I guess I should’ve mentioned this earlier, but throughout our first week, we spent almost all the “downtime” we had going shopping in search of a certain that my sister’s mother-in-law had asked us for her. So on days when we weren’t sightseeing or visiting people, we hit every Printemps, Galleries Lafayette, Le Bon Marché, and other shopping areas in the city.
Like this one:
Most of you probably know that unlike the U.S., every other country includes sales tax in the marked price. And for those of us who are not European citizens, you get refunded the tax if you make a purchase of more than 170 Euros at the same store on the same day. The only time we ever hit that amount was when we bought the scarf at Galleries Lafayette, and from there we had to walk through a labyrinth of departments to get our purchase verified, then all the way to the basement to get our tax money back, which turned out to be 20 Euros. There was a Vietnamese woman standing near us in the other line and she got more than 300 Euros back. I may be terrible at math, but I suspect she must have spent A LOT.
I can’t remember which mall this was, but I liked the criss-cross escalators:
There was this one pea coat I liked, but when I looked at the brand…well I don’t think I can wear a label named this:
At Le Bon Marché, we were looking for the big, fancy grocery store we had heard of, but instead ran into this random art exhibit at the mall:
It was then accompanied by a 9-minute self-indulgent documentary about a rich Japanese man who transformed a tiny island in the middle of nowhere into an art museum/exhibit/something. The video included snippets of English-speaking tourists providing powerful endorsements about it, using words like “surprising” and “unexpected.”
After searching everywhere, we finally found a skybridge or pathway that led us to the big fancy grocery store, La Grande Epicerie.
Every fine, fancy French food you’d fathom feeding on:
Just look at the selection of foie gras (which I personally dislike and cannot eat):
Even their ketchup was fancy and highbrow:
And all along I had thought I was so elitist and the sh*t for buying the organic, corn syrup-free Heinz ketchup back home.
Speaking of fancy, their chocolate aisles.
Here is chocolate so grand it comes with a mallet you use to break it with:
And afterward you can use the mallet to break all the plates that hadn’t been worthy of holding your chocolate.
On our way home before dinner we took a quick 5-minute look at the Eiffel Tower. I’ll try to go again before we leave Paris but here are some shots. I really love the sky. It had rained that morning, but now the sky was blue and perfect and heavenly and ethereal and adjectives.
After dinner we decided to take a boat ride around the river Seine, Vedettes du Pont Neuf (pro tip: buy your tickets online and save 4 Euros per person. Or better yet, don’t buy any tickets and save all your money). We took the last ride at 10:30 p.m.
And away we go! Whoosh!
Unfortunately this boat ride was disappointing. It was a 45-minute ride that took us to the Eiffel Tower and back, but it was way too fast, I could barely get any decent photos with my camera. I tried adjusting my ISO and shutter speed and other camera terms, but 90 percent of the photos still came out blurry. And honestly, with the exception of the Eiffel Tower and some bridges, most other things along the river looked kind of meh at night.
Also, our tour guide was nice as a person, but as a tour guide she was kind of terrible. Her English was very good when she was greeting people and answering questions. But as soon as the tour started she switched to this rapid and rehearsed speech where I couldn’t understand a thing. Shesoundedlikethisasiftherewerenopausebetweenanywordssoafterawhilewejusttunedherout. She could have a future as a voice actress reading those side effects disclaimers in anti-depressant commercials.
Here are a few of the photos that came out sort of OK:
Caught this candid photo of my mom and we were all amused by the pose:
We then drove past all these crowds of young people just hanging out, drinking and laughing, playing guitar by the water’s edge, while I was on a boring cruise. Well… maybe next time when I’m not traveling with family.
After the cruise, we saw these locks of love:
I was admiring Caleigh and Noah’s eternal love for each other as immortalized on their padlock when suddenly I heard a guy yell “Hey fuck you! Trying to take my wallet?! I’ll fuck you up!” and his girlfriend added, “Yeah, he’ll fuck you up! Fucker!” Even without me describing the accent, you could already tell the guy was American. America, fuck yeah. They were yelling at a pickpocket, who then went and hid in the shadows.
Pickpocketing is a very big problem here in Paris, and well actually most big, touristy European cities. I was (kind of) the victim of one back when I visited Brussels in 2008. We were on a crowded metro and thieves went through my backpack and luggage. Luckily they didn’t take anything because I’m such a messy packer so they couldn’t locate my passport or wallet. My classmates were not so lucky. But ever since that incident I’ve been super paranoid when traveling abroad and I never take my wallet with me. I only carry a bit of money and a few items with me and I put them in hard to reach pockets.
We then stopped to view the Eiffel Tower from afar and snapped a few more photos.
At the strike of midnight, there were more sparkly stuff:
I know sometimes the tower would also turn blue or red, but I don’t know when that happens. I remember on my first trip to Paris, the tower turned blue with stars, like the European Union flag. Here are some of my old Facebook photos:
Enough Eiffel Tower photos for you?