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Day 4 in Paris: From Marais to the Bastille
Walking from the 2nd arrondisement, our first stop was supposed to be Église Saint-Eustache, a church famous for its Gothic structure and its pipe organ. However, most sections in the church were under renovation during our visit. So, we just stopped for a while then headed to the Les Halles area where the Forum des Halles shopping mall is. This mall is just across the road from the church. You can spend your time shopping here or have your breakfast or brunch here. For us, we did not stay long but continued on to the Centre Georges Pompidou (or Pompidou Centre) which is famous for its unique-looking exterior. There is a museum and library within this complex but we did not enter.
Finally....Notre Dame Cathedral
As we did not manage to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral earlier on, we headed towards the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) area. We noticed that there were ongoing preparations for a skating rink. Too bad that it wasn't ready yet when we were there in early December.
From the City Hall, we then walked over to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Inside, you can see a model of the church itself. Besides that, we wrote down our wishes and placed them in a box. Many other visitors did the same, probably hoping and praying for happiness and peace!
Model of Notre Dame Cathedral
Shop and Eat at Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville (BHV)
For lunch that day, we ate at the food court of Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville (BHV), a shopping mall in Paris. BHV consists of two buildings, one focusing on female customers, and another for Homme, male customers. Do note that if you make purchases of at least 175.01 Euros, you can file for a tax refund at the top floor of this departmental store, provided that you are a tourist and not permanently staying in Europe. You can obtain more details from the staff if needed.
Inside Carnavalet - Paintings of Past Paris
Learning about the History of Paris at Carnavalet Museum
Our next destination was the Carnavalet Museum (Musée Carnavalet). On the way to the museum, we passed by rue des Rosiers which is famous for its Jewish influences. You will find kosher pizza and falafel at famous restaurants like Chez Marianne and L'As du Fallafel.
At the Carnavalet Museum, the focus is on the history of Paris. There are many paintings depicting women dressed elegantly as in period dramas. There are also many unique and weird-looking busts in the museum. As you explore the Carnavalet, do note that this museum is actually made up of 2 different buildings: the Hôtel de Carnavalet and the Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau. This did confuse us somewhat as we had to make a detour all the way through the first building to exit the museum.
Antique Gun Collection in Carnavalet Museum
Chinese Influences and Comics in Paris
From the Carnavalet Museum, we then walked to Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris. Here, at number 6, Place des Vosges, you will find Maison de Victor Hugo (Victor Hugo's House). Entrance to his apartments are free but you will have to pay to visit other floors. The most interesting part of this museum has to be the Chinese living room. As an ethnic Chinese, it was quite a nice surprise to see so much Oriental influences on the room.
After a short visit at the museum, we then walked on to the Bastille. Enroute, we stopped at Opera BD which is a bookshop specialising in comics or bande dessinée (BD) in French. If you are a Tintin fan, you can get a French copy here for yourself or as a souvenir.
More info on Europe
- Day 1 in Paris: The Louvre and More...
- Day 2 in Paris: Exploring Montmartre, Champs Elysees & Eiffel Tower
- Day 3 near Paris: Visiting Versailles
- Day 5 in Paris: From St Germain to Champs Elysees
- Day 6 in Paris: Opera, Perfume and Fashion!
- My Week in Italy: Rome
- My Week in Italy: Florence
- My Week in Italy: Pisa
- My Week in Italy: Venice