Sunday, 27 October 2013

Day 7: Arc de Triomphe

We had our breakfast at the same place as Day 1 because Coco loved the good service. It was indeed a tremendous change from the lousy London experience.

We took the train to Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile Station and followed the signs in the underground to Arc de Triomphe ('trom').

Met a nice gentleman from Korea and he helped us take this picture.

We finally saw more Asians at Arc de Triomphe (phew!).

I was extremely wary of the ang mohs as I had read that they could very well grab your camera and run so Coco and I didn't get to have a photo together until then.

At Arc de Triomphe, you can't cross the road and go over to the Arc as the road is a roundabout and you are totally courting death if you dare do that. You need to walk through an underpass that links to the Arc and the Arc alone.

Coco and Baby needed the toilet, so we went to a restaurant near the tourist attraction and we were floored by how pretty the toilet was!

Pretty outside, pretty inside

Coco and I had a hard time searching for the underpass to Arc de Triomphe as it was so inconspicuous, just beside where we took photos!

We bought our tickets at the underpass. A fast queue though.

Even the sky in Paris is so beautifully blue!

The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces (source: wikipedia).

The tomb of the unknown soldier 

The inside of the Arc

The stairs were narrow and steep

"Look, Coco! We were taking pictures like those goons just now!"

The top of the Arc

After we had some fun fooling around at the top, we decided to descend the Arc.

"Gasp! Soooo many steps?!!"

The staff was kind enough to suggest that we take a lift up the Arc when we came as we had Baby with us, so we were unaware that the others without a young child had to brave the Mount Everest in its own right to reach the peak!

We were delighted that the French had been kind and helpful thus far. 


Adult - 9.50 euro
Children below 18 - free admission

Opening hours vary for different times of the year

Day 6: Dinner at La Cabane A Huitres, an oysters place

For dinner on the first day in Paris Central, we ate at La Cabane A Huitres, a tiny place a few streets away from where we stayed.

We were very early and the shop only opened at 7pm.

View from the entrance

There is a choice between a set meal and ala carte. 
We chose 2 set meals which consisted of 12 oysters and 1 foie gras each (20.50 euro per set).

The foie gras is made from duck liver. Tasted differently from the one at Lawry's. I loved it. It tasted a little creamy and cheesy with a little liver taste - just a little.

Baby tasted a morsel and she said,"It's cheese!"

The eatery specialises in oysters and mussels. What's different about the place is they harvest their shellfish themselves on days that they are close. 

The oysters were so fresh that we saw tiny living organisms swimming IN the oysters!

I am not an oyster guru. They taste just as fresh as the ones I had at The Line Shangri La. Perhaps there's only so much an oyster can be fresh.

Their other known specialty: Canele, a caramelised cake which consists of rum (3.50 euro).
We didn't like it much. It was hard for a cake and we didn't like the taste of rum.

The only drinks available there were spirits and wines, so we had plain water instead. While waiting for the shop to open, we found a Japanese restaurant next to it. I bought a few sushis for the little one since she was not likely to eat what we had for dinner.

There were only 2 female staff in the eatery. They would ask how we found our meal, where we came from and whether we would like desserts in English with strong French accent.

Really friendly people who tried to help us feel at ease!

Coco could not stomach 12 oysters, so I ate 6 of hers and left her hungry.
We walked around the neighbourhood and found this crepes place to fill up her stomach.

She loved it!


La Cabane A Huitres
4, Rue Antoine Bourdelle
75015 Paris, France (Montparnasse)
Opens from Wednesday - Saturday
Hours: 12pm - 2.15pm, 7pm - 10.15pm
Credit cards not accepted

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Day 6: The Magnificent, Beautiful Eiffel Tower

We had the ang moh breakfast every day.

Coco and I loved sunny-sideups so it was a perfect excuse for us to indulge in 2 eggs every morning!

Their croissants are softer than what we have at Delifrance.

Hot chocs for ever!

The underground Edgar Quinet ('quee-nee') station

Waiting for the train

Their adverts are huge!

We took the train to Bir-Hakeim Metro and followed the signs to Eiffel ('F-fell') Tower.
Saw some blacks selling Eiffel Tower keychains very cheaply on the way to our destination.

I had tried buying the Eiffel Tower tickets in April to no avail. The tickets are snapped up very quickly so if you are interested, you need to look out for it very actively. Read that the tickets are available only 3 months in advance, but when they are out, they sold like hot cakes.

So I took the advice of other travellers: buy the tickets at the location itself.

When we reached Eiffel Tower, we were dismayed at the super long queue for the elevator up the tower.

But, Google is my best friend and I had some good advice from Tripadvisor:

Go to the South Pillar and join the much shorter queue to buy the stair-ticket up the second storey. From there, buy the elevator ticket up the peak.

Coco and I proved our adaptability in Paris. We 'picked up' a little bit of French when we were in Disneyland. I decided that 'Pilier Sud' meant 'Pillar South' - and I was probably right even though up till now I haven't got it verified.

We wandered a little below the Tower and found the South Pillar at one of the corners. I figured the other corner would be North Pillar and it seemed to be selling similar tickets.

The counter staff asked me what ticket I wanted and the silly me thought I could only buy the stair-tickets to the 2nd storey and so that was what I did. You can actually buy to-the-top tickets (from 2nd storey up) from the same counter.

The centre of the Tower was under construction.

Can you see the stairs up the pillars? If you look carefully, you can see the tourists making their way up the stairs. That's how big the tower is.
The tickets

Security check before you enter the Tower

Read that some people had some items that alerted the system but they were not willing to part with the items for sentimental reasons and went away without entering the Tower. I was relieved that I had none of such on me.

On our way up

First Storey view

500th step

At the 2nd Storey

View from the 2nd storey

You have to give it to the ang mohs that they are indeed more romantic than Asians

We reached the top!

669th step

After spending a fair amount of time at the top, we decided to walk down the steps, just like how we came up.

The elevator ticket queue from the 2nd Storey

First floor - 21st storey
Second floor - 43rd storey

The sardine-packed lift

Sharing a lolli below the Eiffel Tower

We climbed the Eiffel Tower!

The Eiffel Tower climb was very leisurely. No sweat, no exhaustion. We took our time in climbing and admiring the view as we climbed. Baby did it without any complaints. However, I wouldn't recommend it to the old folks as the steps are indeed many and it may prove to be punishing to their knees.

We spent about 4 hours at the Eiffel Tower but we totally enjoyed it. The magnificence and magnitude of it only hit me when I was physically there. We kept going 'It's huge!' 'It's magnificent!' 'It's beautiful!'

'Magnificent' is the word.


1. Take to Bir-Hakeim metro station (No. 6) that runs above ground. You can also get a view of the Eiffel Tower when approaching the station. Very exciting for the kids.

2. Alternatively, take to No. 9 Trocadero station. I hadn't tried this but read that the picture angle is better as you approach the Tower. Further away from the icon though.


Stairs to 2nd Storey
6 euro per pax

Elevator from 2nd Storey
Adult - 5 euro
Child - 3 euro