Places

My Last Day in Paris

Exactly one year ago today,  I left Melbourne and took a long flight to the other side of the world – destination Paris, France. I had no idea what would lie ahead. I had a simple plan – to find a place to live, try to get a job in the fashion industry and improve my French language skills as much as possible. But nothing ever really goes to plan!

I did find a beautiful, light and spacious room but had many issues with the landlady. I didn’t find a job in fashion but ended up working in tourism. And Paris being a metropolitan city with people of many different cultural backgrounds, I never really got a chance to speak French as it was easier to speak English. However, it was an unforgettable experience and the positives outweighed the negatives. I wouldn’t change a thing.

I had ups and downs and some days I felt alone and really far away from everything. But I have grown so much as a person. I have learnt the importance of family. Looking back, I could have done things differently but then I wouldn’t have learnt a lot of things I learnt about myself and people.

My last day in Paris, I woke up later than I should have and I didn’t manage to make it in time to get my last French breakfast. It was already 11.30 am and I decided to do a Seine River cruise. It was a cold drizzling March morning.

I got on the cruise with a million tourists and sat there in awe of everything. It was surreal. I couldn’t believe that I had the chance to call Paris home. I lived my dream. I met the loveliest people who helped me so much and will be lifelong friends. Every bridge I crossed, every building was a reminder of how beautiful the city was and what it had given to me. I was very emotional knowing that in the evening, I would leave Paris. It was hard not knowing when I would return but I have promised myself that I will be back. In the meanwhile, I have so many lovely memories that I will cherish and below, I am sharing some with you.

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Places

La Tour Eiffel: Visiting the Iron Lady in Winter

The first time I ever visited the Eiffel Tower was in the summer of 2014 on my first trip to Paris. I was never so fascinated by it when I saw it in photos when I was younger but when I first laid my eyes upon the magnificent structure in real life, I was in awe. I felt so small standing beneath it and even though it may be cliché, there is just something special about it when it sparkles like a diamond in the night sky.

My second visit to the top was a very different one as it was low season and much quieter and colder. I visited with my friend Richard and we went to the top level first, the sommet. It was freezing and windy but still beautiful. Then we checked out the second level before heading down to the first level. I was amazed to see an ice-skating rink and people skating away. There was also a bar with amazing music pumping adding to the fun atmosphere. We sat down and had a vin chaud and then I tested the clear floors of the first level to see how freaked out I would get as I am scared of heights. But I’ve jumped out of a plane before so this was not so bad. The best moment for me was when I was on the first level and the tower started to sparkle. It was an amazing feeling!

I would definitely recommend visiting the Eiffel Tower at night and in winter as there is something charming about having a nice mulled wine in the cold with the spectacular views. Let’s face it. it’s the Eiffel Tower, how can it ever be not charming?

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Places

A Splendid View of the Eiffel Tower

When you live in Paris and you’re not from Paris, the Eiffel Tower is always an amazing sight. The Parisians may not be her biggest fan as it’s “clichĂ©” but she pops into your Paris photos every now and again and it’s hard not to be in awe. Once you’ve taken the usual photos from TrocadĂ©ro & Champ de Mars, you try to find other little street corners from which you can best capture her beauty.

I was reading some blogs and decided to try photography from this little street in the 16th Arrondissement very close to Trocadéro but unlike Trocadéro you will find zero tourists here. In fact, when I was there, I saw no one except the people who were living on that street, coming and going. That is the beauty of Avenue des Camoens!  I recently watched the movie Midnight in Paris again and noticed that this street was in the opening credits too. The street has a beautiful symmetrical staircase at one end which is beautiful in itself. You can walk up the steps and take photos at your own pace without anyone blocking your view. I keep thinking how lucky the people living in the apartments near there are to have this view every day.

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Events

Bastille Day Part 2 : Picnic & Fireworks at Champ de Mars

The second half of the day, I headed towards Champ de Mars with rosĂ© & snacks to meet up with my friend Isobel and her workmate Kathleen. We were supposed to join a large group of people for a picnic but couldn’t find them so we ended up just finding a spot to sit in the very crowded Champ de Mars right in front of the Eiffel Tower at about 6 pm. The fireworks started at 11 pm so there was a long way to go but we just soaked in the atmosphere, ate and drank wine. We even made friends with some fellow Aussies who happened to be sitting next to us and played drinking games.

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Then when it got darker, you could see the Eiffel Tower light up and looking spectacular as usual. The fireworks started at 11 pm and it was the most amazing show I have ever seen (I tried my best to take good photos) It was an unforgettable experience! Vive la France!

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Places

Arc de Triomphe

Last week, my friend Maurita and her boyfriend Bruno visited Paris. It was their first time in Paris and we decided to start the day by making our way to the Arc de Triomphe.

We made our way via the underpass, bought tickets & went to the top of the building. Although, it was my second time up here, it was still as stunning as I remembered. The monument stands in the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle. From the top, you can see 12 avenues radiating from the centre, one of which is the famous shopping precinct of Avenue des Champs-ÉlysĂ©es.The views of the Eiffel Tower, La Defense & SacrĂ© Coeur in the distance from here are amazing & I think it’s one of my favourite monuments in Paris.

IMG_4022 IMG_4027 IMG_4031 IMG_4032On the way back down, I stopped and read all about the history of the building & it’s significance.

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It is a hommage to all those who fought for France in different wars. On the way down, there is a room with photographs of all the different uniforms worn by the French & it’s allies in the war. We found Australian & New Zealand uniforms too!

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We then went down to look at all the markings and inscriptions on the buildings.The supporting columns, ceilings, face – all have inscriptions & it is such detailed work. The outside is also decorated with statues of mythological figures.

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After this, I went for a stroll down Avenue des Champs-Élysées had a fresh juice and bought a few necessary items like thongs from the Quiksilver store.

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Places

La Tour Eiffel from Trocadéro

La Tour Eiffel or Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the world. It has been reproduced in many forms – mini replicas, postcards, stamps, greeting cards, wallpapers, key-rings – you name it, it’s been done!

This post is a pure dedication (borderline obsessive) to this beautiful structure – an icon of France!

The first time, I ever walked towards it, I thought to myself, “Hmm, it’s not that big!”. But as you start to get really close to The Iron Lady you realise just how huge it actually is. Standing under it, you feel so small. It is an amazing structure especially for it’s time.

Last year, I went to the top of the tower so I didn’t want to do that again until my friends come to visit. Instead, I went to TrocadĂ©ro which is a great place to view the Eiffel Tower. I wanted to take photos of it while it was light up & sparkling but unfortunately my amateur camera skills & lack of tripod meant the photos weren’t the best. However, I will share the best of what I captured.

NOTE: None of my photos are edited in any way. I prefer to capture things as they are instead of enhancing them.

The first photos were taken around 9.30 pm. As you can see it was still nice and bright outside. I tried to get a good spot but kept getting pushed by others trying to do the same. Then the lights turned out as it hit 10 pm.

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Then it got dark and you could really see the Eiffel Tower dominate the city lights.

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And finally when it sparkles! It’s a magical moment followed by ooh, aaaahs & lots of ooh la lalas (and clapping) It only sparkles once every hour for 5 minutes (apparently, but it was more like 3 minutes)

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After this, I got a Nutella crepe & caught the metro back to the hostel.

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