Bonjour, Paris!

Last 2017, Paris was listed as the third most visited city in the world. The Eiffel Tower continues to be the most visited paid-for monument, while The Louvre is the world’s most visited museum. Even more notable is its ability to enrapture the hearts of many for generations, even decades before it was widely romanticized in pre-colorized movies. With iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and Arc de Triomphe, it’s no wonder how France’s capital is such a well-loved city.

Apart from the usual tourist areas, Paris is the undisputed fashion capital of the world. Its culture of fashion dates back in the eras of kings, where lavish and ornate tastes where celebrated by the monarchs and the upper class. Many decades after, this eventually led to the birth of the most coveted fashion houses in the world, such as Chanel, Dior, and Givenchy.

And with so many bags and clothes calling me as we landed, I couldn’t help but schedule a shopping trip as our first activity in Paris. The La Vallée Village is a luxury outlet that’s home to a thousand boutiques of the world’s most famous designer houses and lifestyle brands. You can go around the village for a week and still find 500 more stores left unexplored! With countless of labels within reach, service from a well-equipped staff, and a beautiful open air setting, The La Vallée Village is truly a force unrivaled in the realms of shopping.

The La Vallée Village

Our next stop is the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, or more commonly known as the City Hall Plaza. And although the plaza is both beautiful and luminous, it was called Place de Grève–grève meaning to go on strike, especially during France’s political turmoil. It is infamously known for being a site for public executions.

Place de l’Hôtel de Ville

During one of the days we were in Paris, Annie, one of my companions in the trip, was celebrating her birthday. When asked what she wanted to do during her day, she simply wanted to walk around and savor exquisite French meals. It’s quite pleasant to roam Paris on foot with beautiful sights and accessible metros.

Once, the L’église de la Madeleine, or simply Madeleine Church, was built to glorify Napoleon’s army. Now, it is a parish of the Archdiocese of Paris. While masses are celebrated daily, the basement holds Restaurant Église—a wine and dine French restaurant. For a yearly subscription of just 5 Euros, one can enjoy a three course meal priced at around 8.5 Euros.

We then spent Annie’s birthday lunch at Les Ombres. The restaurant is situated in the aromatic garden of the musée du quai Branly. While the food is absolutely exquisite, its panoramic view of Paris’ glory—including the Eiffel Tower, steals the spotlight.

Of course, a Parisian trip just isn’t complete without visiting some of the city’s most famous landmarks.

The tower that trumps all of the world’s towers.

La Ópera de París

We also stopped by La Ópera. The opera house was founded by Louise XIV in 1669 as the Académie d’Opéra. Each year, it presents around 380 performances of opera, ballet, and other performances to about 800,000 attendees with around 20% of whom are foreign visitors. We hope to catch a show when we do decide to come back!

Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée

 

Annie’s birthday dinner was held at the Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée. This French fine dining cuisine is the fruit of Versaille master gardener Alain Baraton and renowned chef Alain Ducasse. This partnership has allowed patrons to taste only the freshest vegetables and fruits, as they are picked and delivered each day. The space is as equally exquisite with Grecian columns, pristine hues of cream and white, and a gargantuan display of crystal chandeliers.

Plaza Athénée 

Sacrébleu! As such, a romantic story in the movies must always come to an end, as with our Parisian trip.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

#JuanderWithUs to the equally alluring Milan on our next feature!

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