Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Paris: City of Love and Light

When travelling, as much as possible, I like to inform myself. This time it was quite difficult. We had to be very flexible with our schedules --- opening hours in mind and we were meeting up with my relatives. Not exactly knowing what they had already visited, we were just open to all.

It wasn't my first time in Paris but I can tell you, when I saw Eiffel Tower, it lifted up my spirits, even if it were no less than a thumb in size. At night, we visited it again. When it started to blink all over (I think it happens once every hour at night for a few minutes), it was amazing. You will hear the gushes of sound from people around you while the lights started to blink. Uhhhhhs...ahhhhhs...

Needless to say, every country has its own ways.

What I learned and found useful in our trip.

1. Did you know you can get FREE tap water in restaurants in Paris?
The magic words are: carafe d'eau (cahr-AHF doh). Don't try to explain in English that you want water. We tried to say we want tap water at first. Our waiter played dumb and asked if we mean mineral water, hehe. When we said, carafe d'eau, he was like ...ok, got it. 

2. Go to Gallerie Lafayette/the main building. The view is outstanding. Don't just stop there and gawk at the ceiling and the balconies. Go up the deck/roof wherein you will be rewarded with a great view of Paris. We took the escalator. Then, there was a sign pointing to stairs. Follow it to go to the top floor. Even Sacre Coeur can be seen from afar! (In mini size, of course...). This one is also for free.

3. If travelling with someone younger than 26 years old, check for youth weekend tickets. Way cheaper! We bought our tickets at the counter on the first day. It was troublesome because the lady was confused with the zones for normal adult and for a youth (using youth weekend ticket). Surely, the person at the counter may speak/understand basic English but to get tickets for 4 people with 2 different tariffs, the lady was just overwhelmed with information (and possibly from wrong pronunciation of 'Jeunes /mobilis' on my part). 

ME: I want four tickets with 1 Jeunes Zone 1-3 Weekend Ticket and 3 mobilis Zone 1-2 adult tickets (showing my list to her).
LADY: Two tickets? (she ignoring my list)
ME: No....4 tickets. 
LADY: Two tickets?  (still ignoring my list)
ME: Nooooo....4 tickets! 
LADY: Zone 1-2?
As an afterthought, it was really a good idea to have written down what I wanted and to have an idea of more or less what it would cost us. She computed Zones 1-3 for all, adults and youth. After explaining that it wasn't so, she cancelled the tickets she wanted to give us. In the end, after much time had lapsed (or at least it felt so) and a queue had already formed behind us, we got what we wanted. 

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