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keskiviikko 12. marraskuuta 2014

Memory lane: Paris 26.8-1.9.2014

I'm back with another post. And there's no better way to start a blog than Paris. Ah, Paris, that city of light and love. I have been in Paris three times. This year it was very special because me and my best friend Haja celebrated 10 years of friendship. At first we were supposed to go to Italy with our other friend, but unfortunately we just couldn't make our schedules match. So we decided to go to Paris. I had been there last summer, but I love the city so it was time to visit once again. I also apologize in advance since this post is going to be picture-heavy and LONG.

We started the first day by heading to Helsinki-Vantaa airport at 3am since our flight flew out at 6.10am. We made a quick stop at Arlanda airport in Sweden, where I headed straight to Victoria's Secret to hog myself a big bag of beauty products because we don't have the store in Finland just yet. Unfortunately for me, there wasn't really anything I have been craving for, but I found 7 body mists and 1 hand cream for myself which was more than enough.

After a 45min pit stop at Arlanda, we headed for our plane to Paris and arrived around 9.50am to Charles De Gaulle. From there we took a rer b train to gare du nord and metro to our own station at Plache De Clichy. Yes, people, we stayed at Montmartre. Seriously, I love that place. It's so eclectic, full of life, beautiful and bohemian. We stayed at the hotel I had already stayed in the last year with my other friend. Hotel Hippodrome Montmartre, is in the middle of everything. It's a small *** hotel with wifi, small, cosy rooms with a great location. Moulin Rouge is 500m away. The staff is nice, even though all of them don't speak English. Luckily I have studied French in junior high and one course in high school so I kind of understand parts of it and can even speak it a little, although I'm not as subtle as I'd want to be. Our room wasn't ready yet when we arrived so we went to our local Starbucks to hang out for a while, drink our coffees and run away from the rain (yes it was raining). But we managed to get our room (which was, btw. exactly the same room we had last year - coincidence?) and took a half an hour rest before heading out again.

First we headed over to Champs Elysees to do shopping. We strolled down the avenue, visiting Sephora, Disney Store and of course, Laduree to buy ourselves some lovely macaroons. I'm head over heels in love with Laduree Macaroons. After that we took a metro to Printemps and Lafayette, bought some food (Haja bought baguette and if I remember correctly quiche, I bought microwaveable pasta carbonara and sandwiches. Unfortunately I didn't find a microwave and I didn't have any utensils so it was DIY for me and I made a spoon out of the cardboard of the pasta...). We ended the day at Eiffel Tower, watching it across from Trocadero. We both had climbed up the previous times we were in Paris so we didn't waste time by going to queue to the top. I bought myself a crepe with nutella - hello, who can actually go to Paris and not eat a crepe? If you don't eat at least one crepe, shame on you ;) (no, just kidding. but they are awesome!) After seeing Eiffel and noting that it was still there and it wasn't going to go anywhere, we headed back to our hotel and got some rest for day two.

(notice our macaroons and my cutesy stitch macsticker <3)


On the second day we headed to Versailles. It was pretty much our last chance to use this awesome perk Paris has to offer: under 26 year old european citizens get free access to lots of sights and museums and castles. Versailles was included to this, so for the prize of nothing we got to see this beautiful castle and it's grounds. We started the tour from the castle, where we saw numerous paintings, beautiful rooms and we could sense the atmosphere it had back in the history. While Haja walked around reading the descriptions of the paintings and everything, I mostly looked at the miniature buildings, statues and fanned myself with the map booklet since it was very hot inside. I love art, but I love just looking at it, but I know my friend loves the backgrounds too so I didn't haste too much, I had nowhere to go really (and besides, she would have to bare with me the next two days so I would totally owe her that ;) more about that soon though). When we got out, it was like a warm summer breeze even though it was already the end of summer. I wore my "I love paris" dress from Modcloth with a black belt and red headband. I loved the dress and I think it was a good fit for Versailles. 

I don't really know what it is about gardens and me. I'm not a "green thumb" of any kind, honestly I think that I would be able to even kill a cactus but I really love florals and flower sceneries, which made the garden even more magical for me. I'm also a photographer and I think gardens and flowers are pretty for pictures, so yes. 


 After we wandered at the gardens, we took le petit train to Grand & Petit Trianons. It cost six or seven euros for a roundtrip. We started at the Petit Trianon, which served as Marie Antoinette's private estate. I saw this pretty pink room in the brochure but unfortunately I also noticed that it was only available at tours. Damnit. That was so my room, but hey - at least there's something to wait for the next time I get there? Anyway, we ate lunch (aka. baguette, sandwich and macaroons - I practically lived off of macaroons for real) at the Temple of Love. After that we decided to go to see Marie Antoinette's village and I'm glad we did. It was a magnificent place and I got a little bit of a fantasy book feeling. Shire. All that. Lots of green, lots of flowers, lots of old, beautiful buildings, oh my!

We wandered through the village and the gardens, getting kind of lost at some point, then found ourselves back at Petit Trianon and finally found our place in the map. We managed to steer ourselves to the Grand Trianon and my it was so pretty with pink marble walls and checkerboard floors. And let's not talk about the garden there. So pretty. Then we took the train back to the palace. However, the train made a short stop at grand canal where you could rent a boat for an hour for 12€. I'm kinda bummed we didn't take it back then, but again, something to wait for the next time!

Tired, but in awe, we took the RER back to our hotel and went to sleep, grabbing a meal from mcdonalds on our way, resting for the two day period ahead, because it was gonna be INTENSE.

(can you guess the place?)


So a little bit about the whole trip here. So while Haja had always wanted to go to Versailles and hadn't visited it before (I didn't go there last year either but I visited there in my childhood). But for me, forever young at heart, Disneyland was, and will always be the "it" place for me where I can practically forget the real life, the stress and just be that kid I was when I first visited Disneyland in 1998. I've grown up with Disney all my life. I've seen the movies and the first visit left a mark on me forever, so yeah I'm a grown up kid, practically, when it comes to Disney. Last year we spent only one day at the park, queuing over an hour to rides so we didn't get to do that much. This time...

This time I had planned a surprise for my bff. Since we were supposed to go to Disneyland for only a day and my birthday was coming up before I booked our trip, my mother sponsored me a little. I had already planned on buying two day tickets for the parks and looking for accommodation nearby since it would be completely pointless to travel back to Montmartre at midnight, then sleep for a couple of hours and go back. But my mom wanted to give me a present since I have always dreamed of staying at a Disney Hotel, using the extra magic hours and feel the place through and through. So she offered to pay the difference for Disney Hotel and regular hotel at Marne La Vallee and I was thrilled! So I booked a room from Hotel Cheyenne, which is pretty much the cheapest hotel in Disneyland, alongside Hotel Santa Fe. And then I got to break these news to Haja.

We arrived to Hotel Cheyenne around 7.30am, which meant that we woke up at 5am, holy moly that was early but I was PUMPED I didn't even care. We checked in out hotel and left our bags at the storage and headed for the park. All Disney hotel guests and annual pass holders have an opportunity to use two extra magic hours at the park before opening from 8am to 10am. That means shorter queues and less crowded stores. There are limited amount of rides open though, mostly in Fantasyland and a few in Discoveryland. First we headed to Peter Pan's Flight, with 5min queue (not even that to be honest?). Last summer we queued for 80 minutes. Yup. EMH is a godsend. Then we skipped to Dumbo The Flying Elephant and mad Hatter's Teacups. Haja was hypnotized by jumping water drops at Alice's Curious Labyrinth when we walked next to it. We headed over to Discoveryland, went to Buzz Lightyear's Laser Blast and Space Mountain. Since there was no baggage storage, I actually wondered how on earth was my stuff going to stay in my feet but then I felt the G-forces... yeah. That answered that.


We also went to the Casey Jr. train in Fantasyland before it gathered crowd. After that it was time for opening and we headed for shops for a little while when they weren't as crowded as later in the day. We used the very convenient Disney Shopping Service and picked our stuff later in the evening from Disney Store at the Disney Village. After that we went to queue to see Rapunzel. May I say it was the longest queue ever but well, I remembered the time wrong so we didn't get there early. So it was TWO HOURS for about less than a five minute meet. But it was lovely. See, I had decided that I was going to meet as many characters as possible this year since I hadn't done it before. I had dressed up as Minnie Mouse so I got attention at the park, kids smiling at me, parents telling them "look it's minnie" and my heart was pretty warm. It was very sweet. People also seemed to be very interested in my tattoos, since I have one very visible one in my chest, one behind my ear and one in my ankle.

Then we queued for 45min to see Minnie. That was a must. She was awesome and loved my outfit (well duh! the tale of two minnies and everything). After that we went to hunt us some mickey waffles I had heard about and finally found them in Fuente Del Oro. They were good and filled our bellies. We continued to walk through Adventureland and Frontierland, finally going back to Fantasyland. We went to Alice's Curious Labyrinth which has always been pretty much my favorite in the park. It's a magical place really. You could get lost in it for hours (figuratively of course, it's a raather easy labyrinth). Finally making our last pit stop in the labyrinth and climbing to the Queen of Heart's castle, we saw Fantasyland in all of it's glory.

Last year I didn't know a lot and I went through the park with a hunch, and accidentally happened to get to the square when the parade started and managed to get rather alright places. This time we were half an hour early and it was already crowded, but we managed to spot two front-row places in the middle of the square, right across the castle. The parade has always been magical and it still was. I was thrilled to see the new Frozen float with Elsa and Anna and it was very pretty!


After the parade, people scattered and we went to see the Sleeping Beauty Castle Inside and shopped a little bit more. We also went to the Phantom Manor, Pirates of The Caribbean ride and Thunder Mountain. We also went to meet Mickey Mouse in his theater and that was kind of funny since he was stunned to see me as a Minnie, but it was so cute. The photographer even asked if I wanted to give him a kiss. Heck yeah! YOLO and all that so I did it. He "blushed" or so to speak, you probably know how the characters have to act. But I had a great time and it was fun! After those we went to wait for the night time show Disney Dreams to start. I had seen it year earlier but it was magical. Also we got good places in front so it was beautiful and I almost cried. Almost. Took a lot not to cry really.

So we headed to Disney Village to grab our shoppings from the day and got something to eat for the night and headed to our hotel to sleep. We were pretty tired and I planned to get out early the next morning in order to get to the Princess Pavilion. But yeah, next morning we were still tired and I decided that I had seen 4 characters already. It was day 2 at Disney and it was time to head over to Walt Disney Studios. I had never been there before so it was pretty exciting for me!

First we headed over to the Hollywood Tower of Terror to fetch fastpass tickets. A huge line was already forming to the new Ratatouille ride so we decided to check it later. At some point it was as long as 3hrs. First we took the Studio Tram Tour which was pretty awesome. It was so fancy to see the special effects in work and listen to Jeremy Irons's voice the whole way. After that we just wandered around until it was time to head to Hollywood Tower Of Terror. It was spooky, very much haunting experience. The preview in the "library" was cool and the elevator ride. I almost did some serious Marilyns with my dress and I couldn't help but scream of excitement when the first free fall came. It was so thrilling we went to it again, a bit later though.

We also queued for Crush's Coaster for an hour before something apparently happened and they shut the doors in front of us. We waited for a good fifteen minutes, people started to turn around and so did we. So no crush's coaster for us this time. Then we headed to Ratatouille. The line was still 90minutes but there was one genius thing about the ride - single rider line. Because we were both adults, we took it because we got to the ride in 10minutes, we were just placed to different carts. It was pretty neat and I loved the 3D!

After the ride we headed to Moteurs Stunt Show featuring Lightning McQueen and cheez it was AWESOME beyond words. I mean hello, cars, turns, explosions, gun show, bikes, burning men, jumping through glass, car splitting in two... YES YES YES. The noise was pretty loud but the show was just spectacular! Now that's what I call entertainment. After the show we kind of felt that we had already seen a lot in this park and we were also getting hungry so we headed to Disney Village.

We decided to go eat to Planet Hollywood. We both ate chicken pasta, I also got some kind of blue drink which name I can't remember but it was GOOD. We ordered our own bottles of water (about 1 litre or so) and the waiter was kinda perplexed, but we actually drink them all. Guess we're (or at least I) are heavy water drinkers. Just FYI, water in France, yeah not so refreshing. Just nope. Not evian, not tap water not anything really? It's just not tasting fresh. After we ate and shopped a little, we headed to the Disneyland Park, went on Snow White ride and It's a Small World and then did some last minute shopping and at 9pm we headed back to Montmartre and bid adieu to Disneyland, hoping that one day we would be back.

The next day we allowed ourselves to sleep a little bit longer, before heading out to the other side of Seine. The thing was, we kinda only got to Cité to visit Sainte Chappelle and take a peek of Notre Dame (again, we've both seen it before from the inside). We planned on going to Jardin du Luxembourg and take a tour at the catacombs, but we felt a bit exhausted so yet another thing we left for the next time.

Instead we headed to search for two particular shops Haja wanted to look for. So we visited Opera and the lovely shop of Baby the Stars Shine bright. I'm not a lolita myself but I've always adored the dresses cause they are sooooo cute! Then we searched for this one fabric/sewing shop in Bastille called La Droguerie. Oh my lordy there was lots of pretty pretty stuff and even I bought a few headband bases, laces and decorations so I could one day make my own headbands (note to myself: DO IT DAMNIT). But yeah, all in all it was very lovely! Then we headed to Lafayette and Printemps once more since the big department stores aren't open on Sundays. Such a shame :(

On our last day we packed our bags and left them to the hotel storage, then climbed up the small streets of Montmartre, all the way up to Sacre Coeur. And oh the view from the top. The small streets. It somehow reminded me of Biedenkopf in Germany (I visited my friend there in 2008). I love small streets. They are so cutesy. So yeah, we traveled around Montmartre, accidentally found the wall of love too (there was also Finnish in there, yay!). Then we traveled to Champs Elysees to do some last minute shopping at Sephora, Disney Store and fetched our souvenir macaroons at Laduree (or well, I did). And you know what? There couldn't have been more perfect way to end a perfect trip than to eat some delish food and have a glass of Champagne with strawberries at Champs-Elysees. I have never cared much for wines or champagne but this was a special occasion. And well, even champagne tastes better at Champs-Elysees.

Now, my beautiful people. I also have a video from this trip. So we took video clips from the trip and I edited them together. Now let me explain something before you watch this - it is long (disneyland starts at 8:14, just a hint) and originally we meant to keep a vlog about our trip, that is why we greet you in all of the clips. But well, we just didn't have time so one video it is. Here goes nothing.

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