Paris, France

The Versailles Palace is definitely one among the world's most beautiful. It is opulent, truly symbolic of imperial decadence at a tumultuous time when France had poor peasants and farmers toiling in anger and disgust. So "give them cake" as Marie Antoinette supposedly have said, ending with her crowned head on the cutting board instead.

Early in the day, I was very determined to reach Versailles which via RER train is a convenient half hour ride away. Unfortunately today, the RER trains did not run so I had to activate plan B: take the Metro and bus combo, taking about an hour to suburban Versailles.

I wasn´t worried about the ongoing riots in the suburbs. I was more worried that I will not be able to go there. Not that I am careless of our safety. I did ask the customer service of Metro and I was assured that the area we where going to is safe from the multitude of angry Parisians.

We reached Chateau de Versailles just after it opened its doors. We quickly went in and hordes of Japanese and Korean tourists were right on our heels. The Royal Chapel, one of the most impressive I´ve seen, could easily be mistaken for a cathedral´s interior due to its sheer size. As we moved from one royal chamber to another, I remembered the same grandeur I saw at the Dolmabache Palace in Istanbul, Turkey several years ago. This only proves that whether it´s a Sultan or an Emperor, absolute power necessitates powerful abodes.

Ate Emma, Leah and I got into the bus again after walking around the palace gardens. We were meeting Sonny and Bong at the Galleries Lafayette, one of the leading department stores in Paris. Ate Emma simply could not miss buying genuine French products, never mind the stronger value of the euro against the dollar.

I wasn´t really into shopping while on this trip so I left the group and headed on my own to Sacre Couer (or the Sacred Heart Basilica), up there on the hills of Montmarte. I clambered up so many steps before reaching the basilica´s massive doors, not knowing that a funicular railway was close to it. The view was gorgeous in the late afternoon daylight.

Since I still have time before I go back to the Galleries Lafayette, I took the Metro again and headed to the Eiffel Tower to photograph it at dusk. This time, I was at the vantage point of Trocadero where one gets the best view, in my own opinion, of the Eiffel Tower. At sunset, it´s even more romantic!

With Ate Emma and the rest done with their obligatory souvenir hunting, we decided to cap this trip to Paris with a dinner - with French haute cuisine really - at Page 35 in Rue du Parc Royal, a restaurant cum art gallery owned by Bong´s friend. Care for some duck entree? Bon apetit!

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