailles Palace. Asked me what I remember about this palace since the last trip - The grand stateroom filled with mirrors (ie. the Hall of Mirrors) and the garden of some symmetrical and geometrical design. The impression was - it's huge!
  • Of course, Napolean was the name that kept coming up most of the time... also, Louis XIV. Ah ha! I could recall the elaborated Bedrooms of the King and Queen!
  • Something added after this trip: A important document, ie. the TREATY was signed here. However, don't have much background info on this... what a petty!

Lourve Museum

  • Mona Lisa is the limelight of Lourve, probably the main attraction. Nevertheless, be forewarned! It's one of the smallest pieces of work in the entire museum! Furthermore, it's secured behind a glass case! It looked dim! What impressed me were the many other pieces of work there - the big ones, those that depicts parts of the revolutionary history, the culture and life of the renaissance period, the greek sculptures.
  • The last time I came with Lee Choo, it was a very thorough walk, though without much idea about the background of the masterpieces. However, this time was more prepared and armed with more info... of course, thanks to the guide, learnt the stories behind some of the pieces.

  • With the popularity of the "Da Vinci Code", of course, it has also raised the profile of Lourve - oh yes, the famous glass pyramid (by IM Pei) is the landmark.

  • Learnt the significance of several paintings - the "Cornonation of Josephine" (above). A few things gathered from the gigantic painting - The event took place at Notre Dame (Tell-tale sign in the painting? The carvings shown on the right side of the painting). Napolean was supposed to be crowned by the priest, however, he crowned himself instead. So, the painter cleverly presented another scene. Also, within the painting, we could find Josephine's daughter, too! Oops! Napolean was once a stepfather?
  • Another interesting fact is, geometrical shapes such as triangles and circles were widely used by artists like Leonardo da Vinci. It was pointed out to us how to look out for the use of triangles here... so much so that we would notice most of the main figure of the painting landed up in the centre. As of the painting (below), we also learnt to interpret that the child on the left was Jesus' cousin while the one on the right was Jesus. How to differentiate? Well, from the hands' gestures - for praying and blessing (respectively).

  • Painters like to represent themselves somewhere within their work - hey, it was something that they could not do with today's photography technology (of course, when the photos are not doctored in anyway).
  • Among those that depict the revolutionary period, there was one that inspired Victor Hugo to write the well-loved Les Miserable!

River Cruise

  • The day ended with the River Cruise. The previous time I took the afternoon cruise... so, everything seemed usual. This round, because of the early sunset, the entire river was lited up with the nostalgia shade of yellow... the river bank, the buildings... oh yes, and the chilly icy cold wind! Well, survived at the outdoor deck most of the time. It was a good one.


  • We had our dinner at the foodcourt at Lourve.
  • Couldn't resist the paela (Spainish seafood rice). Got one plate... hm... a bit too oily.
  • Also had a pot of ice cream :D Oops! It's the 2nd pot for the day!
  • Had been eyeing for the French pancake... Yes, still had some time... bought one with nutella fill... hm... not very tasty... but I've tried one :D

Our Accomodation in Paris

Novotel Accor, Le Bourget (12-15 Dec) Room 242

Location: Not accessible by public transport. In fact, was surprise to hear that we had to take a cab to the metro station.

Bedroom: Was generally comfortable and pretty spacious, as compared to those in the Paris city centre.

Breakfast: Standard items... oh yes, really stuck to the time given by the tour leader... not earlier than what's arranged... even if you were very hungry!

Encounter #1: A bathroom with door that cannot be closed! The frame is too small for the door... hey, did this only happen recently? or it's by default by design?

Encounter #2: A hair-dryer that sang 24 hours! Well, nothing was done despite the front desk was informed in the next morning.

Encounter #3: There was no hot water in the 3rd morning - because the central system was not working!

Last but not least... It was a different experience when compared with my 5-night stay at the Novotel Hotel @ Wangfujing, Beijing this May - in terms of the promptness to the service, the range of services available in the hotel in meeting the needs of the guests.

Itinerary (Paris) - by Travel Agency

Day 6: Geneva - Paris
  • Crossing the French border - passes by medieval Beaunne via Fountainebleau Forest to Paris

Day 7: Paris

  • Arc De Triump (erected by Napoleon in 1806 as a memorial to his victorious army which has since 1919 become a National Monument to the unknown soldiers of France
  • Place de La Concorde - the world's largest square
  • Champs Elysees
  • Eiffel Tower, built for the exhibition in 1889
  • Notre Dame
  • Louvre Museum

Day 8: Paris (Free Day)

Day 9: Paris to London via Eurostar