Saturday, July 29, 2017

Paris, the Second Time Around: Epilogue of a 5 Days Paris Family Vacation (I Love Paris Series 17)

Paris, the Second Time Around
Epilogue of a 5 Days Paris Family Vacation
I Love Paris Series 17 

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and
 it took us almost twelve years to return after our first visit.

This is actually the first leg of our European vacation
which would start at the city of love for five days,

…then move on to Lisbon for six days,


… to Caceres in Extramadura Spain for four days,

…and finally to Madrid for another four days.

Day 1
Stay, Stray and Feast

We arrived at noontime at the Hotel Bresil Opera,

 …after a long haul trip from Naga Citywith an overnight stay in Manila,
 a stop over in Taipei in Taiwan, another stop over in Amsterdam,

…and we were finally in Paris at France’s
Charles de Gaulle airport early in the morning.

We took a taxi to Hotel Bresil Opera, 
located right within the Parisian city center.

Check in time was still at 2 PM so we looked
for  a place to have lunch and we found a small
Chinese restaurant few steps away from the hotel.

local ‘carenderias’ in the Philippines that serve pre-
cooked dishes displayed in a glass-encased counter.

There was an enormous variety of Chinese dishes, sold on  a
 per gram basis, and served in disposable plastic containers.

The food in this restaurant was so delicious,
the we ended up dining here almost everyday.

We returned to Hotel Bresil Opera after 
lunch, and our room was ready by then.

Hotel Bresil Opera is a comfortable
hotel for families traveling on a budget.
It has a beautiful, chic, well- designed
spacious and comfortable suite rooms, 

Ours was a Triple Room at the second floor and it
was spacious enough to accommodate four persons.

… a window side seating area,
with a view of a lovely courtyard
of the neighboring ancient buildings.

We unpacked and lazed to rest for a while.

The good thing with Hotel Bresil Opera is being located at the center of
Paris, a mere few minutes walk to most of the city's main attractions.
It  is also few steps away from Grands Boulevards Metro Station where 
we took a subway to Trocadero to see the Eiffel Tower, which we decided 
visit upon arriving as we didn't want to sleep early to avoid a jet lag..

Trocadéro, serves as an awesome view deck
for one of the world’s most visited monuments

…the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most visited
monuments and next to the French flag, it is probably
the most popular icon that symbolizes the France.

Trocadéro is the site of the Palais de Chaillot,
where one can admire not just the iconic tower
but the numerous bronze gilded sculptures.

We walked leisurely along
the lovely Trocadéro gardens

…that serves as an awesome backdrop
to the stunning Eiffel Tower.

We were hungry when we arrived at the end of the park but luckily there
were several food stalls that sell crepes, and baguette sandwiches,

…and we feasted on them while relaxing at a park bench
and admiring the view of the awesome Eiffel Tower that
has started turning to a golden hue in the late afternoon sun.

After having our snacks at the Trocadéro
gardens we walked across the street and
shopped at the roadside souvenir shop.


We then crossed a bridge over the river of Sienne,


…and headed to the Parc du Champs de Mars,
that provided us a closer view of Eiffel Tower.

Parc du Champs de Mars or Field of Mars in English,
a former French military marching and drilling grounds.
and is the most popular place to view the Eiffel Tower.


We where overwhelmed by the
grandness of the tower up- close.

^^^Our old photo taken in 2013
 (before my son was born)

We slowly headed to the vast immaculately
manicured lawns of Parc du Champs de Mars ,

…and we were rewarded with an
unobstructed view of Eiffel Tower.

This is where most of the tourists come to view,
take photos.or even just laze on the well manicured
lawns to relax and ogle at the iconic tower.

We later walked our way at the rear end of
the park where the École Militaire, is located.

... a former French Military School
with vast  complex of buildings of
 various military  training facilities. 

We later walked our way to the metro,

where we had a hearty dinner of Chinese dishes.

We then walked our way back to
the hotel for a much needed rest.

Day 2
Stray and Feast

This would be a very busy day for us as we would
be visiting the city’s major attractions via subway.

We walked down at the Grands Boulevard
and headed to McDonald’s for breakfast.

The kinds were amused as this store was using
a fully computerized on- line ordering system.

The restaurant was manned by only one person,
and costumers order food from touch- screen
computers, that accepts card and cash payments,
and sends the information to the kitchen.

The food is served on the counter,
fast, hot and delicious.

We then took the subway and headed
to Charles Étoile de Gaulle Metro,

...the nearest subway stop to
the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile. 


The Arc de Triomphede l' Étoile is dedicated those who fought
and died during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, and
the site of  Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers during the World War I.

Just like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphede l' Étoile
is also one of the most popular monuments in Paris which
me family first visited in 2003 when my daughter was five
years old, and my youngest son was born yet at that time.

We returned this time at 2017 and I cannot help
but feel nostalgic on how time breezed out so
quickly and how fast the children have grown.

From the Arch of Triumph take a leisurely

It is a beautiful tree- lined,
two kilometer avenue,

….and one of the most famous streets
in the world for upscale shopping.

took the subway Île de la Cité  metro station, 

…to visit the Palaisde Justice
located within an island at the River
of Sienne at the Boulevard du Palais.

Formerly the known as Palais de la Cité or
the Palace of the City, is one of the oldest
surviving buildings of the former royal palace.

We wkaled the other end of the Île de la Cité where
we had lunch at the Al'Ombre de Notre Dame,

…that gave us a delicious preview what to expect
of famous French cuisine for our Paris vacation.

After a late lunch, we visited
              a medieval  Catholic Cathedral.          

It is among the largest and most well-known churches
in the world and serves as the Archdiocese of Paris

… and considered to be one of the finest
examples of French Gothic Architecture.

From Île de la Cité , we again took the

Sacré-Cœur Basilica is a Roman Catholic minor
basilica dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

A popular landmark, it is located at the summit of
the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. 

After visiting the Basilica we lingered for a while at the
Montmartre as it is also a popular tourist destination.

Limited development is allowed to maintain
the Montmartre’s historic rustic character,
and the quaint cobblestone streets is lined with
various stores, restaurants and souvenir shops.

This is where we discovered the

...a chocolate and pastry shop, that sells a
wide array of specialty chocolate products,
pastries, cookies. is also an  excellent 
source of the popular Parisian Macaroons.

Interestingly, while the popular Sacred Heart Basilica
is nestled at the top of the hill, downhill is the red- light
district where cabarets and Moulin Rouge are located.

From the Montmartre, again took the
subway we proceeded to the Opera,

…we admired the building’s beautiful façade,


…and walked our way to the

Galeries de laFayette is an awesome alternative

… as it less intimidating for impoverished tourists from
third world country like my family who are traveling on
a budget and don’t have enough shopping money to spend.

Galeries Lafayette is one of the world’s best known
department stores and has become synonymous of luxury
shopping that offers premium brands on affordable prices. 

The queue to the popular brands was otherwise kilometric.

We took a subway back to our hotel, but had a heavy

…before returning to our hotel room.

It was a busy day and we needed to rest and recharge.

Day 3
Play and Feast

The kids were excited as it was our Disneyland day.
We had an early breakfast at the nearby McDonalds,
and took a subway going to Disneyland Resort Paris.

The last time that we have been to EuroDisney was
in 2003, when my daughter was  five years old and
before young son Timothy was born, and he has been
very excited for his first visit to Paris Disneyland.

Except for the new their new theme park in Shanghai,
we have been to all Disneyland parks in the world, and
we always had a great time and extremely enjoyed the
experience wherever they are and wherever they may be. 

Eurodisney has two theme parks;

…and the Disneyland Paris.

We bought tickets to both parks and decided 

 a tribute to honor the French inventors of cinema serves
as an entrance courtyard Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

It was themed like in a Spanish Colonial Revival of the 1930's
Hollywood with a large Fantasia fountain as a centerpiece.

…it is home to most shops and guest services of the
park and it is also where the Earful Tower is located.

Front Lot features Disney Studio 1, a covered walkway whose 
exterior was loosely based on the first sound stage that Walt Disney 
owned. Inside are shops and restaurants themed after a studio
sound stage, lining  a recreation of a Hollywood street .

From the Front Lot, we immediately proceeded to the
Toon Studio, used to be called as Animation Courtyard,
it is zone inspired by classic Disney and Pixar characters. 

We queued at Crush’s Coaster a roller coaster based
on Finding Nemo movie. a unique attraction in Paris.

Other attractions in this zone the which
we decided not ride due to limited time

We immediately went to a new Paris themed area that offers
another unique attraction to Walt Disney Studios Park Paris.
A motion-based trackless ride based on the film Ratatouille. 

It queue was kilometric so we just decided to get a fast pass,

…and went to the Toy Story Playland where
the kids enjoyed the Slinky Dog Zig Zag Spin.

Other rides that we found a little bit extreme for

…and RC Racer is a steel shuttle
 half loop track roller coaster .

The next visited the Production Courtyard,

The ride originated from the Studio Backlot Tour,
 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Orlando.

but has long been removed in the
US, so it is now only found in Paris.

Other traction on thii zone are


We returned to the French themed zone just in time for our fast pass

We then visited the Backlot and we were thrilled

We concluded our visit by having a lunch at the
Restaurant en Coulisse found in Disney Studio 1,

…and later moved to the nearby Disneyland Park
for another exciting Disney family adventure.

We were finally on the classic Disneyland Park Paris,
what is supposed to be  the happiest place on earth.

It was a nopstalgic visit as we a;lready visited this park
about twleve years ago and  the Disneyland Hotel color 
has changed from light green to a lively pastel shade.

^^^2003 visit

We started our exploration in the Main Street, U.S.A.,

It is lined with a wonderful turn of the century buildings
housing cacophonyof souvenir shops, specialty stores,

…and restaurants,

From the Main Street USA, we
proceeded to the Frontierland,

…and queued at the Phantom Manor

…and to the all- time family favorite
the iconic Big Thunder Mountain.

Also found in this zone are the Pocahantas Indian Village
and the very popular Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing.

We accessed the Adventureland from Frontierland,

…where several attractions are located

...the Pirates of the Caribbean together with
the La Plage des Pirates, or the Pirates Beach
and the Pirate Galleon or Pirates Galleon.

one of the most popular attractions in this zone.

located  the zone’s massive entrance arc,
and is where we accessed the Fantasyland.

The Fantasyland is the heart and soul of all Disney Parks
and  the massive Sleeping Beauty Castle or the what they

… not only serves as the iconic symbol for Disneyland
but as a grand entrance to this fairytale land as well.

Most of the classic Disney rides are in this
 area like the Les Voyages de Pinocchio,

or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,


Le Carrousel de Lancelot or Lancelot's Carousel.

...and of course, the It's a Small World boat ride.

Meet Mickey Mouse is a pavilion where guests
can interact and have photos with Mickey Mouse.

The Discoveryland is the Parisian counterpart

simulated ride is found in this zone.

The iconic Space Mountain on most Disney Parks
around the world had an Star Wars upgraded version

Also worth visiting  is the Les Mystères du Nautilus 

… the Autopia,

…and Orbitron – Machines Volantes
are also found in this futuristic zone.

The good thing with the two Disneyland Parks in Paris
is being moderately sized and less crowded as compared
the its Orlando and Anaheim counterparts in the US.
It makes both parks easier and less exhausting to navigate,
and allow guests to enjoy all attractions on a single day.

Disneyland Parks, wherever it may be, never fails
to bring in the fun, the magic and the excitement
for an awesome and unforgettable family vacation.

We returned to Paris City center just is time for dinner
and dropped by Traiteur Asia: Asia Delices Paris
and feasted ob delicious Chinese dishes once more,

…before retiring back to the hotel.

Day 4
Culture Overload

It was our penultimate day in Paris and we
took  an early morning train  to Versailles,

…and arrived at the quaint village
after about fourty- five minutes.

…and walked on a tree- canopied sidewalk
admiring the rustic ambiance of Versailles.

During our 2003, to the Palace of Versailles, the statue
of Louise XIV was located in front of the palace,

^^^2003 photo

 …but this time it was moved to the roadside,

…when the "Gate of  Honour" restored in
2009 as it was not there yet on our first visit.

The Palace of Versailles was built by Louis XIII in 
1623,   as a hunting lodge of brick and stone,  and 
was transformed into a royal palace by Louis XIV.

The façade is surmounted with a triangle of
lead statuary surrounding a large clock, whose
hands were stopped upon the death of Louis XIV.

The Palace of Versailles is a living museum of
Louis XIV golden age of profligate rule and has
been listed as a World Heritage Site for 30 years.

A succession of kings continued to embellish
the Palace up until the French Revolution.

Guests would be awed by the opulence of the palace,

...that contains more than 2,000 rooms,

…as it is considered as one of the greatest
achievements in French 17th century art.

Not to be missed is the opulent Galerie des Glaces
or  the Hall of Mirrors, is the grandest and probably
the most popular, most celebrated room in Versailles.

It has been a setting for many of the glamorous
royal ceremonies of the French Court in the past.

This is also a showcase of extravagance as mirrors
are some of the most expensive luxury items then,
and having huge panels of wall mounted mirrors in this
hall is an ostentatious display of wealth during that time.

We had a snack and Angelina's Restaurant
located right inside the Palace of Versailles,


also bought tickets for the Gardens of Versailles,
but it rained all day, and we only saw a part of it.

Were trapped for several hours at the
Versailles due to a heavy downpour,

…and took the train to Paris
to visit the Louvre Museum.

We arrived at the Louvre Museum very
late in the afternoon amidst  heavy downpour.

The museum was already closing in less than an hour,
so we ran our way to Louvre’s most popular exhibit-

… Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Liza.

The exhibit closed just as we arrived
and there were very few people around,

…so we were able to appreciate
the famed Mona Lizaup- close.

originally  built as a fortress in the late 12th century,

…and was converted to the Louvre Palace in 1546
that served as residence of  the French royalties
and the seat of power by the French monarchies.

When Louis XIV moved to the Palace of Versailles  
the Louvre primarily primarily functioned as a museum.


We first visited the museum in 2003
when may daughter was very young,

^^^2003 Photo

…and we initially wanted to have our pictures
 taken at the iconic I.M. Pei’s  glass pyramid,

…but it rained heavily that we settled for
a photo taken inside at the base, looking up.

While we shopped for souvenirs
as the Carousel du Louvre,


...tired and exhausted, my young son waited
patiently resting in one corner of the shop.

We had a dinner at Mira Cuisine Espagnole
a Spanish restaurant at the Café du Monde,

…and returned to the hotel after the rain stopped.

Day 5

It was our last day in Paris and
we had breakfast in our hotel.


We returned to our room to pack up as we
would have an noon time flight for Lisbon.

We took a shuttle to Charles de Gaulle
airport shortly before noon- time,

…and we were just in time for the our Air France

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