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Saturday 7 November 2009

Breakfast with the Oldest Church in Paris

When I visited Paris, I put myself up at a hotel in St-Germain. This place is convenient in terms of transport and food. I had most of my breakfast meals at a place called La Croissanterie, which is also my favourite place for breakfast in Paris. By its name, it wasn't hard to tell that it is a pastry shop. Furthermore, with the vast choices of pastries on display, nothing can go wrong with the order.

I particularly like the raisin roll and almond croissant here. I miss them when I see these pictures. The raisin roll has a very cute name in French, escargot au raisin! It is not made of real escargot, though. These are best gobbled down with a freshly brewed cappuccino.

Just a stone-throw away, or shall I say, a distance of over-throwing the stone, stands the oldest church in Paris, Église St-Germain-des-Prés (Church of St Germanus of the Fields). This church is surrounded by cafes and restaurants.

The bell tower of the church has been standing there with very little change since 990, except the spire which was installed in 19th century.

The construction of Église St-Germain-des-Prés actually dates back to 11th century when it was built on the site of a 6th-century abbey. It was the dominant church in Paris before Notre Dame took over the glory.

The vaulted ceiling of the church is painted blue with yellow spots, which is a resemblance of a starry sky. Other than functioning as a place for prayer, it now stages concerts and recitals because of its marvelous acoustics in a medieval atmosphere.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Shopping in a Palace

Can you imagine a shopping centre that looks like a palace? How do you feel if you can shop like a member of a royal family in your own palace? You can find all the answers at Galeries Lafayette in Paris.

The giant transparent dome is deliberately decorated with tinted glass. With the sunlight coming through, a beautiful pattern comes into place.

The arches supporting the main dome are also painted in Baroque style, and the balconies look like the box seats of a grand theatre. However, when you look on to the floor, it is not different from any other shopping centre selling branded stuff.

Galeries Lafayette occupies two buildings linked by a footbridge across the road. I entered the building without the dome first and was searching for the dome high and low. It was after almost half an hour that I realised I was searching for it at the wrong place.

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