Paris is not a place to walk around in a pair of tattered old shoes with no brandname. But around Paris I did, acutely aware that the heels which started giving problems in Amsterdam were going to make a hasty departure in Paris. But the heels clung on to dear life throughout my trip. In fact, it survived the vineyards of Bouzy and made it with aplomb at poco-poco in Paris.
Inching along Champs-Élysées, a five minute walk from our cosy little hotel, in search of a decent bite, brandnames upon brandnames jumped up at me. It is not a place to be if you can’t pronounce, never mind afford the LVs, the Chanels or Christian Dior , Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent, and Van Cleef & Arpels, to name but a few.
It was an unusually warm afternoon in Paris and in fact the whole of Europe was bathed in sunshine, so out came my sunglasses; a five-dollar fake something from a marketplace in Siem Reap. Through the tinted glasses, I could see that almost everyone was carrying an LV, the way people carry the Primark carrier bags here. I was again acutely aware of the bag with no name, clinging faithfully on my shoulder.
The Parisians, I must say, have style. They are chic from top to bottom.
We made our way to Notre Dame near the Latin Quarter and the famous Shakespeare’s Bookshop. It has always been my favourite eating place but we dilly-dallied, taking in the promise of sales from the shop windows, mentally working out Euros in pound sterling until the sun disappeared from the horizon and rendered the Arc de Triomphe even more majestic at night.
Notre Dame is magically transformed at dusk; the lighting does wonders to the Parisian sky, reflected in the Seine as cruise boats ply the tourists to take in the sights of the French capital. Lovers at street corners, on benches and along the bridge swayed and cuddled to the beat of African drums from the sidewalk.
From the 388 eateries offering kebabs to sushis and seafood galore, we found a halal Moroccan with couscous and chicken tagine. The place was indeed a tourist attraction, and if there was anything to learn about tourist attractions, this is the place to see and learn. There is no use opening up big restaurants where there’s no character and no soul.
That night, almost midnight, we decided to walk back until our legs could no longer carry us. But before we gave in to hailing a taxi, we took in Paris by night, stopping to admire the bridges and the Baroque architecture. Cutting across the park, with its numerous statues, we were mesmerised by Eiffel Tower in the distance, which started shimmering against the summer sky. It was quite a sight that halted the treks of most walkers; whipping out their cameras to capture the moment. Alas, for amateur photographer like me, Eiffel Tower emerged a big white blob. Apparently the Eiffel Tower light show lasts for ten minutes every hour and we caught it just before midnight.
Here's one I got online:
The Eiffel Tower Light Show
Suffice to say, this trip took me to several places I had never been before such as the magnificient Chateau de Versailles or The Palace of Versailles to see its beautiful gardens. There were miles and miles of queues from every direction. And then there was Jardin du Luxembourg, a garden populated with statues and a large lake for sailing model boats. Apparently these model boats are not remotely controlled and are modelled on the original boats that sailed with the power of the wind.
Crouching Tiger Actress + Famous Shoe Designer = Malaysis's Got Talents
As if to put a perfect end to a very interesting trip, the bonus on the last day was a meeting with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon actress, Michelle Yeoh. The jet setting actress had just returned from the Cannes Festival, before setting off again to Hong Kong, or was it China and then back to Malaysia for a documentary. And not a bag under those famous eyes.
A Charlie's Angels Remake? In front of Versaille
Note to self: Time I get meself a new pair of shoes and perhaps a more effective eye gel.
Kak Teh's other adventures in Paris:
To Paris with a Mission