Throwback: May- June 2012.
I love Paris. Paris was the only city that I bought the “I love ____” shirt on the very last day of the trip. There is something about Paris, perhaps its elegance and glamour, that enchants and overwhelms you. I visited Paris for 4 days when I was 20 with a group of 5 friends and I treasured those times when we led lives with reckless abandon back then. I also treasured those times when I felt bewildered, overwhelmed and lost in front of beautiful tourist attractions. These days, I don’t really get this feeling when I see new things and I prefer watching people to taking photos in front of beautiful icons. I also treasured the crazy times we shared together – I wonder what the other people are doing right now? It is amazing how fast people grow up, I wonder would we change so much in 2 years when we are in our 50s? I don’t remember too much about the trip because I didn’t dutifully keep a diary back then and so I will only write about the places that I remember very strongly (sorry Sacré-Cœur Basilica and other attractions!).
I remember we admired the iconic Eiffel Tower in the evening from a platform and watched how the summer sun made its slow descent. I remember we took many jump shots before the tower and how the lighted Eiffel Tower against the dark sky took our collective breath away. We re-visited the tower on the following day and climbed the tower to the second highest deck and took the elevator up. There was a pretty long line and I remember we changed the lyrics of the song 会呼吸的痛 to “在巴黎铁塔第一次眺望。。。” and kept singing this song while waiting. We sang a lot in Paris – our favourite was probably 旅行的意义 because it makes reference to Paris.It was a long climb but it was an amazing feeling to see how the streets slowly diminished in size as we ascended the tower.
After climbing the Eiffel Tower, we visited the Notre Dame de Paris which was made famous by the novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” written by Victor Hugo. Even though it is quite famous, the cathedral is surprisingly free! You would need to pay a nominal fee to get to the top of the cathedral though. Apparently, this cathedral with a French-Gothic architecture is the most popular tourist attraction in Paris (beating the Eiffel Tower) with 13 million visitors each year. Personally, I find that there were too many tourists there for a holy place so I didn’t enjoy so much. But I remember one of the girls fell asleep while siting on the front porch of the cathedral, strange things do happen on trips. 🙂
Another place in Paris which took our breath away was Versailles – the palace and the gardens. The palace of Versailles was where the royals lived until the French revolution. Some people attributed the French revolution to Marie Antoinette. It was a beautiful, large and crowded palace, I had not seen anything as grand before this. I remember we had a lot of fun at the Hall of mirrors and we took many photos there. I remember we had fun imitating the poses of the different statues inside the palace.
There was a separate entrance fee to get to the gardens of Versailles but that was worth every cent. 🙂 The gardens were so vast, so intricate and so beautiful. I remembered we had a picnic by the lake and played with a young French boy who was fascinated by the ducks on the lake. There were so many more buildings and smaller gardens in the gardens of Versailles, we spent the whole afternoon walking around there.
What I also enjoyed about Paris was the aimless walks we had in the city. One day, after spending almost the whole morning in the Lourve, we took a walk down the Seine River. One of the guys did planking on the railings while the others had a good laugh. There were so many beautiful bridges, I don’t even remember the name of the bridge in this picture.
Speaking of the Lourve, I highly recommend visiting the Lourve twice – once in the day to see the exhibits in the museum and another at night to see the pyramid at night. The pyramid has its own share of controversies but it is also said to manage the large crowds a lot better than the old entrance. The Lourve is the world’s most visited museum and it houses many famous exhibits, including Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and Liberty Leading the People. We spent about half a day there and I think we did not even walk half of the museum. At night, we made our way back to the museum again, it was fairly empty at that time so we sat by the ledge near the pyramid, enjoyed the nice summer breeze, talked and admired the beautiful compound. I remember there was a crescent moon hanging lowly that night. Simply great memories. 🙂
There are some moments in life that you secretly immortalized in your mind when it happened. For me, one of the moments was this: one evening, we walked in the middle of the road leading towards the Arc de Triomphe and drank Heineken beer. I must admit it was unnecessarily crazy but well, we are only young and stupid once. I probably won’t do it again but that was a great memory.