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Hello Paris!! CDG, Arc de Triomphe & Eiffel Tower

After Barcelona and the Mediterranean Coast, our adventure continued on to Paris where I was totally stoked to spend 5 full days exploring the city.

Having grown up with images of Paris from books, movies (with Da Vinci Code and Taken as my personal favorites) and stories from friends and family who have gone before me, I was fully prepared to absorb as much history, sightseeing, culture, arts and culinary delights as I could in those 5 days. Leave the shopping for the ladies of the group, I was here to get my sensory overload fix!


Barcelona Airport

* The EasyJet terminal in Barcelona kinda reminded me of one of our own airports here in the Philippines, NAIA 2; not the run-down, “world’s worst airport” yet strangely charming (in my opinion) NAIA 1.



Barcelona Airport

* The 6 hour wait just flew by thanks to the Duty Free store where I spent most of my time admiring the alcohol section (I work for a liquor company) and where I finally got to buy an FC Barcelona jersey, the eatery full of great tasting sandwiches and fully stocked with San Miguel Beer (makes me proud to be Pinoy!), and the conversations I had with my folks, aunt and uncle and cousins about just anything on our minds.


Charles de Gaulle

* Arriving in Charles De Gaulle, how can one not get impressed when even the friggin airport looks artsy with modern and eclectic seating and a piano player going on about his business.


Charles de Gaulle

* The wifi lounge in Charles De Gaulle where apparently lying down in futuristic looking pods while checking email is the norm!


Hotel Elysee Union

* After the 30 minute taxi ride, we finally got to our hotel, Hotel Elysee Union, which I absolutely loved. With it’s friendly staff, very affordable and fast wifi, good-sized rooms and breakfasts full of Nutella, the hotel is comfort at a very reasonable price. Not to mention convenient, with a convenience store right next door, several restaurants and two Metro stations nearby.


Hotel Elysee Union

* And did I mention that this is the view from just outside the hotel lobby? For someone used to seeing drab buildings full of billboards in Manila, this sight made me wish we had some sort of visible landmark or planning in our capital city. For the 5 days I stayed here, I don’t remember a time where I didn’t gawk upon seeing this.


Le Kleber

* After going through the feeling-out and territory rituals upon checking-in any hotel room, we decided to try out this restaurant across the street for our welcome meal and to have drinks after.

Le Kleber

* At the Le Kleber Restaurant, I ordered a juicy Rib-eye steak with a double-shot of Espresso on the side. This was a welcome-break after my steady diet of croissant and parma ham / salami for the past few days!


Le Kleber

* Afterwards, my cousins and I had some drinks at the bar area.  A double Glenlivet on the rocks ALWAYS does the trick!


Arc De Triomphe

* After downing the awesome scotch, we decided to walk towards the Arc De Triomphe which is just a 10 minute walk away (1 metro stop away) from our Hotel! We then proceeded to go into full tourist-mode, taking loads of pictures of the place.


Arc De Triomphe

* Under the Arc, impressed at how HUGE this thing is.


Arc De Triomphe

* I had to take a photo of this Leonidas-looking dude on one of the Arc’s pillars.


Arc De Triomphe

* For kicks, we challenged our folks to climb 284 steps or 15 flights of stairs up the Arc De Triomphe to get a view of the city, which they GAMELY DID! This bust of some intense dude with a dragon/chicken on his head can be found mid-way to the top of the climb.


View from Arc De Triomphe

* And the view of Paris from the top of the Arc, with the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysees visible, was worth the climb!


Arc De Triomphe

* Back down, it was only customary to pay tribute to the Tomb of the Unknown French Soldier.


Arc De Triomphe

* To get a sense of how HUGE this place is scale-wise, check out that senor sitting at the center, contemplating about his lot in life.


Eiffel Tower

* After we got tired of gawking up at the Arc, we realized that we wanted to gawk up at one more landmark, so we decided to try the Metro for the first time and to head to the Eiffel Tower! Getting on the Charles de Gaulle Etoile station (which is directly next to the Arc) and getting off the Bir-Hakeim station, we were greeted by this view as we stepped off the platform.


Eiffel Tower

* Another view of the tower, but this time from right under it. This thing is MASSIVE. Equally exciting is the activity at ground-level with numerous street performers, souvenir vendors, crepe and ice cream stalls, tourists and gypsies hounding them. We just had to have a Magnum ice cream to commemorate the occasion.


Seine River Cruise

* We saw a sign that directed us towards the Seine River Cruise, and since we’re so easily convinced by random ads, we decided to check it out! While the adults took the time to friggin nap on the cruise, I was busy taking pics of the various landmarks along the way including the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and Notre Dame. Even on river-level Paris is just beautiful, just check out this bridge!


Seine River Cruise

* Another thing that struck me is the multitudes of people who just hang out by the river; eating, drinking, playing musical instruments and making-out! Seriously, them Parisians LOVE hanging out by the Seine. Pictured above is a hot lesbian couple who moments ago was passionately making-out, which got us guys snickering.


Seine River Cruise

* A final view of the Eiffel Tower this time from the river cruise. Make sure to wait for the Light Show which occurs every hour till around 1am and is sure to make everyone just stop and watch in amazement, like the Zombies in Land of the Dead.

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