Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring in Paris~Montmartre: Basilica Sacré Cœur, Artists' heaven, Red Light District and Macarons

Here's the second part of my adventure in Paris! This one has a bit more action in here I find.
We went to Montmartre, the heaven for artists. It was a solid 40 minutes walk from our hotel, mainly up heel on our way there, but it was totally worth it! The place is famous from all the gathering artists and many famous artists having lived and worked here. For example, Picasso and Modigliani were living in one of the ordinary looking houses in one of those narrow streets. Even now, it is still the forum for painters, musicians and, part of the modern culture, thrift shops. Most shops we came across on our way were thrift shops, selling second hand clothing.
I have read on several travel forums that this neighbourhood in particular gets very sketchy, especially during night time. There are also black men who will "tie strings around your finger then ask for tips" or the old Gypsy pickpockets. While we were there, it was very peaceful. Perhaps due to the three police officers who were standing in the middle of the road, but it was quite calm. Even though there were still a lot of people, I'm sure it was toned down a lot since it's off season and a bit late.

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The view from the top of the hill was beautiful but because the weather that day was somewhat hazy, it could have been better. Yet, it's still one of photographer's best spot to take a picture of this beautiful city.
Of course, the star of all this stair climbing is the Basilica Sacré Cœur standing on the edge of the hill. It is so majestic at first glance, it left me speechless. The aura that the basilica had was sacred and flawless. The artwork inside was from another world too. It is worth it, in my opinion, to at least climb to the top, enjoy the the view of the city then go around the basilica. They had a worship where all the nuns were singing in a choir and it was amazing! I'm a Catholic myself so it was so exciting to listen to them in that atmosphere.

While going down hill, we came across a sweets store selling cookies and macarons. I bought my first box of macaron there. They were gorgeous! The box was adorable too. Very cute and artistic with the colours.

The famous Moulin Rouge, where the amazing movie was based on, is also in that area. It is, as some expected, in the red light district of the city. It's an entire street full of neon signs saying "sexy ladies", "stripping", "bar", etc. It was kind of shocking because we just came down from the Basilica. It was getting dark too so you could see why some people didn't feel comfortable around. Some people from bars where dragging people into their place a little y force, telling them that they have cheap beer and show. It sounds like a scam to me... That doesn't hinder with the fact that it is still very pretty.

Back to Avenue Opera

Paris Opera at night

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring in Paris-Jardins des Tuileries, Paris Opera and Lafayette

Hey guys!
I know I haven't been writing a lot recently since I got really busy with school *sigh*
Some people contacted me to talk more about my exchange trip in Japan in videos so I will be working on that as soon as I get free time. Pinky promise!

In Canada we have a break in March so that people can recover from the cold, harsh Canadian weather by going off to somewhere warm. So I decided to go to Paris! I have always wanted to go to Paris since some of you might know, Canada's official language is English and French. I myself learned French since kindergarten in Quebec. And as many of you might know, Canadian French and French from France are kind of different (pronunciation, vocabulary, tone, etc..). But I admit, it is way easier for me to go around since I knew the language and it just made my life much less stressful. It was a warm weak of early spring in Paris, with a lot of sunshine and warm temperatures. The amount of attractions in the city is enormous and one week wasn't even enough to visit all the places we desired to.

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Our first day in Paris started up very early since there is several hours of jet-lag, I woke up at 3am that morning. After rolling around in bed, I went to Jardin des Tuileries, the park right in front of The Louvre, which is literally not even 5 minutes walk from the hotel we were staying at. Usually, it's packed with tourists and children since it is a metal fence away from the Louvre and a few steps away from Place de la Concorde. However, since we were up since 3am, we went to the garden at around 8am so there wasn't even ten people in there. It was very relaxing with a lot of grass and statues.
From what my research told me, there used to be a Tuileries Palace but it was destroyed, leaving only the garden behind.

Then we decided to go to the infamous Lafayette shopping centre. To be honest, I was looking forward into this because it's called the world's first big shopping mall! When we went in, I was a bit shocked by the amount of tourists in there (mainly Asian and Russian) and in order to allow better communication with the customers, the store clerks are also mostly foreigners. I was in there for about an hour and I didn't hear anybody speak in French. It left me feeling peculiar... Not in a bad way but just peculiar. 
On our way to the mall, we passed by the Paris Opera. It was absolutely astonishing! The Phantom of Opera was based on this building and it has a subterranean lake. Just these two facts are enough to impress me!

If you want to contact me for anything please comment here or
Youtube: Manou Liu
I also got instagram! follow me at migoko2