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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

(2036) Paris 2016

Day 0: flight kix-inc
Short 2 hr flight, movie only watched halfway fathers and daughters. Bb slept most of it. 
2 hrs at inc airport. Lots of shops but nothing seems cheap. Note to self- Gate 48 has no wifi
Inc-cdg 
We got like a lousy old plane with videos set to repeat in 17 channels. B-777!!? 12 hours, I watched Brooklyn/我的少女时代 on continuous repeat and read 3 books. 
Zzz I hope this is not the case for the return flight. Even the short 2 hour kix-inc flight had better equipment. Asiana's food was almost 5stars until we got dinner. Unappetizing and tasted like airplane food. Happy to get the last rows but the korean obachan kept using my seat to stretch. (-.-!) CAs were very polite and helpful. 
Reached cdg at last at about 6.40pm got out of airport at 7.30? Cab ride to city took about an hour due to jams, cost €55 fixed rate. Driver was polite and helpful. 
Apartment was tinier than expected but at least all 3 of us fit on the bed.
 We unpacked whatever we could to maximise the space and finally showered and went to bed at about 11pm. Sun only set at 9.30pm! 

Day 1: We woke up at 5am, had cup noodles for breakfast, checked mails, got changed and finally left the house at 8.30am. Was supposed to collect the pocket wifi at the post office but it was closed! A lady saw us pacing the entrance of the post office and stopped to help us. She told us it was a holiday that day .. (Whit monday) argh! So we had to make do with no wifi and a map that was still open in my google maps to make our way towards Jardin du luxembourg. On our way, we saw a eric kayser and bought some bread in our terrible french and big smiles. Most pple were friendly to us. (Perhaps bb being there helped). Sat in a small garden of Musee Cluny to eat and watch a cat. 

Jardin du luxembourg - The gardens were huge. Lots of joggers and police. random chasing bb ard and then we headed towards the children's area. Playground was expensive so we gave it a miss. €1,90/ child and €2.50 /adult! We gave bb a ride on the pony instead (€3,50) . 
After that we headed out of the park for lunch. There was supposed to be a
Cafe in bonpoint but it's closed. ended up browsing and overspending a crazy amount of money on the softest and lightest piece of leather jacket EVER! I can only think luckily there was some tax refund... Found a good place for lunch, where the waiters were friendly to bb. (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187147-d2215946-Reviews-Au_Chai_de_l_Abbaye-Paris_Ile_de_France.html) Trudged up and down Saint Germaine and we found ippudo! I guess we have to fulfil our one ippudo per country mission, now that we've found it. We'll head back on our last few days. We had the best crepes at La creperie des canettes. After traipsing up and down Saint Germaine, we finally found Monoprix on our way back, and did some grocery shopping. Took a train back, (4stops) and a scary looking man helped me opened the train door (the switch was manual) to exit. But he smiled at me when I thanked him (merci!) and hedidn't look so scary anymore :) 
We reached back at our apartment at abt 6+pm, I dropped for a nap and finally woke up at about 1am.. I think i'll go to bed now..

Day 2: This is what happens when you don't record the days as it happens. I don't remember the order of our events anymore. But I'll try to piece the days together from our photos.

We woke up at 6am again. Ate homecooked noodles and finally got our pocket wifi after some conf calls. The day was sunny and warm. We headed to Marcel (http://www.restaurantmarcel.fr/) at Montmartre for brunch and it was a great place! Friendly to bb and the food was good. Incidentally, it was near sacre ceour and I've never been there so we slowly made our way there after lunch. We could see Eiffel tower from the Sacre Ceour viewpoint, and the church was very majestic. Found a free (?) carousel and playground when we walked down from Sacre Ceour so we let bb chase the birds and play for a while. After that, we all urgently needed the loo so we had to buy some food in Pret A manger to get the toilet code to enter. After that, we walked from MontMartre area to Opera area to find the apple store because my cable was spoilt. The store was amazing! except no loos... Luckily, there was Galeries Lafayette, loos were clean and spacious and free! We walked around the shops slowly until they closed and made quite a few purchases. No one was really hungry so we just headed home for some light dinner and then bed.

Day 3: Found a market near our apartment from the Markets in Paris book, so we headed there (Moffartard Market). It was a row of shops, from fresh food to rotisseries to cafes and bookstores. We bought some books for bb, and some poulet and porc for dinner and ate lunch at a place called La Verre A Pied. It was very homecooked food, and not too expensive and again - friendly to bb. Went home to put down our shopping and headed back out to the Notre Dame area to find the bookstore Shakespeare and Co. (https://shakespeareandcompany.com/) It's a super old bookstore, but they've put up a cafe beside it, so it's very crowded and touristy now.

We were supposed to head to the LV store at St Germain des Pres to get my back but it turns out that the bag was only available at Champs Elysee and it was raining heavily suddenly so quite a drag to be walking around. With only 1 piece available in Paris, I decided it was too much of a risk to wait so we went down by metro and the store was saying they couldn't find that bag even though their inventory system said it was there. No loo to be used there as well and the sales assistant said she would try to find the item again and after much waiting, she found it!! YAY! she checked the label and said it was only in that morning which was why there was much confusion of where it was. PHEW... the rain was still very heavy when we left so we sat at Mcdonalds for a while (to use the loo as well) and let bb get a bite. In the end, we decided to just wait out the Uber surge pricing as well since we didn't want to lug the big box from LV around on the subway as well.

Day 4: Mission to get Antik Batik stuff for A. Again.. rainy day after we were out. We went into a michelin guide restaurant Le Ferrandaise (because we walked past it before) and took their 3-course set and a mini lunch set for bb (came up to 37+37+16euros) . (http://www.laferrandaise.com/) The food was so-so but service good.

It was still raining so we headed to Le Bon Marche. I thought I had maxed out my shopping so we basically went to find the elusive loo (3rd floor near tax free counter) and walked around. The Repetto store had a limited edition shoe (Darn it!!) and kept me thinking about it over the weekend. We spent most of the rest of the afternoon in the Epicerie to get souvenirs and food. Then we trekked about 4km back to our apartment from Le Bon Marche. Super sore legs and tired bb after that.

Day 5: My sis went to do the laundry early in the morning (because bb had run out of warm clothes - the weather was turning out colder than expected.) Just search for Laverie or laundry service in Google Maps. It was 4euros for 6kg and 1euro for 9 minutes of drying. This site pretty much sums it up : http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/paris-tips-for-doing-laundry-in-paris.html
There's a list of laundromats: http://www.francetravelplanner.com/go/paris/shop/laundry.html

In the meantime, we waited for the plumber at home. The shower water was not flowing down the drain properly and we were tired of standing ankle deep in the dirty water every shower and worried about flooding the shower room. So I had informed the landlord and she asked the plumber to fix it. It took all of 10 minutes, for him to clean the drain hole of all the gross stuff. Bb tried to give the plumber a haribo for his work and he laughed and said "c'est gentil". Very funny haha.

After that, we headed to HolyBelly - near Gare d'L'est. There was a short queue, but luckily we were there early because after we went in the queue became very long. The food was asian/western fusion (http://holybel.ly/) and pretty refreshing, besides bb finishing up whatever I shared with her. After that we slowly walked to Place de la Republique, and bb spent some time feeding and chasing pigeons. We wandered down some jewellery wholesale street and also a street full of pastries, so we sat down and tried some cupcakes. Walked towards the Pompidou, saw Fontaine Stravinsky, and it was time to find a loo. Had no choice but to use the public loo. (It was erhhh..) Walked to Forum Des Halles, checked the Nike store but everything was more expensive than Japan. In the end we sat at Jardin du Forum Des Halles while bb climbed a giant sculpture called Ecoute. Found a kitchenware store so we went in to explore.

Somehow, we managed to walk to the Lourve at about 5pm so we let bb feed the pigeons and ducks and took pictures. Again - we would have loved to sit there for a longer time but there were no loos and we headed to a nearby Mcdonalds for the free loo. LONG QUEUE! But I guess bb was hungry so we bought some fries and rested there abit, while waiting for the Udon place Kunitoraya to open. (http://www.kunitoraya.com/) 17Euros per bowl of udon! My sister's noodles had good soup, but curry udon was abit weak. Apparently the street was all Asian food, there were some other udon/ramen shops there as well as korean food. We headed back by metro, because it was almost 9pm. (Despite the sun not set yet..)

Day 6: Woke up early again and we headed to Cafe Pouchkine at St Germain des Pres (from the Japanese guidebook)  (http://cafe-pouchkine.fr/). It turned out to be a Russian cafe, and we had brunch (quite expensive..) The food was pretty good though. We sat there for about 2 hours, then started heading to the museum areas.

Headed to the Lourve again (it was the night of free museum visits) but because we wanted to buy the souvenir mug (requested by hb). This time we went by the tulleries way, and spent some time in the carrousel shops and museum shop. We wanted to get some food at Mcdonalds but turns out it was pretty expensive compared to Mcdonald's outside the Lourve. So bb fell asleep at the table, my sis got hungry after a while and we decided to get afternoon tea at Mariage Freres.  (http://www.mariagefreres.com/FR/adresses.html) It was expensive but very yummy. The pot of tea we ordered kept us there for 2-3 hours. (bb did her writing since she said she didn't want to eat) And they provided free coupons to use the Lourve loo (it costs 1.50euros otherwise) so ask the staff before heading to the loo.

After that we fed pigeons at Jardin des Tulleries until it was time to head to Musee d'Orsay for the free entry. There was such a long queue! but mainly due to the bag checks. Otherwise it was quite smooth and we had a chance to finally visit this wonderful museum for free. There was a live orchestra performance as well. We finally ended our museum visit at 9pm and took the metro home. Bb fell asleep halfway through her udon. It's been a long day for her :)

Day 7: Sunday - Bastille market day. It was a super rainy day. Bb insisted on using my umbrella so I had to depend on my hood of the leather jacket. Now I know why everyone wears leather in Paris. For the unpredictable showers ... There were some amazing oysters, had some mussels and crepes. bb didn't have much breakfast so we got her an orange juice and Pain au chocolat. We wanted to go to the park but the rain got so heavy we had to head home (me sans umbrella). It was quite miserable.

Rested a while in room until dinner time and we headed down to Rue Moffatard for dinner. Chez Ann (https://www.facebook.com/Chez-ann-sisters-325481027498407/) It was a Chinese hand pulled noodle shop, and only 10euros for their set meals. Very good find on a rainy and wet day. Their guo tie was great! Bb insisted to take the umbrella when it started raining again and I got so fedup.

Day 8: Woke up feeling feverish .. (think it was the rain :(.. ) but we were supposed to get to Le Bon Marche for my blue green repettos! (http://www.lebonmarche.com/produit/190131_ballerines-a-rayures-cendrillon.html) We took the train there (seeing that it was a horribly wet day again) and ended up buying not just 1 pair. At about noon, we went to the Rose Bakery next to the shoes section and got the last 3 seats, and suddenly the queue built up. (https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187147-d189255-r156655769-Le_Bon_Marche_Rive_Gauche-Paris_Ile_de_France.html) The lunch was quite organic and brown.. not great for me, but bb seemed to have enjoyed it, albeit in a slow slow way. The peanut butter chocolate cake was good! but my sore throat feverish feeling didn't add to the enjoyment i guess. After lunch, we continued shopping, bought some stuff here and there in the dept store before heading to the tax free area.

We headed for home at around 4pm, by train, then later on to see the Phildar shop (turns out to be a clothes/yarn shop instead of yarn) near our place. Also, we discovered a pharmacy, which was great and got some cough drops plus we discovered throngs of Koreans crazily buying cough syrup and other products off the shelves (like avent, avene etc) Bb went to feed pigeons at Place Monge and we took turns to go into the store.

Day 9: Had medicine the night before so was feeling half ok. We slept in cos I'm sick. Finally we woke up and headed to Ippudo Paris for lunch. http://www.ippudo.fr/ It was good, tasted like the real thing, but no sides like the spicy beansprouts and tea. Basic ramen was 13 Euros. There's a Japanese staff, and some french staff who could speak Japanese. Service was good, think they are still in their training phase. We went at 12noon, opening time, so we headed in without a queue but the place filled up very quickly. After that, we headed out and wandered around that area, (Mont St Michel?) and headed home for my sis to pack. I napped for a bit after medication and the whole day was quite wasted. My sister left in a uberx cab to Gare du Nord and we were left to fend for ourselves for dinner. I went to the supermarket, found some coconut water to reduce the heatiness and also a slab of fish to make into some sort of stew to eat with our rice. Maybe bb was hungry as well, she asked for more rice and ate 2 dishes of it. (I think she thought it was curry)

Day 10: We went down to La Creperie Josselin at last. It was abit of a longish train ride, and bb started wailing when she didn't get to open the train door via the manual handle. So whiny... and overdramatic. http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/france/paris/restaurants/reviews/la-creperie-josselin-483740 The service was good, and it was actually very empty, maybe because it was a weekday afternoon, about 2pm? It was so empty we were the only customers left inside at a point, and we sat there slowly eating the lunch set and then drinking tea after. Since daylight was until 9pm, there was no rush, we slowly made our way to the Eiffel Tower at about 4+pm. It was a 40minutes walk with abit of a rest in between when bb saw a park and wanted to run in it. We had no intention of climbing the tower so we basically headed for the loo queue the moment we reached there. Think we waited about 30 minutes or more. I blame the tea. After that we sat on the grass in front of the tower for 40 minutes or so, and just did nothing for a while. At about 7pm, we finally decided to leave, and luckily, there was a direct train to our apartment.

Day 11: We woke up 8++, I had work calls, then we had pasta with sausages for breakfast to try to use up all the fresh food in the fridge. Bb asked for pasta surprisingly, so we had a filling meal before we headed out. I didn't have any plans on where to go at first, until I remembered we haven't gone to the cemetery. Pere Lachaise cemetery was on my list of places to go but it was all rainy and quite far so we didn't have the chance to go until today which surprisingly turned out to be very sunny.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A8re_Lachaise_Cemetery) We alighted at Gambetta station via advice from wiki, which was really a good move as we were moving downhill most of the way and bb didn't complain too much. But, because it wasn't the main gate, there was no map, I couldn't look at the signboard because another woman was hogging it, so we were really just strolling through the cemetery. We finally managed to chance upon Jim Morrison's tombstone, by following a group of students, and accidentally upon the grave of one of the victims from the terror attacks at Bataclan last November. Most people who happened upon the grave paused for a few seconds, perhaps with thoughts of RIP and OMG.. and with renewed vigour to live life to the fullest. We strolled around the cemetery until bb happened to chance upon the loo at the right moment. Beyond that it was actually near the entrance already. It was about 3+pm, semi peckish, but I wasn't sure what there was to see nearby. In the end, we slowly walked toward a bus stop, to take our first ever bus trip in Paris, to head back towards our side of the river.

We took bus 69, and it was quite interesting. The ride cost the same as a metro ride, except you could look at the scenery. I originally wanted to stop near the Musee d'Orsay, but the bus stopped at somewhere near to Pont Neuf which we haven't been yet so we hopped off, and strolled towards the Seine where there were the secondhand book sellers along the left/right bank. There were alot of children's books! and the old books were in great condition. I really regret not having the luggage space to bring them home... but what would I do with all the French books? We strolled past a Thai food place, a cute dog with it's cute owners, the Palais de Justice, until we reached Shakespeare & Co, and we sat at the cafe next to it to have crepe/profiteroles because bb said she was hungry. It was only about 4pm and too far from dinner. The only problem with only the 2 of us around is that we can't leave our stuff at the table when bb said she needed the loo. We strolled to the Notre Dame cathedral after we finished our food and sat around for a while watching roller bladers and people queuing to enter, and listening to the church bells chime at 5.30pm. Craving for some thai food, but the restaurant only was opening at 7pm, it was still 6pm, so we decided to head back and cook up the rest of our food in the fridge instead. Also, to pack, because we will head for Dijon tomorrow!

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