Thursday, July 15, 2010

Paris- The Eiffel Tower!

Had ice-cream in the shape of flower petals and visited the Eiffel Tower, which took us so long that we had to walk back to the hotel because we missed the last train. And photos of most of the accessories I've bought so far. Picture-heavy post!

Day 4

I can't really remember what we did in between Disneyland and going to the Eiffel Tower. Think it involved mostly shopping, like how we woke up at 6.30am to go for the sale at Galeries Lafayette o.O
Doors opened at 8.30am, and it was hilarious because we reached just before and there was already a crowd of women gathered excitedly.

As soon as the doors opened people began pushing and running in! I remember one woman shouting: "For the first person who pushes me; I will not hesitate to slap her" but obviously no one cared and was pushing anyway.

Carmen and I ran up the stairs to Balenciaga haha although we weren't intending to buy any sale items. We just wanted to have the first pick of colours available. I ended up getting the Giant City in Canard (navyish greyish blueish) with Silver Hardware. Carmen went off to buy Prada heels but eventually bought the same bag in Tempete I think. It was light blue anyway.

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Speculoos, Yoghurt and Mango!

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Amorino is a pretty famous ice-cream shop known for its "flower petal" cones.

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Escargots for dinner! It's honestly just rubbery, the sauce is the one that's nice.

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These are the accessories I've BOUGHT so far (+ a few not in the photo). The amount that I BROUGHT is slightly more than this.

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Dragonflies that perch on the tip of your finger! I've no idea how they stay there but I thought it was pretty. Plus Hello Kitty body lotion + lip balms from H&M, and 2 coil silver & gold necklaces.

Day 5
Carmen and Eunice wanted to go to Laduree, which is this pretty store along Champs Elysees that specialises in macaroons. They're nice and the boxes are pretty, but seriously quite pricey.
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Had lunch further down Champs Elysees at a restaurant called Chez Clement! Again quite pricey, but the decor was nice, the food was good and they had wi-fi!
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Carmen and I ordered oysters!

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Dessert on the left is called Profiteroles. It's sorta of like a puff with ice-cream inside, coated with hot chocolate syrup!

Dessert on the right is called Ile Flottante (Floating Island). It's a weird light and fluffy thing made from egg white I think, that floats on some kind of cream liquid custard, and at the very bottom is caramel.
Both of these are two of my favourite desserts!

Chinese Tourists & Quotas:
Now remember I mentioned how Louis Vuitton was full of excited Chinese tourists? Anyway, the thing is that they face a quota. A.k.a, they can only buy maybe one bag and one small item or something like that.
This means that often, they ASK PEOPLE TO BUY IT FOR THEM. Eunice was approached once previously, and we were approached again before lunch (I realise they only approach Asians).
Both times she/we turned them down.

So 2 or 3 hours later as we walk out of Chez Clement, I had a Genius Moment.
Sophie: "OMG I just realised that if we help them buy the bags, WE are the ones that get the tax refund!"
Carmen: "Huh how? Sure not."
Sophie: "Yah, because they pay us cash and we buy it using our passports. So the tax refund is in our name."
Carmen: "Omg!"

To understand our excitement, you must note that the tax refund is about 13%. Depending on the price of the bag, we would easily get back at least 100 Euros in taxes per bag. GOOD OR NOT?!

([edit] P.S. Carmen said that at the airport they sometimes check for the goods you're claiming taxes for. They checked Eunice but not her. So I guess it depends. [/edit])

So after lunch we walked back towards Louis Vuitton and loitered around for a few minutes (okay 45 minutes). I even took out my delightfully flamboyant red Singaporean passport and pretended to be looking at a map.

I figured a Singaporean tourist is quite a good person to help you buy stuff.
1) Credible passport. 2) Speaks Chinese. 3) Singaporeans too spineless to rip you off.

Carmen kept trying to make eye contact with potential Chinese tourists to let them know we had a "mutual understanding". But no-go sob )': not lucky enough.

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Waiting.

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Scouting for potentials.

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Looking delightfully approachable and I-can-help-you-buy-LV-able.

Carmen and Eunice were leaving to go back to Singapore the next day, so we went to my sister's place that night for an "aperitif". An "aperitif" is a very common social gathering in France. It basically consists of small alcoholic drinks (champagne or mixes) with little tid-bits (peanuts, crackers etc). Some families have it before every meal, others at special occasions.
Either way, it's always been a common method for networking. So for example if you move into a house, you invite your new neighbours over for an "aperitif".

After visiting my sister and her family, they drove us over (they stay nearby) to the EIFFEL TOWER:
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A lot of Blacks selling souvenirs.

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Super crowded! This was already at almost 9pm (sun sets very late in the summer).

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Random slightly weird guard or usher that asked us if we wanted to take a photo with him.

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Sun's setting.

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Anyway the Eiffel Tower consists of 3 storeys:
The 1st storey is an insanely expensive restaurant that most of us do not need to bother contemplating. (But our parents could).
The 2nd storey is the first viewing deck.
The 3rd storey is the peak, and is the second (and last) viewing deck.

Firstly you have to queue to buy tickets.
Next you queue to enter the lift.

The lift goes to the 2nd storey. At the 2nd storey there are two decks from which you can look out from. You queue to buy tickets to the 3rd storey.
You queue to enter the lift.

The lift goes to the 3rd storey. There are two decks at the 3rd storey too, but only the top one is open-air (and it's tiny). You queue to enter the lift to go down.

The lift goes back down to the 2nd storey. You get out and queue to enter the lift to go down.
The lift goes back down to ground floor and you go FML finally done with queueing.

All in all, we were there for almost 3 hours? The visit is definitely worth it, although most of our time was spent queueing. However we did have some rather distractingly cute boys to look at so it was not too bad.

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Bored waiting for the lift.

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Going up!

At the 2nd storey:
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There was some fashion show.

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Bottom deck of the 2nd storey. As you can see it is virtually impossible to try and commit suicide from the Eiffel Tower, if you're into that kinda thing.

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Eiffel Tower lit up with blinking lights!

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There's some renovations going on and tons of people keep signing off on the boards haha. This was while queuing for tickets to the 3rd storey.

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Going up again!

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Distances of the capitals of countries worldwide from the Eiffel Tower. Singapore in French is Singapour, and Malaysia is Malaysie.
So Singaporean is Singapourien (male) and Singapourienne (female).

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The same scene as above but with shaking of my camera! Pretty lights!

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Arc du Triomphe from far.

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Haha the top of the Eiffel Tower keeps shining these weird Batman-like lights.

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Made friends with this teen. His name is Dylan and he's from Texas. Got a shock when he told us he's only 18 haha. I mean to me he looks older. Anyway, he was in Paris on tour with his graduating class of 40 students.
Why do schools overseas get such interesting school trips?! The most I ever visited was Bangkok in Pri6 with CHIJ Kellock, and Brunei in Sec1 with the dance groups of St Margs.

Oh anyway speaking of making friends, we also made friends with the salesman at Fendi haha. If I remember correctly his name was Damien. Anyway he saw that we were from Singapore, and told us he's being sent there by Fendi for work! He was asking us about how much rental would cost and etc. He'll be in Singapore August onwards so I guess we can show him around!

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The Eiffel Tower closes at midnight. When we finally came down it was almost 12am. Metro ends at 1am and we hadn't eaten dinner :/

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More pretty blinking lights!

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Look at the bottom right! So cute right? Kissing couple and pretty blinking Eiffel Tower in the background.

So by the time we had finished dinner it was past 1am. IMPOSSIBLE TO GET CABS. Figured we might as well start walking in the direction of the hotel while trying to hail a cab. (Anyway I realise you can only hail a cab from a cab stand.)
In the end I navigated us all the way back home through Paris! Took us an hour and we saw quite a few interesting sights. Like super posh parties:
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...and we also saw lots of homeless men sleeping outside a primary school. Surprisingly there are still tons of people up and about doing random things on the streets of Paris at 2am. And I don't mean like clubbing/drinking/havoc kind of things, but just ordinary day to day business haha.
We did see a lone policeman patrolling his section. We also saw what looked like a school trip troupe left stranded by their bus driver hahaha (at 2am lol).

The most interesting thing that happened to us was that we were going down this fairly quiet road and 3 men were on the same pavement as us, coming in the opposite direction. So we crossed the road to the other pavement and they started shouting "so girls you changed pavement huh?". I guess they were mildly insulted haha.
Ah yes we also came across another 3 men just standing by the roadside singing. They had very good voices though. And they weren't like delinquents or homeless types. Just 3 very ordinary looking men, that walked to a corner of the road and decided to start singing. Told you paris was random at night.

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Look! It's our favourite friendly American conglomerate!

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This is the route that we walked. Really pretty long! I navigated us all by myself teehee and when we finally reached the hotel both Eunice and Carmen said I'm damn good at directions!
Yes I do pride myself with a map. Except that time I was supposed to direct Alaric to East Coast Park and we ended up at Changi Airport, but whatever.

And by the way since reaching Paris, this is what I've been living with on my Mac:
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Fml my screen cracked. I changed my desktop just so you can see how half the screen is totally obscured. All my icons used to be at the bottom, but obviously I had to shift them to the left to see them. I can actually still continue doing whatever I was before, but it is a rather annoying problem. I mean sometimes (like now), I have to type without seeing what comes out. I think repairs are gonna be expensive :( but Darrell said his sister repaired hers for S$170 at Sim Lim so I'm keeping my fingers crossed! If anyone had a similar problem, please let me know how you fixed it!

13 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:51 AM

    Hi Sophie, I recently fell asleep on e bus while using my laptop and it smashed on the ground while e bus turned.

    I made a trip to Apple shop and was told it cost me $1500 for my macbook pro (fml fml).

    could you please be so sweet to ask where did your friend sister did her laptop at Sim Lim?

    ReplyDelete
  2. How much did you pay for those dragonflies? You can get them at Chinatown in Singapore. For like......$2 for 3?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hannah8:52 AM

    Hi Sophie,

    This happened to mine too! I think someone must've stepped on it while I was (conveniently/stupidly) charging it on the floor.

    It started out as a small patch and eventually 'ate' up most of my screen. Heart very pain!

    BUT, went down to Sim Lim and got it fixed for a fraction of Apple's price. Honestly can't rmb the price, but it was somewhere like $150.

    It's on the 3rd or 4th floor, at the lefthand corner of the lift if you were to come from Little India/Tekka Market.

    Ahh, forget that.

    Call Mahad at 81067180 (I lost his namecard but saved his no.) He was the one who attended to me both times I went there. Could ask him for the exact add!

    Hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete
  4. how much did you get the giant city for!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous4:40 PM

    hello,could you please tell me how much you paid for the channel earrings? and how much tax refund you can get on it?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous8:47 PM

    You've got your map reading and navigation skills from your mum ok?! Starting from P4, you were constantly being trained while I drove. Give credit where it's due hor.!

    Mum
    See u Mon nite.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hannah: Omg thanks so much you're a lifesaver!!! I figured Apple repairs would be like at least half the cost of a new laptop! Yeah the crack on my screen "grew" too sob. I dropped my laptop while it was in its cover/casing though (which is pretty darn thick), so unlucky!!

    Scooterlove: Haha 1245 Euros. In HK it's about S$2.4k. Europe is way more worth it!

    Anonymous: I bought them in London for 110 Pounds I think, which was rather stupid because in Brussels it was 110 Euros and the Euro rate is way lower than Pounds now. For Chanel you need a minimum purchase of 170 Euros I think, to qualify for the tax refund. I had to combine purchases with Eunice, tax refund is about 13%

    Mommy: Haha yah lah yah lah. Only now then you know I'm coming back Monday. See you soon!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous11:35 PM

    hey dear how much u spent for your entire euro trip?

    accommodation + airfare + shopping?

    need a rough gauge. planning a euro trip w my girls but don't know how much is good. thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous: Airfare to Paris cost 2.1k because we booked late, my friend Shaun went in March and it only cost him 1.4k! Accommodation... we stayed with a friend's relative in London, for Paris it was about S$500 EACH for 5 nights, and in Brussels there was a special deal, S$56 EACH for 2 nights.

    For transport... Train from Paris to London was booked late, 102 Euros each fml. London to Brussels was 79 Euros, and Brussels to Paris 44 Euros.

    For shopping I don't know yet but in total I had S$1k cash I think, all spent and there's still charges to my card. Stuff in Europe is expensive, one meal will easily be an average of 15 Euros. A drink at a cafe alone is 4.50 Euros? Like just for Coke? Madness.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous2:10 AM

    <3<3<3 hello sophie could u get me a key chain? hahaha..

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous8:57 PM

    What did you wear underneath Soapie?
    Isn't it dangerous in Paris past midnight? And to be walking like that!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous9:41 PM

    Hi just curious..how come the chinese tourists have a quota to buy LV bags? Isnt it good for LV if they buy more??? So singaporeans have a quota too? :/

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous: Underneath my dress? Er underwear haha. Nah it was really okay. Why do Singaporeans keep thinking anywhere out of Singapore is gonna be fraught with danger!

    Anonymous: I don't know, I think they're afraid it's brought back to China to make replicas... Luxury brands also like to maintain that whole exclusivity thingy haha. Nope quotas only for Chinese tourists. You have to show your passport when you buy stuff to get tax refund.

    ReplyDelete