Day 5 (18 April 2012)
Our initial plans for today was to visit Disneyland, but since the weather forecast predicted a rain, we decided to wait 1 more day. Our Disneyland tickets are valid for 3 months. Since we purchased it last month, we could technically go anytime during our stay here.
Since Disneyland is tomorrow, today we decided to visit a number of attractions in Paris that we haven’t fully covered. First stop was Notre Dame Cathedral. Entrance was free. We made one full round inside the cathedral. We spotted a statue of Joan of Arc in a corner. Joan of Arc was 19 when she died in 1431. In her short life, she lead numerous French armies in winning important battles in the 100 years war. More info on her Wikipage here. She was beatified in 18 April 1909 in this very cathedral by Pope Pius X (refer to photo of statue above).
After that, we split into 2 groups. Me and my brother Aiman headed to Musée de l’Armée (French Military Museum), while the rest went shopping at Galeries Lafayette, a famous Paris departmental store. The girls were dying to go shopping so I guess this is a good time for them to have fun. The plan is for me and Aiman to join them at Lafayette for teatime after we’re done.
The Military Museum was one of the museums I’ve been keen to visit. I want to know how the French view Napoleon. With their rich military history, I’m sure the museum would not disappoint. From Notre Dame, we took the metro from Saint-Michel Notre-Dame station to École Militaire station. The École Militaire station is, as the name suggests, near to École Militaire (French Military School), and also Musée de l’Armée.
We entered Musée de l’Armée from its rear entrance, near Les Invalides. The first thing we visited was Napoleon’s tomb, in Invalides. It was quite the sight.
I wished we had more time to explore the museum as it was massive. We only had 2 hours to spent here. To fully explore all the galleries, I would imagine you need around 3-4 hours minimum! From Napoleon’s army, to the Musketeers and Medieval knights. That’s not to mention WWI and WWII galleries that we didn’t had time to explore as we were in a rush! There’s just so much to see!
We contacted the girls and it turned out they have moved to Printemps, another big departmental store, right next to Lafayette. We took the metro there and had teatime at Paul’s (website), a famous boulangerie and pâtisserie. After teatime, I accompanied Aliaa for another round of shopping. The interior of these malls are actually quite impressive.
After we were done, we headed to Champs-Élysées. Our plan is to watch a movie tonight. I consider it an “add on” bonus to my holiday if I get to experience a local cinema. We went to Cinéma Gaumont Marignan. It’s one of the big cinemas along Champs-Elysées.
After buying our tickets for the movie Battleship, we went to have dinner at a nearby restaurant called Quick Fastfood (website). I’ve never heard of Quick, but the burgers were quite tasty. It was at this restaurant that we were pickpocketed! I’ve written about this pickpocket incident here.
The thing about going to cinemas in France is that, as non-French speakers, we’ll need to find cinemas that show VO (short for version originale). VO movies are shown in their original language. Most movies here VF (version française), meaning it has been dubbed into French. Coming from a country where all movies, be it Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean movies etc are shown in their original language (with English subtitles), it took me a while to understand why these Europeans really like dubs. I’ve heard many arguments. Some say because they are very proud of their language (like the French), while some find subtitles annoying. I just feel by dubbing, you loose a bit of the originality of the movie. Things like jokes, language cultural references, can’t be dubbed. While subtitles can’t capture all these too, at least you hear it in it’s original form. And my European friends were wondering why most Asians speak good English?
After the movie we headed back to the hotel for some rest. The next day is our Disneyland trip!
Paris photos: Please visit my Flickr page here.