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Thursday 6 August 2009

The Charm of Champs-Élysées

Av des Champs-Élysées, a name that is never to be forgotten by the shopaholics. It is the mother of all branded-goods shopping streets. It is a heaven for those with a bottomless pocket. Almost any European brand that you can think of can be found here.

A very heavy thunderstorm was just over when I arrived at av des Champs-Élysées, but that never stopped the hardcore shoppers as there were already many people on the street.

It looks like many people love Paris, even dogs love Paris as they can leave their droppings anywhere they like.

As the leading French automobile manufacturer, Peugeot has to leave a mark on av des Champs-Élysées. I don't think anyone will just pay for the car here and drive it home straightaway.

For the fans of Louis Vuitton, this has got to be their dream shop, the mother of all LV shops! Patronising this shop must have been their ultimate pilgrimage. I was wearing LV, but I didn't dare to step into the shop, as my LV stands for Low Value!

Swatch is more likely the kind of shop for me, but I was more interested in the lady.

One of the most peculiar brands on av des Champs-Élysées has got to be this one: Toyota! Maybe they are trying to portray the image of driving a Toyota is like carrying a Hermès handbag!

Monday 3 August 2009

Not So Triumphant at Arc de Triomphe

It wasn't so triumphant for Napoleon Bonaparte when he commissioned the construction of Arc de Triomphe in 1806. He wanted to commemorate his imperial victories with the Arc but had started to lose the battles since then, and finally losing the whole war. It was only completed 30 years later by Louis-Philippe.

It wasn't a very triumphant moment for me either when I visited Arc de Triomphe. It was raining intermittently, making my visit not a very enjoyable one. I had to run for shelter every now and then when the winds blew the rain water towards the Arc area.

However, I still made the best use of my time there to admire the details, on the outside and also on the inside of the Arc. For some of the time when it was raining, I just sat inside the Arc chewing away some of my oatmeal crackers.

I waited until the weather got better before I purchased the ticket to climb up to the top of the Arc. The damage done was €9. It was funny that I had to pay all the time to climb the staircases in Europe, but I don't climb those free ones back at home.

Two-hundred and eighty-four steps weren't easy for a guy of my size, but I still managed to make it to the top which is 50 metres above ground level. All the 12 avenues meeting at Arc de Triomphe, making it the largest traffic roundabout, were all clearly visible from atop the Arc. The most prominent of them all is non other than the av des Champs-Élysées.

The other interesting scene from here that everybody would agree has got to be the view with Eiffel Tower in it.

The skyscraper district of La Défense is also clearly visible from here. The landmark at this district cannot be missed as it is a huge hollow cube of 110 metre on each side, essentially named the Grande Arche.

The sky started to get dark again with the rain clouds slowly moving in after I had went round the top of the Arc twice. I quickly changed my lens to a telephoto one to snap a close-up view of the Eiffel Tower before I looked for shelter again.

When it started to rain heavily, I quickly took my descent, but after I took this interesting photo of the narrow-gauge spiral staircase. When the other tourists saw me doing it, they followed suit.

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