Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Incident in Paris that Touched our Lives

A lot has been said about Paris and what I am sharing about this beautiful place is the good feeling when my aircraft smoothly touches the tarmac of the Charles De Gaulle International Airport. It is a little over an hour flight from Copenhagen Airport (formerly Kastrup Airport) to CDG Airport in Paris.
  
I am not new to travelling when I decided to visit Paris. To my mind, coming here is an accomplishment that I consider a dream come true.  It is my longest stay in a city (next to Rome) on a 17-day tour of Europe.  Understandably, I make sure that I am not missing any of those well publicised famous attractions.

Avenue des Champs-Élysées  and Arc de Triomphe in Paris FRANCE Photo Credit: Freefoto
I already have a good impression of France right at the airport.

My taxi driver is such a humble, polite and patient human being. He is not in a rush on our way to Hotel Harvey close to Palais des Congres and Champs Elysees.

I recommend this hotel to my fellow budget-conscious traveller as it is cheaper than other hotels around with the same class and is a walking distance to Arc de Triomphe and other must-see places.


The Front Desk staff are so helpful and very professional. It doesn't matter how early in the day and late at night that I come to their rescue, there is always one who will make us really feel important. To think that I always make my reservation online, I do not have the slightest idea on how this will go.

Hotel Harvey is not even a 4-star hotel but the services that they are showing are far beyond my expectation. This hotel is just one of the many that offers excellent service. 

Eiffel Tower is my first priority. It is neatly planned. I have to climb the tower on my first day and enjoy the panoramic view of the city. It is amazing on top during the day and I have decided to come back and picture the night with the sparkling light all around the tower.
  
Eiffel Tower in Paris FRANCE Photo Credit: FromATraveller
Yes, I do not want to miss the scene.

So I have to get up early and go ahead with my original plan of taking the first trip on an L'Open hop-on hop-off  double-decker tour bus. Oh yes, that is a good idea.  You will, literally, see the whole city by going with its four routes. Choose the top deck as the view is more fantastic. Each seat has its own earphone with English and French description of all the places you are seeing at the very moment.

You will have enough time to explore Paris' historical, romantic, and fashionable side by purchasing a two-day Pass. It is more convenient as you can see Paris at your own time and at your own pace.  Moreover, it is cheaper. 

You have to take the bus first thing and then make sure you are at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in the late afternoon. The tower is adorned with its golden covering and sparkles for five minutes every hour on the hour.


I have to make mention that during winter season from the middle of December till the end of January, the locals and visitors to the French capital are able to enjoy the most awaited ice rink. Come and skate on the 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower and have a drink with your friends at the open-air bar next to the skating rink.

Hotel Harvey in Paris FRANCE Photo Credit: FromATraveller
I walk from my hotel to Champ Elysees - yes, this is a broad avenue in the heart of Paris.  It is very touristy though and the busiest.  Busy in the sense that you can find almost everything in here - restaurants & cafes, cinemas, luxury car displays, specialty shops and brand name luxury stores like Cartier, Lacoste, Nike, Guerlain and Louis Vuitton to name a few.

Spend your time sitting, strolling, and getting hungry. But of course, I have to try a bit expensive restaurant and feast myself with special pasta & pizza. When you are in Champ Elysees, I can assure you that it is not easy to leave the place.

At the end of the popular avenue is the Arc de Triomphe located at the centre of the former Place de l'Etoile now popularly known as Place Charles de Gaulle. You won't miss it.

Going on top of the Arc de Triomphe by climbing the 284 steps, is a better place to take in the city's beauty. There is no doubt that you will see the twelve avenues that are lined perfectly and formed like a star.

Seine River in Paris FRANCE Photo Credit: Freefoto
Aside from the many shops and cafes along the avenue, it is recommended that you visit the adjoining tourist attractions.

You may want to stroll from the banks of the Seine river or take a tour by boat so that you can get a glimpse of the stunning monuments and historical buildings amid the soft glow of light on the water.

Or just sit back and revel in the fresh air deliciously floating in a scenic setting. For sure you will see on the river banks the Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the beautiful bridges that crossed the Seine River.

While relaxing, wait until you reach the most famous Pont-Neuf bridge. Although it is named as such, which means New Bridge, it is the oldest standing bridge across the river. Between May and September is the best time to take the boat tour as the sky is clearer and the temperature is generally warm.

Mr et Mme Crocher: Artisan Boulanger Patissier is just an ordinary bakery, yes it is!  But rather the best bakery, at least, to my family.

It is not only because of their products. The pastries and bread rolls (whatever Paris call it!) are excellent. The staff are truly amazing being so concerned with their customers. I am enjoying my second day with my family in Paris and have to stop by to refresh ourselves.  We did not realise that there is a man who'd been following us and acting strangely until we're in.  

I am sitting with my daughter near the fully opened glass door while my wife is at the cashier paying the pastries. The woman (who seems to be the owner of the bakery) whispers to her to keep watch of our valuables. An employee (wearing all white - must be a baker) stood in front of the bakery watching the man. He is on-guard and whatever happens, he is ready to protect us and my family.  

As soon as we are settled with the cashier, we are told to cross the street and avoid the man for untoward incident. It's the same woman who directed us to do so. This bakery deserves a commendation.  They are not only selling the best product.  They sold us a good reputation and the good image of Paris.  


Whoever see this Patissiere in this city, please extend our gratefulness to the owner and its employees. They have the best customer service, an incredible job that is.  We are touched!

A timeless city that is totally unabashed about showcasing the finest of French culture, Paris has an irrepressible sense for very good living. It is a short stay I would say, but cannot help but share with you the good side of this city.

Linger an extra day in Paris - and you'll take home a lifetime of love and good memories.

Updated : February 28, 2014
Updated: January 27, 2017


From the desk of: 
Freddie Miranda
A blogger and a Canada-based freelance writer. He shares the value of his travel experiences and discoveries with his friends and fellow travellers. Share your passion, join and visit him. Send a message @ fromatravellersdesk(at)gmail(dot)com.