I woke up upon hearing the announcement of the pilot, “Welcome to Charles de Gaulle Airport.” Wow! I couldn’t believe that I was really there. I quickly walked towards the exit to meet the person that would take me to my hotel. He was a bit late, so I went outside to smoke. It was freezing cold (at least for me). Our French counterparts told me that it was summer, but it sure didn’t feel like summer. I hurriedly took out my jacket and wore it to shield my body against the chilly wind.
After almost an hour of waiting, the cab driver finally arrived. He took me to my hotel which is a couple of hours away from the airport. Our office is in the center of another town, just an hour train ride away from Paris.
I immediately checked in, showered and ran to the train station to buy my ticket to Paris. This was my only free day during this trip. The rest of the week, I was stuck in my office working my a$$ off.
G met me in the train station.
I met G a couple of years ago in Sukothai. She was traveling with her friends in Thailand but she was the only one who got interested to visit Sukothai. She was also staying in the same hostel. Every dinner, most travelers get together to share some stories and to chat. G and I stayed up really late that night sharing some thoughts and stories about almost anything under the sun.
It was very surreal that after more than two years, I would meet her again in her hometown.
We decided to just walk from the train station to different city sights. She said that most Parisians just walk or bike wherever they go because the cost of petrol is really high. So walk we did.
(bird feeding in Notre Dame)
Paris is a beautiful city. Their architecture is way different from what we have in Manila. I was really amazed and I kept on taking pictures and asking her what that building is. She was laughing at me because I was taking pictures of almost everything, including the police station and city hall. Hahaha. I couldn’t blame myself because I was really mesmerized by the grandeur of French architecture.
We passed by the usual sights like Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, La Louvre and some other city landmarks. No wonder Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world.
And then she mentioned that she’s going to show me Champs Elysses.
And I said, “What’s that?”
She looked shocked when she said, “You don’t know? That’s the most famous street in Paris. It’s full of shops and street side cafes.”
“Oh’ I’m sorry but I didn’t know that”, was my reply while chuckling.
(Arc de Triomphe)
So we walked towards Champs Elysees ‘til we reached Arc de Triomphe. We kept on walking while sharing some ideas about (again) anything under the sun. And then I saw a bit of the Eiffel Tower, which is probably the most famous landmark in France.
“That’s it? That’s Eiffel Tower?” I said.
“What do you mean, that’s it?” she sounded surprised. “Most people fly to Paris just to see that and you will say that’s it” in her confused tone.
“Well, actually, we’re still pretty far, I know a nice place where we can see it well” she said.
And we continued on.
“Wow! It’s really beautiful” I said in my childlike tone.
We went to a grassy area fronting the tower and stayed there for hours while chatting and drinking our beers. By the way, she said that drinking beer is not allowed in public places. So we were covering it with some paper thingy.
After a few hours of strolling in Paris I went back to my hotel to prepare for the following day’s meeting. It really sucks to travel with such limited time. I’m sure there are a lot more interesting to see in Paris like novelty shops, century old structures and other stuff.
I didn’t even see the city at night. It was such a pity because Paris is knows as the City of Lights. It is also said to be prettier at night. Well, maybe next time. I’ll stay longer and will explore the different streets of this fascinating city called Paris.