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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

BigFatBreak: Shopping in Paris - the Crown Jewels

I remember watching Chanel's Spring/Summer '09 show in my iPod, with the track by Ladyhawke 'Paris Is Burning' on the background. The images really lured me to come to Paris, especially when I saw the backdrop of the runway - the House of Chanel at 31, Rue Cambon - with Coco Rocha, Natasha Poly and Lily Donaldson strutting their stuff on the catwalk. I say 'Paris...here I come!!'.

Then, there I am last weekend at this fashion capital. It felt just surreal. Especially when I made my journey all the way at Rue Saint-Honore - the eqivalent of New Bond St in London - where the big names in fashion is located. From Valentino to YSL, Dolce & Gabbana to Prada. And of course, the much talkabout - Hermes store, just at the corner of Rue Boissy d'Anglas. 

And of course, one can never leave Paris if not for Chanel. As much as I'm infatuated with Rue Cambon backdrop of the catwalk show, I finally stepped my feet on the real one. The House of Chanel at 31, Rue Cambon, where Mademoiselle Coco Chanel herself lived. Very stylish, very chic, very black and white - very Chanel. I remember Karl Lagerfeld said - Paris is about black and white - and he is not wrong there. Well, to the one at Rue Cambon at least. 

At the cul-de-sac of Rue Saint-Honore, I made my beeline to Parc de Marche to find my favorite designer store - Marc Jacobs! Voila... this one is divided into two - pour femme and pour homme. Both are cool. And this time I even invade their fitting rooms, where I came across with bundles of Marc Jacobs's tees and polos. :)

And bla, bla, bla... there's another Chanel at Rue Royale, so as Dior and Gucci (drool...). And taking a metro back to the north, I went to the another overhyped store - Galeries Lafayette. Hmm.. do i like it? Not really. Apart that they sell Commes des Garcon in store and their superb glass ceiling, I think Selfridge's in London is million miles much better than this one. Sorry, Paris... I think London is just the one in my heart! :)


Chanel @ 31, Rue Cambon




Chanel @ Rue Royale



I love the cases outside Goyard


John Galliano @ Rue Saint-Honore




Gucci 'Galaxy' python bag



Miss Gianini, I want this one for my birthday, please...


Hermes...


I can 'feel' the buttery soft leather...even from the other side of the window :)


Ostrich Birkin, anyone?


Marc @ the Parc.
Marc by Marc Jacobs @ Parc du Marche St-Honore


Love the summery feel @ MJ store



Models strutting their stuff for CK Free outside Galeries Lafayette

BigFatBreak: Eiffel Tower and The Lourve

How can you claim you've been to Paris if you didn't visit their creme de la creme - the Eiffel Tower and the Lourve, right? So, there I am... finally making my journey to the west, down the River Seine taking the RER to Champs de Mars station to see the night view of Eiffel Tower. Oh, RER is pronounced as 'ehr-oh-ehr' - more like a uh-uh-uh to me, lol!

Btw, splendid backdrop, splendid view. The glittering light made it very magical! It look as if it is made of gold. There loads of people though it was almost late in the night.

The morning after, my real adventure begins. Took the journey up the tower to see the most splendid view of Paris in 360 degree. Unfortunately it can only took to the 2nd Level, coz the 3rd Level (that is the top most) is closed due to overcrowding. Hmm... but, 2nd Level is 2nd Level. It's good enough, coz I still view the whole Paris from south to north, east to west. The fare? 8 euro. Not too bad, but you can still pay another 5 Euro (I think) at 2nd Level to get to the top, provided if they open it.

Oh, my advice: if you wanna visit Eiffel Tower for great view, go at noon coz the sky is gonna be superb (if it's sunny, of course). In the morning it appears to be slightly foggy.


View from Pont du Alexander


Up close and personal with Tour de Eiffel


View from Pont Grenelle


You can even see Sacre Coure from the 2nd Level!






You can go down to 1st Level from here too


One of the gift shop.
Go this year to buy the Limited Edition 120th Anniversary of Eiffel Tower


View at dusk from Pont du Alexander

My next stop: the Lourve! I've been wanting to visit this museum since forever. Why, coz it's where you can find the portrait of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci being kept.

So, I made my way down from the pyramid to the underground level where the ticket hall is. Mind you, most museums in Paris you've gotta pay to get in. Isn't it silly, coz in London almost all are free! Btw, after paying 9 Euro, I made my ever winding journey to the 'maze' of Lourve finding the treasure being kept. From the headless winged statue on the splendid stairs, to the statue of Venus de Milo, to the golden crown worn by the French royalty of yesteryears.

And voila... there she is, hanging on the wall beneath the oversized glass enclosure... seing by hundreds of people - the Mona Lisa. I'm totally awed coz finally I can see the most overrated painting in the entire world. It's just magical. Though it is located quite far from me, I can see the intensity of the painting. The gaze of the eyes which is mesmerizing, the composure and the strokes of the brush is just fantastic (ahaks, am I a painting curator now?). It is utterly splendid. Does my 9 Euro entry ticket really worth it? Absolutely... (but hello, next time make it free okay!).

But one question remain - is it really the real one? Or this one is just a copy, and they kept the treasure somewhere in the vault? Well, that my friend... remains a mystery too. :) Whetever it is, my word - if you wanna visit the Louvre go early in the morning to avoid the long, long, long queue!




The inverted pyramid, leading to the mall Carousel de Lourve





Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci


Statue of Venus de Milo

BigFatBreak: Un Week-end à Paris...

Excuse my French, coz I don't speak any. Except a couple of basic phrases to survive like bonjour, bonsoir and of course.. parlez vous Anglais. Nggg...

I had a blast! My short break in Paris is nothing but magical. The weather is perfect. My travel is superb. I am so well versed with the city, coz it's not my first time anyway. So, what's hot? Apart from the weather which is truly 'hot' - very sunny - compared to gloomy London, Paris is changing a lot. The last time I stepped my feet onto this fashion capital is almost 6 years ago, during which most people there don't bother to speak English! But now, ooh la la.. everything is awesome. Well, not everything. Almost. The Metro system is now equipped with some English 'phrases', people at the counter seems to understand English - which is truly, truly helpful, and of course... the people are just gorgeous!! I can't help but fall in love with the Parisians, nggg... :D

But all good, nothing bad? Well, of course there is. I forgot that Europeans drive on the other side of the road. Since I'm only well versed with 'Look Right' while crossing the street, I'm almost being run down by a car coz I 'Look Right' instead of looking to the left. Well, they all started cursing, but thank God I don't understand any. lol. And oh, I still hate their old Metro carriages. Hello... do you just asked me to open the door by myself? Excuse moi... we Londoners are too posh to do the latch or press the button, okay. And the city...ehem... is way much dirtier than London (not to mention smell of pee all over, esp at Gare du Nord, yucks!). And the price of stuff...yikes! Just imagine the cost of 2L Evian is Euro 2.50 compared to London's £0.70! Whassup with that Paris?

Anyway. Going in and out of Paris is fun. The city, I mean. Not that Hilton (though that might be fun too, lol). Some of the pix I took. And more to come... enjoy.


Sacre Coure
[Metro: Anvers]


Notre Dame @ the Latin Quarter


Notre Dame
[Metro: Cite or St-Michel]


Le Defense
[Metro: Le Defence]


The Grande Arche of Le Defence is actually aligned with the Arc de Triomphe


Arc de Triomphe @ Champs Elysses
[Metro: Charles de Gaulle Etoile. George V, Franklin D. Roosevelt]


The obelisk at Place de la Concorde
[Metro: Concorde]


A statue at the Jardin des Tuileries
[Metro: Tuileries, Concorde]


The gate at the Jardin de Tuileries


Trocadero, viewed from Eiffel Tower
[Metro: Trocadero]


Grand Palais, where Chanel's show will be held
[Metro: Champs Elysses Clemenceau]


Petit Palais, in front of the Grand Palais


Moulin Rouge - you've gotta have this in your must-visit list! No, you won't meet Lady Marmalade there... ;)
[Metro: Blanche]


Centre Pampidou - a very modern-artsy building.
[Metro: Rambuteau]


The unique stairs at Centre Pampidou


The 'unofficial' memorial for the late Princess Diana @ Pont de l'Alma


Flame of Liberty @ Pont de l'Alma - unofficial memorial for Princess Di.
Underneath it is the underpass where the accident happen
[Metro: Alma Marceau]


Statue of Liberty at Pont Grenelle
[RER: Javel or Avenue du Pdt Kennedy]