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Paris Day 5 - The hidden gems

The trip was getting close to an end, and I still have a lot to check off on my list! These might not be the most common attractions, but they are definitely worth the visit.

Père Lachaise Cemetery

I got up early to go to this famous cemetery. The cemetery was very quiet and beautiful, but slightly creepy if you were there by yourself. The cemetery is really big and I was trying to find tombs of some famous people, but I couldn't. This is definitely the most crowded cemetery I have seen in terms of the number of gravestones. I thought it doesn't accept any new burials because it looks so crowded, but then I saw online that it does. Anyways, definitely worth a visit. I still remember I missed the La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires by 10 mins, so I made sure I didn't miss it this time.

Musee d'Orsay

Besides Louvre, this is one other must-see museum! It contains the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings in the world, including Monet and Van Gogh.

Sainte-Chapelle

I couldn't believe I missed it the other day when I was in Notre Dame. This is also on the island, and this is the most impressive churches I have ever seen. It might be small in size, and might not look as impressive from the outside, but once you got in and see the stained glass.... Oh my.... I was in total awe. If I remembered it correctly, 70% of the stained glass in there was original, and it has one of the most extensive 13th-century stained glass collections in the world. I was lucky that the day I went, it was a sunny day, so the sun shined through the stained glass, and it was amazing. Absolutely must-see.

Musée Marmottan Monet

I made it there just right before it closed! Monet is one of my favorite painters, and I would not miss this for the world. It houses the largest collection of Claude Monet's works in the world, along with other impressionist and post-impressionist works. The museum does not allow photography, but I did take one (shame on me), and look at that! A whole floor of Monet's paintings of lilies. Stunning.

I only have one full day left in Paris, and I planned to make the most of it! I was determined to finish off my list tomorrow.

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Paris Day 4 - The Palace of Versailles

I went on a Sunday, because it's closed on Mondays. Château de Versailles or the palace of Versailles is a nice short day trip from Paris. It is the symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.
 

The most famous room of the palace is the hall of mirrors, and you definitely cannot miss that.

The most impressive thing of the palace is not the palace itself, but the huge garden next to it! It is really enormous. I walked down to the canal and decided to go to the Grand Trianon, where Louis XIV kept his mistress, Madame de Montespan. I wanted to take a different route back to the palace, and I got lost in this huge garden........ My plan was to go back to Paris and maybe visit another museum, but I couldn't quite make it because I was all the way on the other end of the garden and it took me a long time to figure out how to get back. I can't believe that I didn't get lost in Paris, but I got lost in the garden..... That proved how big it is!

It was already dark when I got back to Paris. After dinner, I decided to take a cruise tour on the Seine. It was freezing cold on the upper deck, but it was amazing to see the city. Below is a little video clip I took.

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Paris Day 3 - Wandering around

I have decided today will be a relaxing day to wander around the city. I did not plan much today because I am giving myself time to enjoy this beautiful city.

Basilique du sacré-cœur

I am starting my day with this beautiful Church on a little hill. Be prepared to walk up those stairs! But when you get there, you can enjoy a very nice view of the Paris city. You can even see the Eiffel Tower from there!

Getting distracted

Around sacré-cœur is a beautiful neighborhood, definitely take your time to walk around. I was taking my time to wander around, and I came across some small museums, Moulin Rouge, farmer's market, the covered passages, etc. I might not have done what I was planning to do, but I loved to be distracted constantly with different things I saw in the city.

Arc De Triomphe

Time passed by pretty quickly, but I managed to get up the Arc de Triomphe to see the beautiful sunset.

Avenue des Champs-Élysées

Right next to the Arc de Triomphe is the Champs-Élysées, where shopping happens! My budget did not allow me to shop much, so I was just going to window shop and walk along the street, but then it slowly turned into Christmas Street Market!!!! What a pleasant surprise! There are lots of booths for cheeses, foie gras, street food, leather gloves, etc. Perfect place for souvenirs!!!! And most importantly, there is Vin Chaud. Nothing is better than mulled wine in a cold winter day.

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Paris Day 2 - the must-see

Well, there are a few things everybody wants to see when they come to Paris. There are two ways things can go, you have high expectations and you get disappointed. Or, you lower your expectations, and you get wowed. But I am telling you (now that I have seen them), these attractions are not overrated, and absolutely worth going.

Le Musée du Louvre (The Louvre Museum)

Huge collections of amazing paintings and sculptures here in Louvre. You can definitely spend a whole day here and it won't even be enough. I limited myself to a half-day visit. Two things I wouldn't miss, the Nike of Samothrace, also called the winged victory of Samothrace, as well as the Monica Lisa. From the outside to the inside, the Louvre museum is definitely one of the most beautiful museums I have ever been to (it bumped the British Museum to the second on my list now).
* If you plan to go to a lot of museums, consider getting the museum pass. The museum pass also works for Notre Dame and some other tourist attractions. Once you get it, you can also skip the long lines!

Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden)

This is a nice garden right next to the Louvre along the Seine. After being in LA for so long, I really enjoyed strolling in the park with the crisp weather here in Paris. 

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral) 

This is a beautiful medieval catholic cathedral and it is often considered the finest example of the French Gothic architecture. You can also go up to the observatory deck to enjoy the view of Paris.

La tour Eiffel (The Eiffel Tower) 

  

This is definitely the icon of Paris. This is also the tallest structure in Paris, and you can definitely get a very nice city view up there. I chose to go at night because I prefer the night view of a city. You can clearly see the Notre Dame as well as the Arc de Triomphe. 

Every hour on the hour, the eiffel tower twinkles and sparkles for 5 mins!  

Before I headed back to the airbnb, I stopped by the Louvre to get some night pictures. Louvre at night is definitely my favorite place to be. You can also see a lot of people taking wedding pictures here as well! 

These were the attractions that I had to see first! I heard so much about it, and I can't believe I finally made it there! It was absolutely breathtaking. 

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My first night in Paris

My plane landed at around 4pm, and I headed straight to the airbnb to put down all my stuff. The subway system is so convenient, it only took me an hour from the airport to the airbnb next to the République metro station. The week-long pass for unlimited metro access is only 22.5, which is totally worth it for me because I made a million stops a day to go to different places. 

I found an amazing deal on airbnb, it only costs me USD 217 for 6 nights! You have your own private room with a shower in the corner, but the toilet is shared (I believe that's a French thing to separate shower and toilet). The only complaint is that you would have to walk up to the 6th floor every day to your room. It wasn't easy for me to walk up or down those stairs with my 20 kg luggage, definitely a work out. That being said, can't complain much because of this amazing price. 

After I dropped off my stuff (I did bring a lot of clothes because I was too excited to be able to utilize my winter closet finally after being in LA for so long), I walked around the neighborhood. I was trying to enjoy the chilly weather and of course the Parisian atmosphere. First thing I did was to find a bakery and get a croissant! And of course it was délicieux! I saw the US grocery store, which I don't understand why would you need it when you have French stuff. Anyways. 

While I was walking around the neighborhood, I was also searching for my first meal in Paris, and I found a cute little place with a decent number of people inside (it's always a good indication). So, I went in, and I did not understand the menu very well, but the waitress was very nice and explained the menu to me. There were only 3 main courses on the menu: salmon, chicken breast, and veal. I didn't feel like salmon and veal, so I went for the chicken breast. I never like chicken breast because it's often very dry. BUT, this dish was amazing! That got to be the best chicken breast I have ever had, juicy and tender. The fingerling potatoes were very tasty as well. The dish was pipping hot when it was brought to the table, and it was really good. Definitely can't find anything like this in America if I were to walk into a random restaurant I found on the street. 

I went back to the airbnb right after to get a good night sleep before my adventure the next day. I definitely had a good impression of Paris so far, and couldn't wait to explore more. 

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My thanksgiving trip - Paris

 Above is the Eiffel Tower or Tour Effiel in French. I saw it so many times when I was in Paris and could not get sick of it.

Above is the Eiffel Tower or Tour Effiel in French. I saw it so many times when I was in Paris and could not get sick of it.

I really can't believe I did this - another solo trip. I spontaneously bought a ticket to Paris for thanksgiving since I don't really have a "home" to go back to. People always say that Paris is the most romantic city and now I understand why. It was so beautiful. You can feel it in the architecture, the culture, the history, the arts..... even the air you breathe. It was another amazing trip. I spent almost 6 days in the city, and I thought it would be too long, but I think it was just about right. I walked a lot, ate a lot, shopped a bit, really couldn't ask for a better thanksgiving.

November is a great time to go to Paris, no tourist (means no line and nicer photos), weather is nice (might be a little chilly for some people, but I think the cold made it even more romantic), cheap tickets (because it's off season)! Guai lo always says that I would hate the amount of tourists in Paris, but guess what, they weren't there this time of the year! I have heard so much about Paris being dangerous, but I felt so safe when I was there. I am still in the process of organizing the photos, and I will be telling you everything about my amazing trip!

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The Big Sur Half Marathon

Yes. That was the medal for finishing the half marathon! Isn't it adorable!!! It was quite tough for me, since I didn't train for it plus I was sick, but I finished!!!! I was not happy with my time obviously, but I was proud that I didn't give up and finished the run! Running along the coast was absolutely amazing.

The run was on Sunday, so we walked around the area on Saturday. First thing we did is of course getting the bib for the half marathon! And then, coffee!!! We found a place called Lumiere, which is close by and had pretty good coffee!

Then, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was not my first time, but I never get bored with these amazing sea creatures. Also, you can never get disappointed with the jellyfish exhibition.

Some awesome jellyfish videos.

Next: The 17 Mile Drive. It was a drive along the coast, and the ocean was just so blue!!! It was way better than the Santa Monica beach. So much quieter and cleaner. After that, we walked around the town a little as well, I loved the chilly weather and string lights in the trees and on the stores! It was really festive!

 

Next day after the run, we went to Santa Cruz for lunch and met up with my dear friends, and then we went to the Natural Bridges State Park. I have been to Santa Cruz so many times, but never been here! The sand was so soft, and the sunset was beautiful.

We drove back to LA after that and on the way, we saw the super moon!!!! It was so big and round!!! Can't ask for a better way to end our weekend getaway/half marathon.

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