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Paris Day 1 - La Defense, La Grande Arche, Eiffel Tower

Picasso's Architectural Fans

sunny 4 °C

I must be not only a weary bone traveller, but a truly jaded one. Not only I didn't get excited when Etta said we're going to Paris, I'm actually feeling it's bit of a drag. "Not again!" was my immediate reaction (it was an inner voice to spare hurt feeling). I remember I was over the moon when I got to visit Paris the last time some 10 years ago. Today, I'm very much grounded about the prospect.

I couldn't believe I could get tire of Paris. I used to reread "The French Revolution" 3 times (yeah, it's revolting). My long time Francophilia isn't strong enough to rekindle my passion for this old flame. Maybe I'm just too promiscuous. Francophilia was my 1st love, and then I left her for Anglophilia and lately Sinophilia. All that passions have been spread so thin 3 ways. My love for France now turns to almost l'oeuf. As China is my latest infactuation, France has no chance really. I'm not only promiscuous, I'm also fickle (is there other kind of promiscuity?). There, I said it.

All is not lost, at least Etta seems to be thrilled. Ok, enough insider nonsense of my romantic liaison with my 3 cultures.

A driver from Fraser Suites drove us there. The driver remarked that the winter hasn't over. It should be well over 10 °C while it was only 4 °C. The cold spell swept much of Europe this year.

There're 2 Fraser Suites in Paris. FS La Claridge is more centrally located in Champs-Élysées. The one I stay for this trip, FS Harmonie, is located in Esplanade de la Défense, just outside the NW periphery of Paris. It's in fact the newest Parisian business district.

For people like me who's going to rely on metro - my fave form of public transport - the closest one to FS Harmonie is Esplanade de La Défense station (or just Esplanade) on Line 1, and is less than 150m away.

Line 1 (the number suggests its importance) runs alongside most of the central part of the Seine in Paris, and so I can get to most of the sites/sights I want to see by hoping on and hoping off Line 1. While Line 1 hugs the north bank of the Seine, many of of the sites/sights in the south bank could easily be reached by getting off metro stops on Line 1, and walk cross the river. There're so many bridges span across the Seine that getting from one side of the riverbank to another is a breeze. In fact, walking across these gorgeous bridges is an experience in itself.

Line 1 also stops at Gare de Lyon, which is an important train station hub.

90_La-Defense-Paris-DSC00254.jpg
The Grand Arch
We had breakfast in the plane at 7am. By noon, we were famish, and didn't want to take our time to look around for suitable grubs. Also we were newbie to the Grand(e) Arch(e) area. When we emerged out of the La Defense metro and into the CNIT (Centre of New Industries and Technologies), we spotted Macky and then the Newyorker, we decided to walk into the latter.

The lunch time crowd swamped the Newyorker. We were lucky to get a seat with little waiting. We ordered the burger, and cappuccino. The burger tasted ok, not as juicy as we like. I don't usually like coleslaw, but I dug this in double time. I couldn't believe this was French coffee, but then it may simply is required to follow the American coffee standard in their franchises - weak. Perhaps, this is their reasoning: if they make it weak, those who want strong could order extra shot (you can't really charge for extra hot water to weaken it).

Several buildings in La Défense looked as if was fans of Picasso's Cubism Period. One such building is CNIT, and it's only a stone throw away from the Grand Arch.

La-Defense-Paris-DSC00258.jpg
Exterior of CNIT

La-Defense-Paris-DSC00251.jpg
Interior of CNIT
I planned to see the Axe Historique today, but end up spending time having lunch and grocery shopping in the malls around La Grande Arche. We had to do the Axis another time.

Read the rest of the article here...

Posted by FrancisQ 13:30 Archived in France Tagged paris france europe eiffel_tower la_defense

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