France, Day 7: Mont Saint-Michel

Second to the last day in Europe… and our mission for this day was to visit Mont Saint-Michel. This is located in Normandy, France. We heard from a tour guide that the place was built because of a dream, and it was dedicated to the archangel, Michael. It was also considered as one of the important pilgrimage site back in the Middle Ages.

MAY 4, 2019

Second to the last day in Europe… and our mission for this day was to visit MONT SAINT-MICHEL. This is located in Normandy, France. We heard from a tour guide that the place was built because of a dream, and it was dedicated to the archangel, Michael. It was also considered as one of the important pilgrimage site back in the Middle Ages. Another interesting point was that England was unable to seize this because of its location and fortification.

We took a train going to Villedieu-les-Poêles then from there, we rode a bus to Mont Saint-Michel. There was a free tour guide in the bus but all the facts she shared were in French so M was translating for us.

We reached the bus stop around lunch time so we dined in LA FERME SAINT MICHEL, which was just a few minutes away on foot.

Big, fresh oysters

After lunch, we went to a nearby bus stop which offers free ride going to the medieval-looking town of Mont Saint-Michel.

The wind in the area was very strong so we had to go inside as soon as we can where it was much calmer.

We did not have a tour guide but it was easy to follow the directions how to explore the key points in the area, including the abbey.

Before leaving, M told us that we should buy the famous biscuits from LA MÈRE POULARD. We also took a break at BRIOCHE DORÉE before heading back to the bus stop then train going back to Paris.

We were back in Paris at past 9PM and most of the restaurants were already closed. Thanks to M’s app, we were able find a dining place still open plus it was near Eiffel Tower.

We were supposed to wait for the lights show of the Eiffel Tower but it was freezing cold so we took a few pictures then headed back to M’s place.

France, Day 6: Jardins du Château de Versailles

Next stop in Jardins dus Château de Versailles – which is the immensely wide gardens in Versailles. Honestly, we wanted to rent a golf cart but no one had (international) driver’s license so this was impossible. We had to go around on foot and that took us around 2 hours!

MAY 3, 2019

Next stop in JARDINS DU CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES – which is the immensely wide gardens in Versailles. Honestly, we wanted to rent a golf cart but no one had (international) driver’s license so this was impossible. We had to go around on foot and that took us around 2 hours! There were a lot of Greek references especially with the sculptures. We also visited on a good day which included fountain shows.

For lunch, we decided to eat near the train station and found CUTIE’S CRÊPE. I ordered galette which had beef bacon and cheese then we shared an order of dessert crêpe.

We went back to M’s place and took a long nap in the afternoon. Château de Versailles drained our energy… well, more like the gardens. For dinner, we went to BOUILLON PIGALLE and I was surprised to see that they had cheaper prices than the average restaurant in Paris. We ordered deviled eggs, French onion soup, escargot with pesto sauce, and bœuf bourguignon. Everything was good so super sulit!

France, Day 6: Château de Versailles

Another exciting day because it was the day of our visit to Château de Versailles. The sheer opulence of this place was enough to make our jaws drop… especially with all the gold, gems, and chandeliers. No wonder there though because this place was the former palace of French kings and it was commissioned by King Louis XIV.

MAY 3, 2019

Another exciting day because it was the day of our visit to CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES. The sheer opulence of this place was enough to make our jaws drop… especially with all the gold, gems, and chandeliers. No wonder there though because this place was the former palace of French kings and it was commissioned by King Louis XIV.

We bought our tickets online with a timed entry so we were able to skip the very long line. It was very crowded even if we were there at past 9AM.

Time for Hall of Mirrors!!!!! This was absolutely beautiful. We did our best to get nice pictures here…

Explored the palace further…

…and eventually found this section where we could see familiar names and events because of the references from Hamilton, the musical.

France, Day 5: Musée Du Louvre

We spent most of the afternoon during this day in Musée du Louvre. No need for introduction or further description on the Louvre because this is one of the very famous spots in Paris. I highly recommend that you buy tickets online (skip-the-line, if possible) as the lines can be really long.

MAY 2, 2019

We spent most of the afternoon during this day in MUSÉE DU LOUVRE. No need for introduction or further description on the Louvre because this is one of the very famous spots in Paris. I highly recommend that you buy tickets online (skip-the-line, if possible) as the lines can be really long.

It was very crowded when we visited that we had to strategically choose the sections we wanted to visit. Of course, Mona Lisa was part of our mission. Here are the highlights from our visit:

We also went to the exhibit showing off sculptures of Greek icons:

M also led us to see the Code of Hammurabi…

…an actual base of a fortress…

…and a sphinx!

I wanted to try the famous hot chocolate from ANGELINA but instead of getting this from the branch near the Louvre (where it was so crowded!!!), we went to a different branch. I loved how the chocolate was not sweet – leaning more towards dark chocolate.

For dinner, we met M’s friend and he served us really delicious homemade pasta.

France, Day 5: Musée d’Orsay

Hands down! Musée D’Orsay was the best museum we visited especially with their collection of Monet and Renoir paintings. But first, we started off our trip with sculptures and paintings in the second floor – some were by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

MAY 2, 2019

Hands down! MUSÉE D’ORSAY was the best museum we visited especially with their collection of Monet and Renoir paintings. But first, we started off our trip with sculptures and paintings in the second floor – some were by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

The museum is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay…

Some more art we passed by before we reached the topmost floor with most works from Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet. Below were my favorites… I even bought a postcard with Monet’s “Essai De Figure En Plein Air Vers La Gauche” (Woman With A Parasol, Facing Left).

We had lunch afterwards at LE PROCOPE, which is the oldest café in Paris (1686). Famous icons visited this café during their lifetime such as Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. All of us ordered the Procope Menu for lunch which was a 3-course meal (starter, main course, dessert).

France, Day 4: More Paris Sights

Just like in PH, France celebrates its Labor Day on May 1. We took a chance to see if we can visit Palais Garnier but it was closed on that day. Some train stations were also closed because of areas where the rallies were concentrated.

MAY 1, 2019

Just like in PH, France celebrates its Labor Day on May 1. We took a chance to see if we can visit Palais Garnier but it was closed on that day. Some train stations were also closed because of areas where the rallies were concentrated.

We ate lunch at M’s favorite Thai restaurant while I also bought a pack of fresh strawberries as baon.

M suggested we go to Montmartre instead and visit Sacré-Cœur, which he was sure was open despite the holiday. No surprise though that there were a lot of locals and tourists when we got there.

SACRÉ-CŒUR (Sacred Heart) is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is currently the 2nd highest point in Paris so you can be sure that it offers a good view of the city. Photography is not allowed inside so I have no picture of the interior.

We took the funicular going down and in spite of the long line, the waiting time was short because it could accommodate a lot of people.

We dropped by outside MOULIN ROUGE

…then went to PIERRE HERMÉ for macarons. M recommended this place because he prefers it over Laduree. Not that I know their difference but Pierre Hermé’s macarons tasted good.

Our last stop was CATHÉDRALE NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS. It was so devastating to hear the news of the big fire while we were in Rome. A part of me wished that we had Paris first in our itinerary but that would not work out for our plans. The place was off limits and guarded by the police to make sure no one would attempt to enter.

To cap off our day, we had dinner at CHEZ GLADINES. M and I ordered the same dish – duck confit – while my sister got the chicken simmered in red sauce.

France, Day 3: Disneyland Paris

The day when we were back to being kids because of all the nostalgia brought by seeing Disney-related characters and merch! It was my sister’s first time in a Disneyland so this visit was even more memorable.

APRIL 30, 2019

The day when we were back to being kids because of all the nostalgia brought by seeing Disney-related characters and merch! It was my sister’s first time in a Disneyland so this visit was even more memorable.

Our first ride was Hyperspace Mountain, an indoor space-themed roller coaster. It was also my sister’s first time to ride a roller coaster and I think she regret riding it but she had a bit of fun, admittedly.

We took a timed ticket for Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast before going to Hyperspace Mountain and we were able to make it so we skipped the long regular line.

Next stop was Mickey’s PhilharMagic, where we were the first in line. Sorry kids… these adults would never give up their spot for you. Haha!

Before we went to Walt Disney Studios Park, we decided to grab lunch in the Lion King-themed restaurant.

First stop in WDSP was Ratatouille: The Adventure. The regular line was too long though so we opted for the single rider lane, which was way faster.

M asked us to ride Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror next and I did not know what kind of terror was in store for us. I thought it was just a suspense scare kind of ride but ugh I never thought it would be somewhat like a free fall ride.

Our last ride before going back to Disneyland Park for the parade was Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster where they blasted Aerosmith music while riding an indoor roller coaster at faster speed than Hyperspace Mountain. I read recently that this was closed down last September 2 to give way to an Iron Man attraction, as part of redeveloping a section of the park to Marvel-themed area.

We looked for a good spot for the parade an hour before its starting time so we had a nice view of all the characters. The highlight for me was the Sleeping Beauty part, where they had this metal dragon spewing fire. Whew.

We went around the park and visited non-ride attractions…

M wanted to ride a particular attraction in Toy Story land but we did not want to join him so we opted for the STUDIO TRAM TOUR. The video shown was so outdate based on the guides’ hairstyle and clothing – probably shot back in the 90s or early 2000s. Nevertheless, it was fun to see some of the sets from popular films and we also got to experience how an explosion in a set works.

We went outside the park to eat dinner at VAPIANO, which prides itself in serving Italian dishes. They made our orders right on the spot so we were assured that each pasta dish was freshly made.

There was still some time before the Disney Illuminations (fireworks display) starts so we bought cookies for dessert. The videos I took from the illuminations are too big to upload but all I can say is that it was beautiful! I stopped taking videos in the middle of the spectacle because I wanted to appreciate what was happening with all my focus there. Never mind the fact that we spent 12 hours in Disneyland… that show was enough to wipe away our cold and fatigue.

France, Day 2: Panthéon

Last stop for this day was Panthéon, where prominent French figures were buried such as Marie & Pierre Curie, Louis Braille, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Voltaire. It was previously a church designed to honor St. Genevieve.

APRIL 29, 2019

Last stop for this day was PANTHÉON, where prominent French figures were buried such as Marie & Pierre Curie, Louis Braille, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Voltaire. It was previously a church designed to honor St. Genevieve.

After going around the crypt floor, we went upstairs where they had massive wall paintings and sculptures.

We had our dinner in IPPUDO afterwards and the taste was different than PH/Japan.

France, Day 2: Paris Sights

M had to drop by his workplace so my sister and I explored a bit of Paris on our own. We first went to Arc de Triomphe, one of the famous landmarks in Paris. This monument honors the people who fought and died during the French Revolution and Napoleon Wars, with names of all the generals inscribed on the walls / pillars.

APRIL 29, 2019

M had to drop by his workplace so my sister and I explored a bit of Paris on our own. We first went to ARC DE TRIOMPHE, one of the famous landmarks in Paris. This monument honors the people who fought and died during the French Revolution and Napoleon Wars, with names of all the generals inscribed on the walls / pillars.

There was an option for us to go up the arc to see a panoramic view of Paris but the line was long so we did not bother. We checked out AVENUE DES CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES, which was very near. The street was lined mostly with shops and a few restaurants. We did not stay here for long since it was about our meet-up time with M.

We had lunch at BAPTORI, a Korean restaurant with bibimbap as its specialty. We went to a bakery afterwards to get a quick dessert.

M brought us to a park where we could get a good vantage point of the EIFFEL TOWER. He told us that we were lucky that the park was not jampacked during our visit.

After taking a rest in the park, our next stop was PLACE DE LA CONCORDE. It was previously known as the square for public beheadings by guillotine during the French Revolution. During the 18th century, the Egypt government gifted France with an obelisk and was placed in the middle of the square.

Nearby was JARDIN DES TUILERIES where we took a quick break after seeing other people just relaxing around the fountain.

Last stop was APÉGO where my sister and M grabbed some coffee before our last mission for the day.

France, Day 1: Avengers Assemble

Nothing much really on this day because half of it was spent for our train travel from Cologne to Paris. My friend, M, had a later time schedule so we waited for him at the station.

APRIL 28, 2019

Nothing much really on this day because half of it was spent for our train travel from Cologne to Paris. My friend, M, had a later time schedule so we waited for him at the station.

We took some rest in M’s place then decided to watch Avengers: Infinity War Part II. Thankfully, there were cinemas in Paris that showed non-dubbed version. We had crepe for dinner in one of M’s favorite creperies.