In June 2014, I had a work meeting in New York and London. Since a direct fight to New York is too long (20+ hours), we decided to use our own personal money and spend 1 night in Paris before continuing the journey. We took the Malaysia Airlines flight from KLIA, departing on Friday, 13 June at 11:40PM.
Although we’re only spending 1 night in Paris, I wanted to be prepared for it. So, for about 2 months prior to the trip, I decided to learn French by myself using a CD set we bought back in the UK. The set is called Learn French with Paul Noble and it comes with a booklet and 6 CDs. I was really impressed with Paul’s method. It was really easy to pick up the language and somehow he makes it interesting. Throughout our entire stay in Paris, I was able to communicate basic sentences to the local Parisians and I even understood some of the things they replied to me.
Saturday, 14 June 2014
We arrived in Paris Charles De Gaulle at 6:40AM. We went to the taxi stand and managed to get a big van to fit all 5 of us (with our 10 bags, haha). The trip from the airport to the hotel took around 30 minutes. For our 1 night stay in Paris, we stayed at Hotel de La Herse d’Or. It’s a small budget hotel near Bastille station (quite near to Notre-Dame). I was surprised to discover the hotel had no elevator! We had to drag our heavy bags up the narrow staircase to the 4th floor! Read my review of the hotel at TripAdvisor here.
We wanted to ask the van driver if he could pick us up the following morning, but he doesn’t speak any English. This is where my Paul Noble French started to kick in. Somehow was I able to string some basic sentences to ask the guy, and he gave a long reply which I gathered he is saying “maybe”, and gave us his phone number. Haha!
We freshen up and then went out exploring around 9AM. Our first stop is to find a place for breakfast. We walked further down Rue Saint-Antoine, and decided to have breakfast at Fontaine Sully (website). Turns out they serve excellent omelettes! And yes, of course I placed my order in French!
After breakfast, we walked to Notre-Dame. The weather was just perfect to be outdoors, not too warm or cold, with a light breeze for comfort. As we were passing by the art stalls by the Seine River, I saw a shop selling an interesting replica of a Paris map from the year 1630. A perfect addition to my Map Room, I immediately bought it.
There were a lot of people outside Notre-Dame. We admired the architecture and then moved on to Pont des Arts. I tried to search for the padlock that Aliaa & I had put here during our pre-wedding photo shoot in 2012 but it’s just impossible to find. There were way too many locks now, and I heard the authorities would cut out the padlocks every 2 years. After searching in vain, we moved on to the Louvre.
We sat at the courtyard, admired the glass pyramid and the facade of the museum. Back in 2012, I had an entire day to explore the galleries of the Louvre, but I guess this time I’ll have to contend with seeing it from the outside. We only have 1 day in Paris so we had to make the best of our time.
We had lunch at Aoi Sushi (website), a Japanese restaurant near The Louvre. It’s located on a small alley just 2 blocks away from The Louvre. The meals were quite decent and inexpensive.
After lunch, we took the Metro and went to Concorde. My friend wanted to check out a Longchamp shop there. It was my first time in Concorde. I was surprised to see the Place de la Concorde, it has a scenic view of Eiffel!
From Concorde, we took the metro to Champs-Élysées. We took photos at Arc de Triomphe, and walked down the shopping street. We passed by LV and then went to Ladurée. The last time I was at Ladurée (back in 2012), it was still under renovation. Now, the indoor restaurant has been complete.
We took the metro at the end of Champs-Élysées, the station is Franklin D Roosevelt. We went straight to Trocadero. Took photos of Eiffel there. There was a street performance by a bunch of local boys at the steps of Trocadero. We sat down and enjoyed the performance before moving towards Eiffel.
We walked through Eiffel, and towards the end of the field. There were a lot of people relaxing on the field enjoying the nice weather. We took the metro at École Militaire back to Bastille (the metro nearest to the hotel).
From Bastille station, we explored the area and later had coffee at a nearby cafe before going back to the hotel.
In the evening, we had dinner at a kebab restaurant near the hotel. It was inexpensive and quite tasty.
At 10:30PM, we took a taxi to Moulin Rouge. I have been to Moulin Rouge back in 2012. Since my friends were interested in watching, and I’ve been wanting to buy the soundtrack of the show, I decided to join them. The show was slightly different as one of the intermission shows had a snake in a pool performance. Back in 2012, the intermission was something else. Very interesting indeed.
That was the end of our 1 day layover in Paris. It was a really enjoyable trip, mostly because I could understand a bit of French. Our flight to New York was the following morning.