Throwback Thursday Travel #5: Versailles, France

Paris iphone [Read more…]

Is this the most colorful street in Paris or what?

rue cremieux 12th arrondissement paris, confused dasher, off the beaten path attractions in parisI’m going to get ahead of myself today and talk about Paris instead of Lisbon because I want to brighten up your Monday.

You all know I adore Paris. So much so that I had to run back to it six months after my first visit despite all the trial and tribulations of getting there. If you have ever been to Paris, you’d know exactly how I feel. However, if you ask me, I wouldn’t describe Paris as vibrantly colorful at least by European standards. The city is impossibly beautiful and charming, but its color is a bit more tame compared to that of Rome, Venice or Lisbon. Except for Rue Cremieux in the 12 arrondissement. 

The entire street doesn’t cost much time to visit simply because there’s nothing of significance to explore. But if you’re into free-of-charge attractions and streets where no two homes are painted in the same colors, then Rue Cremieux is undoubtedly the place to be.

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The Confused Dasher is off to Europe again and scared shitless

saving money for your europe trip, packing for ryan air carry-on baggageWhen I came back from my first ever trip to Europe seven months ago, if you had told me that I would get to visit the old continent again in the near future, I would most likely have told you to shut the fuck up. (Sorry but I’m just downright rude at times.) It isn’t that I don’t want it happen or anything; in fact, I have wanted it to happen badly every fucking single day ever since I returned. Here’s the thing, though: traveling to far-flung places in Europe or America or Africa is a huge deal for us, third-world country’s citizens and thus mostly reserved to the cream of the crop. Unlike many of you with a passport that allows you to travel freely and a currency that holds strong values whenever you go, we have to go through the whole visa hassle with the high chance that our visa application will be rejected. On top of that are splitting headaches such as money (just so you know, our beloved currency is among the most worthless in the world), leave permission, family objections yidda yadda yadda. So, I had no idea then how I would manage to pull off another trip to Europe in a mere six month.

However, the reality (as in this evening reality) is I’m going to Europe again. ALONE. This time, I’m going to plant my seeds in France, Spain and Portugal. 

Before you make any wild assumption, let me just say upfront that I’m not a trust fund baby. I come from a middle-income family and am actually making a meager income now that I left the more lucrative field of business and finance. For the trip to materialize, I have been saving most of my embarrassingly low income for the past five months. Remember I publicly vowed on the blog a while ago that I would be a shopping diet for at least six months? Except for THIS which is a necessity in and of itself. I completely turned a blind eye to all the amazing deals this sales season. I’m not a personal finance guru or a budget travel expert, but what I know is that if traveling is your priority (as in you genuinely want to travel, not just pay lip service), then you simply have to save to the best of your ability by cutting off everything but necessities. My rationale might be off-base, but I firmly believe that traveling is more beneficial if you do it when you are young. It doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t travel when you get old. However, generally speaking, you get more out of it when you are in your prime, physically and mentally. I’m doing this trip on a very tight budget (in case you like to know how tight, the number is in the neighborhood of $1,600-1,800 for more than 2 weeks, which already includes the standard-rate airfare of $1,000). I will be having major college moments all over again by staying in dormitory style hostels. Bunk bed, anyone?

As you can imagine, I’m excited. Strangely enough, I’m not being as excited as I thought I would be. It’s neither because I have been to Paris before (but never to Spain and Portugal) nor because I’m too nervous about traveling on my own (I’m moderately so, though). I don’t doubt for a second that I love exploring new countries and cultures. Plus, architecture and photography are two of my interests, both of which traveling happens to provide plenty of so I’m quite happy when I’m on the road. But, I have been wondering whether they are only the tip of the iceberg. Is the core of it all that traveling, to me, is a form of escapism? Am I too discontent with my current life that I just have to go somewhere whenever it’s possible? It’s not, by and large, an inherently bad reason but really, hailing from a poor third-world country I can’t help but feel guilt-stricken if that is the real why. For the bigger portion of the world population, just getting on an airplane, let alone going to far-flung expensive places, remains quite a priviledge. So, the last thing I’d want is to indulge in it in order to treat my ‘first-world’ problem if we can call it that. [Read more…]

Day 5: Paris je t’aime…last day (Part 2)

Mona Lisa painting inside the museum, confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, Musee de louvre Part 1 is here for your consumption 🙂

When Louvre Museum comes up in a conversation, Mona Lisa immediately springs to mind. Fair enough because it’s where the most famous painting in the world is housed. However, this Picasso baby wasn’t the priority when I decided to pay the Louvre a visit.

I had read about it and seen a number of videos beforehand that the thought of actually seeing it in the flesh was no longer that appealing. Don’t get me wrong; I fully understand the difference between seeing a YouTube video about something and being face-to-face with that something. Seeing the Vatican, Château de Versailles, the Napoleon III apartmentsthe Eiffel Tower and all other places during our trip with my own eyes was a positively mind-blowing experience. The works of Monet and Van Gogh at Musee d’Orsay did evoke a strong emotional response in me. But when it comes to the Mona Lisa painting which is protected with bullet-proof glass, I wasn’t so sure.

Plus, my Argentinean friend Pablo whom I met before I left Venice for Paris had warned me of the jostling crowds of tourists there and even showed me the only photo he captured inside. Sadly, the subject of his photo wasn’t THE enigmatic woman whose smile has perplexed the entire world for the longest time. Instead, it was the unmanageable crowd of people doing one of these things: shuttering away or putting their iPads high in the sky or even worse posing right next to the painting.

My sister and me still joined the throngs of tourists in the end because we were already inside the museum and after Napoleon apartments we didn’t know where to go next. As soon as I arrived at this section of the museum, everything Pablo has told me immediately clicked. Despite the less chaotic crowd (because we got there pretty late in the afternoon), we could barely see the painting. I did my utmost to frame my photo so that no skull or iPad would appear in it. What you see above is the only picture I have, which I thought was pretty decent in the sense that it was not photobombed.

Lord, have mercy! It literally just dawned on me one minute ago that my photo is definitely photobombed. Shit. Can you see what I see?

A statue I saw on the way to meet Mona Lisa.louvre architectural layout, confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, Musee de louvre Louvre Museum is just as much about arts as it’s about architecture. I’m slightly obsessed with architecture so just wandering inside the museum and soaking in its stunning architectural layout and meticulous details already made me very happy. louvre architectural layout, confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, Musee de louvre louvre architectural layout, confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, Musee de louvre louvre architectural layout, confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, Musee de louvre louvre architectural layout, confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, Musee de louvre louvre architectural layout, confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, Musee de louvre A modern artwork that resonates with the way I have been leading my life. Due to my negligence, I forgot to jot down the artist’s name so I could look him up later and do some research about what this actually means. However, I feel like this piece sums up my life perfectly. Based on my own interpretation, anyway. Welcome to the life of a hoarder. If you happen to know who made it, tell me in the comment section below. I’m quite curious. modern arts inside the louvre, confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, Musee de louvre The closing time is 6PM on most days. At around 5:45PM, the staff started asking everyone to leave. So, au revoir Le Louvre. J’dore you. [Read more…]

Day 5: Paris je t’aime…last day (Part 1)

confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de RivoliBefore you scroll down, have a look at my recommendations of what to do in the first four days of your trip 😉

I woke up on the fifth day feeling all blue and uneasy. It was our last day in the City of Light. In the next 24 hours, we would be whisked back to the reality named Vietnam. And just between you and me, Paris really was the dream that I’d never want to snap out of. I grabbed for my self-made tentative itinerary and instantly felt even more disheartened at the long list of places that we hadn’t been able to visit. My sister and me consoled each other by reminding ourselves that it takes a lifetime to see everything that Paris has to offer and there were only so many things we could squeeze in in 5 days. Musée du Louvre, Rue de Rivoli, Place Vendôme, and Galeries Lafayette sat prominently on the first day’s to-do list so without further hesitation we set out to visit those places after stuffing our tummies with soft and crisp croissants, mouth-melting butter and jam and of course orange juice and black coffee. “When in Paris, have breakfasts as Parisians do” was the mantra I lived by.

Galeries Lafayette was our first stop. Y’all know that I need a lot of retail therapies to get through life but really, it wasn’t why we headed there first thing in the morning. Spending nearly 17 days in Italy and France already created a deep hole in my bank account that any other retail therapy session after this would mean me eating air and drinking water for the next three months. However, I had heard rave reviews about the Paris shopping scene and seen glorious photos of Galeries Lafayette on Instagram so I simply had to check it out. Just checking it out, you know and forming some sorts of conclusion about whether Paris is head and shoulders above New York.

Well, the final verdict is I still like New York better.

Some Parisians reading this might want to jump into the other side of the screen and strangle me, but I just have to put it out there. The sole reason for my nepotism is the lack of year-round sales and good deals since sales are mandated by the French government and only happen twice per year, as far as I know. Maybe someday when I’m able to afford Hermes, Balenciaga or Givenchy full price, I will change my mind. I didn’t leave empty-handed though. Below is what I bagged from my short visit. You can bring this home for free on the men’s floor 😉 the view from galeries lafayette paris, confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de RivoliThe main focus of our day was on Musée du Louvre. From Galeries Lafayette, we passed by Place Vendôme and Rue de Rivoli. What these two sites lack in tranquility they more than make up for in architectural prettiness and symmetry, especially Rue de Rivoli which seems to just go on forever. If time hadn’t been so constrained, a people-watching session at a cafe shop on Rue de Rivoli would have been in order. It was such a fascinating street with people from all walks of life–business men in navy suits, Parisian chic ladies, students, fashionistas and tourists went about their businesses.

Another reason that made me love Rue de Rivoli is this lovely encounter. I noticed a little bagel shop on our way to the museum. Besides expensive shoes, bagel is another vice of mine. Back when I was still in New York, I would easily consume 3 bagels with cream cheese per day. (Now you know why I was fat.)

Anyway, we walked into the shop with full confidence and dignity and ordered a plain, 1-euro bagel. I swear on my former fat self that there was no cash-only sign whatsoever on the door. I handed the owner my credit card, which he politely declined and informed us of the cash-only policy. Ouch.

I knew that we were running out of cash at that point but thought we would have enough to pay for the bagel. I mean, it was only 1 fucking euro. So, we rummaged frantically in our bags and collected every last coin. 0.7 euro was all we came up with. I returned the bagel and apologized to him profusely for my…negligence. (Je suis désolée, I repeated over and over again.) Either I had my eyes so wide open at the bagel earlier that he really took pity on me or he really appreciated my broken French, but he said 0.7 euro was fine and insisted that I kept the bagel. I understand that 0.3 euro wasn’t a substantial amount, but there was no reason for him to do what he did except for kindness. If it had been possible, I would have framed the bagel instead of eating it to remind myself everyday of the French hospitality. As you can guess, the bagel tasted so much better than all the bagels I had tasted before. confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, place vendomeconfused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, place vendomeconfused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoliconfused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de RivoliLe Louvre was finally within sight. Even though it was quite crowded, the museum card that I strongly encourage y’all to buy as soon as you land in Paris led us through rather quickly. In the world of museums, Louvre Museum is like Paris itself, so massive that it’s impossible to see everything in one sitting. I remember reading somewhere that it would take at least a month to see all the sculptures, paintings and works of art inside the Louvre, and the best strategy for any first-time visitor is to pick one or two sections based on personal preferences. Up to that point, we had seen a fair share of antiquities and statues in Italy so the first order of business was the magnificent Napoleon III apartments.

Napoleon is known for many things, one of which is his extravagant lifestyle. And his apartment is the ultimate testament. Judging by what I saw, coziness and minimalism are two words that didn’t exist in his dictionary. There is absolutely no corner inside the apartment where ornate beauty isn’t present. While I’m extremely appreciative of and grateful for Napoleon’s genius mind and sophisticated taste, I couldn’t help but wondering how he acquired it in the first place and what propelled him to build up such a magnificent place with everything in it being beyond perfection. That was when I realized I really have to do my homework before paying any place a visit…confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, Musee de louvreNapoleon III Apartments, confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, Musee de louvre Napoleon III Apartments, confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do and what to see in paris in 5 days, things to do on a last day in paris, the beauty of Rue de Rivoli, Musee de louvre

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Day 4: Gold Excess

confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do in paris in 5 days, a guide to Palace of Versailles on how to avoid the crowdI don’t even know how to begin talking about Château de Versailles, since it needs absolutely no introduction whatsoever. In fact, this post is going to be slightly different from all my other posts about Paris in which you allowed me to ramble non-stop. Today, I’ll let the photos do the bulk of the talking. The bottom line is a visit to Château de Versailles is a must. If you miss it the first time you’re in the city, you have to pay a visit the next time, pure and simple. Just go down any metro station and ask ticket officers for the directions. You will be there in no time, I promise.

I guess everyone’s reactions when visiting Versailles are more or less the same. I mean, how can one not be awestruck at the lavish and breath-taking opulence of this place? I have never seen so much gold in my life, to be honest with you.

The place is a human zoo and there is really no way to get around it, but its sheer beauty makes the entire experience utterly worthwhile. The only advice I might be able to offer here is try to get there early. You probably will be able to avoid the crowd for a little bit. Without further ado, here is the one and only Château de Versailles for your viewing pleasure. confused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do in paris in 5 days, a guide to Palace of Versailles on how to avoid the crowdconfused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do in paris in 5 days, a guide to Palace of Versailles on how to avoid the crowdconfused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do in paris in 5 days, a guide to Palace of Versailles on how to avoid the crowdconfused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do in paris in 5 days, a guide to Palace of Versailles on how to avoid the crowdconfused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do in paris in 5 days, a guide to Palace of Versailles on how to avoid the crowdconfused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do in paris in 5 days, a guide to Palace of Versailles on how to avoid the crowdconfused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do in paris in 5 days, a guide to Palace of Versailles on how to avoid the crowdconfused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do in paris in 5 days, a guide to Palace of Versailles on how to avoid the crowdconfused dasher, paris 5 day trip report, what to do in paris in 5 days, a guide to Palace of Versailles on how to avoid the crowd [Read more…]

Day 3: Paris is one fickle woman (Part 2)

Champ de mars, THE EIFFEL TOWER, confused dasher, paris men's style fashion blogger, paris trip travelogue, 5 days in parisPreviously on Paris Travelogue 🙂

By the time we finished visiting Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, Paris had seemed to be completely done with being moody. The sky cleared up quite nicely; the weather was as pleasant and spring-y as it could possibly be. We started getting a better handle on Latin Quarter so we kept wandering aimlessly for a bit. On the way, we also passed by University of Paris, better known as la Sorbonne. If memory serves me right, it’s one of the most, if not the most, prestigious universities in France. Is it? Don’t hesitate to correct me. Université de Paris, Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, Latin Quarter off the beaten track, Jardin des Tuileries paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasherSaint-Étienne-du-Mont, Latin Quarter off the beaten track, Jardin des Tuileries paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasherSaint-Étienne-du-Mont, Latin Quarter off the beaten track, Jardin des Tuileries paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasherSaint-Étienne-du-Mont, Latin Quarter off the beaten track, Jardin des Tuileries paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasherSaint-Étienne-du-Mont, Latin Quarter off the beaten track, Jardin des Tuileries paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasher, Jardin du Luxembourg in the afternoonSaint-Étienne-du-Mont, Latin Quarter off the beaten track, Jardin des Tuileries paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasher, Jardin du Luxembourg in the afternoonThen, we made a turn to Jardin du Luxembourg.

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Day 3: Paris is one fickle woman (Part 1)

paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasher, tips for visiting Musée d'OrsayTo catch up on the travel tips and tricks I learned from my first two days in Paris, click HERE and HERE and HERE 🙂

One of the things I have learned about Paris is that she is one hell of a sassy woman. She behaves as she pleases without giving a damn about her people. One minute she is hot, and the next she is cold. New York isn’t really like that. Neither is San Francisco. And the third world? It’s hot and humid and polluted day in day out.

After a glorious second day, our third day in Paris kicked off in the most unusual-for-summer manner– chilly and overcast. If you follow our Italy/France expedition from the beginning, you would be familiar with my number one travel rule which is museums and churches are always reserved to days when weather gets uncooperative. That isn’t to say I don’t visit those sites if the weather is all sunny and breezy. The truth is I have never been fortunate enough to experience all-around perfect weather in all of the places I have been to. As a result, our first stop of the day was Musée d’Orsay.

Before heading out, I took this shot of the corkscrew staircase in our building. I really dig this type of incredibly artsy staircase. It’s not commonplace in America and Asia, but apparently is very much so in Italy and France. SOGECRI SARL/ Quentin de Pennar, vbro, place des vosges, le marais, confused dasher, recommended restaurant in le marais paris, 5 day itinerary in parisPassing through Jardin des Tuileries on our way to d’Orsay. Even on a grey morning, it still exudes so much beauty. Jardin des Tuileries paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasher, tips for visiting Musée d'OrsayThere exist literally hundreds of museums throughout Paris, but before the trip I managed to whittle down several that I’d have to go at whatever costs. The reason we didn’t choose Musée du Louvre on this particular morning was we wanted to devote the entire day to exploring the left bank of Paris, and Musée d’Orsay is conveniently located there.

I’m not exactly passionate or knowledgeable about arts, but I truly appreciate it and fervently believe that the more museums a city has the more cultured and intellectual it’s. Thus, it’s beneficial to visit at least one in each city especially in Europe. d’Orsay houses some of the most renowned French modern artworks such as those by Monet, Manet, Van Gogh to name just a few. There are a legion of paintings, sculptures, furniture and photography as well, but the time constraint didn’t afford us the opportunity to see them all. We were there specifically for the Impressionist collection.

(If you plan to do the same, here is the trick I learned: once inside, look for the escalator toward the far wall. It will take you to the fifth floor where the Impressionist paintings and sculptures are. Try to visit early in the morning to avoid the crowd. You’ll get to enjoy the arts uninterrupted.)

The visual feast that we were fed really was off the charts especially Monet’s paintings. Now, I really understand why fashion designers often cite arts and paintings as their inspiration. Also, if you’re an arts novice like me, I highly recommend you drop by the souvenir section at the end of your visit and buy a book about the painter you’re interested in knowing more. I bought one about Monet, which puts everything I saw in context and gives me a nice walk down the Parisian memory lane every now and then. I only have two photos of d’Orsay because photos are not allowed inside. The clock one above and the one below were taken before the French lady informed me of the policy. I’m a very law-abiding citizen so I made no more attempt 😛 We spent about 2 and a half hours there. We were starving by the time we finished, but fortunately the cafeteria downstairs came to our rescue and offered some good lunch options. Biological batteries were fully recharged for the rest of the day, which was all about wandering. paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasher, tips for visiting Musée d'OrsayThe next stop of the day was Place St. Michel. I’d liken it to a welcoming sign that says you have officially stepped into Latin Quarter territory. The walk from d’Orsay to Place St. Michel is an easy and enjoyable exercise. Along the way, you’re rewarded with a romantic view of the beautiful buildings on the right bank as well as the prominent Notre Dame. We utilized THIS guide to navigate our way around the neighborhood.

However, when we arrived at Place St. Michel, we were welcome with less than open arms and soon found ourselves being jostled by a mob of tourists and touts. We didn’t even have the chance to get up close and personal with the fountain. Basic instincts told me to leave right away, which we did. We kept strolling along Boulevard St. Germain with Panthéon in our mind. Latin Quarter lovers, don’t hate me but I was less than impressed. You might call it a skewed judgement because I have only spent an afternoon there and thus barely scratched the surface, but truth be told what I saw didn’t measure up to all the hype I had heard. After all, maybe Le Marais has set the bar too high! Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed Panthéon and the surrounding area. While not original and equally known, Panthéon Paris is on a bigger and grander scale than Pantheon Rome. Panthéon Paris Latin Quarter, Jardin des Tuileries paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasher, tips for visiting Musée d'Orsay, Panthéon Paris Latin Quarter, Jardin des Tuileries paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasher, tips for visiting Musée d'Orsay, Panthéon Paris Latin Quarter, Jardin des Tuileries paris 5 day trip report, 5 day itinerary suggestions for Paris, confused dasher, tips for visiting Musée d'Orsay, Below are some photos of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont [Read more…]

Day 2: Paris Très Jolie (Part 2)

paris sunset seen from Arc de Triomphe, beautiful paris architectureTo follow along our journey in Paris from the beginning, click HERE.

Paris is a very walkable city. In fact, I’m a staunch advocate of walking as much as humanly possible while in Paris because it’s one of the best, if not the best, ways to absorb the city’s incredible beauty and charm. However, it’s quite big at the same time so your legs could take a beating if you’re not strategic about places to go. We tried to adhere by this rule during our stay which made life so much easier, physically and economically. For example, after Notre Dame Cathedral we crossed the street and visited Sainte-Chapelle, an astoundingly spectacular royal medieval Gothic chapel.

Here’s an important tip: If you stay in Paris for several days and plan to visit different churches and museums, do yourself a favor by buying Paris Museum Pass. Just like in Italy, the lines at museums, churches and sightseeing sites in Paris are crazy long. Always. Waiting in lines will cost you a lot of your precious time. That omnipotent pass let you skip the lines most of the times. (Château de Versailles is among the few that doesn’t grant you direct access.) We stayed in Paris for a total of 5 days, so as soon as I landed, I bought the 4-day pass for 54 euros. (My sister is under 18, so the entry is free for her at the vast majority of places.) We visited 6 churches, museums and history sites, whose tickets would have added up to 65.5 euros if we hadn’t used the pass. As you can see, we were able to save 11.5 euros, and it could have been a lot more if we had tried harder to squeeze in visits to some other fantastic places such as Centre Pompidou and Musee Rodin. Bottom line is buy the pass based on the number of days you spend in the city 😉

Back to Sainte-Chapelle. It was literally just 3 minutes walking from Notre Dame, but I was quite surprised, pleasantly so though, to find the line much shorter and the crowd much less chaotic. Any guidebook or tour that omits this chapel, one of the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture, from its Paris must-visits list should be boycotted because it really is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Compared to Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle is smaller in scale but the interior is just equally impressive, in my opinion.

Its most salient feature, as you might know, is the massive stained glass windows (6,458 square feet to be exact) surrounded by exquisite painted stonework. Word of mouth has it that it’s best to pay the chapel a visit on sunny days as the sunlight will light up the stained glass windows, giving visitors a surreal sort of experience. Well, I’m here to validate that advice. We were lucky enough to be there early in the afternoon on a clear, beautiful day and got to see how majestic the windows looked. Words or pictures simply don’t do its beauty justice. Sainte-Chapelle, paris, 5 day itinerary in paris, france, confused dasher, beautiful church architecture in ParisSainte-Chapelle, paris, 5 day itinerary in paris, france, confused dasher, beautiful church architecture in ParisSainte-Chapelle, paris, 5 day itinerary in paris, france, confused dasher, beautiful church architecture in Paris [Read more…]

Day 2: Paris Très Jolie (Part 1)

Notre Dame de Paris, confused dasher, 5 day itinerary in paris, beautiful church architecture in paris, tips and tricks to visit Notre Dame de ParisAll we needed after an arduous day hauling our asses around airports was a cozy and comfortable bed. Fortunately, that along with a prime location was the strong suit of our Le Marais apartment. Here I learned a very important life lesson: you really get what you pay for. Yes, we paid more for accommodation in Paris than in Italy (though only marginally more), but in return the quality was simply praiseworthy. We honestly felt that the apartment was a bang for the buck, and that was an extremely pleasant feeling to feel when traveling. We couldn’t have been more physically and mentally invigorated the following morning.

You don’t have to venture anywhere further than Le Marais to get a first glimpse into the daily life of Parisians. Le Marais in the mornings was among the brightest spots of our time in Paris. It was empty, quite and tranquil. Just a charming lovely vibe all around. Again, we made use of National Geographic Le Marais Walking Tour to navigate our way and so should you because it’s extremely helpful.

To us, the highlight of the neighborhood was none other than the very elegant Place des Vosges where we passed by almost everyday. It can get a bit touristy at mid-day, so my piece of advice for y’all is to visit in the morning or late in the afternoon when a lot of locals gather to chill and watch the world go by. Surrounding Place des Vosges are a host of galleries for art aficionados. One particular gallery that I had planned to come by but didn’t make it in the end was Galarie du Marais where the beautiful artworks of artist Antoinette Nicolini are exhibited. I’m not that much of an arts enthusiast myself, but I caught glimpses of her paintings on some random blogs about Paris. They all were so mesmerizing. I din’t get around see her works in the flesh this trip probably due to bad planning, so until next time then 🙁 Beloved readers, if you get a chance, do pay the gallery a visit on my behalf and let me know how it’s.

Apart from Place des Vosges and galleries, there is an eclectic selection of things to enjoy- ranging from historic buildings, fruit stands offering organic products, authentic restaurants to Rue des Rosiers, Rue de Turenne to Rue des Archives. It takes much more than one morning to get to know Le Marais. (We stayed in the ‘hood so we managed to squeeze in a stroll everyday.) However, in my experience if you follow the National Geographic guide, you will get a pretty good handle. After we finished our tour, we chanced upon Le Comptoir des Archives and sat down for a quick lunch. It was a friendly restaurant with good food, good views and good services where I lost my Tartar Salmon virginity 😛 I naturally love salmon so anything salmon goes, but tartan salmon is quite delicious itself, don’t you agree? place des vosges, le marais, confused dasher, recommended restaurant in le marais paris, 5 day itinerary in paris, morning in le marais, farmer marketsunset at place des vosges, le marais, confused dasher, recommended restaurant in le marais paris, 5 day itinerary in paris, morning in le marais, farmer market [Read more…]