The Geek Goes To Paris – Day 3

Day 3 – March 23rd 2014
It was time to go home! That was a quick trip to Paris wasn’t it? I think next time if I go again, I definitely think Miss Pinky and I need to explore the areas a bit more. Find more French food and eat more baguettes. Miss Pinky had a lot of baguettes by the way… Fresh French bread is the best!!
We didn’t eat breakfast, well I ate a sandwich that I bought the night before. It was disgusting so I threw the crust and the remainder away. Was also getting used to the Nespresso machine… I want one to use at work!! 
We got to Gallieni Metro station before 10am using the M9 route to Republique and changing to the M3 line to Gallieni. We should have taken this route to the hotel!! So much easier!! Anyway we waited for a bit, queued to check in and then waited for the coach… It was practically late. Don’t know how the driver was going to get everyone on in time… But he did. I have to say the French drivers are not very interactive, English is so-so but very good at getting us around in time! Make sure you queue quickly as people actually push in front which is not fair at all. Miss Pinky was laughing angrily I bet. But I think we got the best seat because I got to jump off before the people in front and those in the rear seats. ^_^
Our first stop was at a gas station… I was practically hungry and so I ordered in French… Je voudrais une maxi salami baguette… and pointing at the baguette. XD At least I remember the basics…
Maxi salami baguette
I ate half on the coach… It was good, a bit salty and needed more pickles…
15 minutes later we were back on the coach and we reached Calais… We were getting the ferry back to England!! Oh wow, I haven’t been on one of these ferries for years… decades maybe…!! Miss Pinky doesn’t like boats or water so it was unfortunate for her but we got through it all.
Just need to point out, security and passport checks are quite tight. One of the passengers on our coach was taken off because he didn’t have the right documentation. So make sure your passport is in date and you have the right visas too!! And travel safe.

It felt like we were going to be at the port forever. But finally we got on the ferry and it took as less than 2 hours to cross the English Channel. I think Miss Pinky was relieved…

Au revoir France!!!
So it was time to get back into London. The journey took at least 8 hours in total. An hour longer than expected I believe. It was a fun journey to Paris and back. Hope to experience more next time with a bit of improvement to my French… And also find more Chinese restaurants to speak Mandarin. ^_^
Remember the basics people:
Bonjour = Hello (polite)
Bonsoir (bon-swaar) = Good evening
C’est combien? = How much?
Merci = Thank you
Merci beaucoup = Thank you very much
End of Day 3.

The Geek Goes To Paris – Day 2

Day 2 – March 22nd 2014

Hoorah! It was time to wake and smell Paris. ^_^ That morning I was trying to work out the Nespresso machine in the hotel and I think I was quite successful on my second go. XD Well, I had a good sleep that night although I was tossing and turning that night, and I was eager to find the Eiffel Tower that morning.
Miss Pinky practically skipped breakfast, I think I had a chocolate chip bread bought from Morrisons, so it was hardly no spending that morning. 
We took the Metro from Grand Boulevard Station which is the nearest station to the hotel. For a single fare it costs €1.70 (~£1.50). The machines are very easy to use and you can use them in English. We took the M9 route and then got off at Trocadéro. We got out of the station, turned round the corner and voila! La Tour Eiffel. Yay!! ^_^
Metro ticket prices:
La Tour Eiffel
As we got closer I felt that the tower was getting smaller…

Here’s some stonework and graffiti…
I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower from the centre-bottom just to see if I can see through the top… Er and this is what I saw. ¬,¬
Looking from the bottom
You probably can’t see the prices here to go up the tower but you can find it on this 
If you don’t like taking the lift and if you’re fit enough try and take the stairs…
Are you going to use the stairs? Nah!!
Here was the queue to the lift… I didn’t go up it, as we were on a budget! I only €150 with some extra cash from previous European visits…
It was a long queue for the lift
We walked back towards to the station, and our next destination we wanted to take a bus.
If you want to take the bus from Trocadéro to Arc de Triomphe take the Bus 30. We accidentally used our single tickets (so we practically on there for free… Woops!!).
We missed our stop by two stops, Miss Pinky didn’t believe that this was THE Arc de Triomphe and thought we would need to go a bit further… Nope this the Arc de Triomphe. It looks small she said and it looks so cool in movies. ¬,¬ Unbelievable Miss Pinky!!
Arc de Triomphe
This is the nearest station…
Now it was window shopping time…
Metro line M2 was our next destination… We went to find the OLD China Town in Belleville.
We reached Belleville quite quickly. I was still amazed at how many Chinese people live in France… We started exploring Belleville, so here’s a few pictures of the outskirts of Paris.
Finally it was time to eat. It was my time to choose so I chose this place called Vietnamese place called Tin Tin 東東 which means “stuff” in Chinese. It seems like one of the most popular restaurants around the area. I think the people in the restaurant are Chinese as they spoke Mandarin. Not sure if they speak Vietnamese though…
Tin Tin Vietnamese Restaurant
I chose this beef pho… Oh wow!!! The soup was sweet, a little beefy. The owner asked me if I wanted the chilli oil but I didn’t really want it… 🙂
Beef pho
I had a cold lemon tea… This wasn’t bad…
Cold lemon tea
And I had the beef dim sum!! Haven’t had this for a long time…
Beef siu mai
Miss Pinky unfortunately did not enjoy her main meal… She thought I chose this restaurant for my own purposes… Well yes and no. I was hungry, and I couldn’t be bothered to choose another restaurant within the area. She complained that she didn’t have enough seafood and the chicken was cold. Oh well.
Seafood and Chicken with rice
But her fried frog legs were ok. Tasted like fried chicken. Miss Pinky said she could have bought something from her local takeaway… I don’t think you buy fried frog legs in London that easily Miss Pinky!!
Fried frogs legs
Total cost came to €36 (~£31). That really isn’t bad. Really cheap for this kind of food!
Well my geeky rating is… 4.5/5 (just for the sake of Miss Pinky, but I would have given this place 5/5).
Address: 17 rue Louis Bonnet, 75011 Paris, France
Now it was time to explore the rest of Belleville…
Next we stopped by this patissere called the Artisan Boulanger Patisser… Ooooo I think this place is really popular amongst the locals. They really like desserts over in Paris. ^_^ Why can’t we have more of these in London??
Artisan Boulanger Patissier
I had this strawberry cream tart. Really nice!!
More streetart in Paris…
Definitely want to explore the New China Town next time I’m in Paris!!
Back to Grande Boulevarde…
Miss Pinky wanted a rest so we took a few hours napping time (and I was watching 24 on my iPad mini).
It was time for a night walk…
And finally we found a restaurant that cooked snails (l’escargot). I have been dying throughout my lifetime to try out snails…
Select Haussmann Restaurant
Miss Pinky and I went for six snails, so three each. I think Miss Pinky forgot what this tasted like as she’s been to Paris before and had snails…
These were cooked in olive oil and herbs. It was very chewy and reminded me of Chinese mushrooms. Hmmm. Not bad. The Chinese try anything I tell ya!! ^_^
Tastes like mushroom
I also ordered this mini classic burger. It was bloody good!!
Classic mini burger
Total cost came to €24.10 (~£21) including drinks.
My geeky rating: 5/5 (great way to taste French cuisine)
Address: 28 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, France
We wanted to walk around the area quickly as Miss Pinky wanted to buy some beers from the supermarkets before they stopped selling them at 9pm. Supermarkets in France are really strict on selling alcohol!!
Stumbled across the Palais Garnier which is the National Opera House… You can’t really get lost in Central Paris,
We made it to the supermarkets in time. But now Miss Pinky was really hungry. She wanted to go to listen to live music but she didn’t have enough money to buy me a drink… I think she was feeling depressed when I said that to her so we went to eat a burger at this place called Quick… The sauce was horrible. The fries packing made me laugh and Miss Pinky won a Giant burger… 
Cost was less than €10 each.
My geeky rating: 2/5
It was time to rest, watch TV (which Miss Pinky got worked up about working women – she gets uptight when I don’t listen XD) and eventually some sleep…
End of Day 2.

The Geek Goes To Paris – Day 1

Day 1 – Friday 21st March
Backtracking now. It’s been an eventful March! If I knew Eason Chan was going to perform in Paris I would’ve went to his concert today… Oh well!!
During our trip to Stonehenge and Bath, Miss Pinky and I decided to take a trip to Paris via coach. It’s the cheapest and the only type of transport that Miss Pinky likes minus the EuroTunnel and ferry. Cost us £44 for a return trip to and from Paris. I actually would have preferred to take a train but EuroStar is so costly and you really have to plan in advance to get the cheapest tickets or wait until they are on sale.

We got to Victoria Coach Station before 8am. But we were actually late! I didn’t realise we had to check in for EuroLines as we never had to before on other coach journeys. Thankfully Miss Pinky spotted the message otherwise we would have missed our entire trip!! Luckily we got to the coach in time. There were plenty of seats left but no two seaters so we had to sit separately. 😦 Nevermind!! We learnt our lesson in case we go on another European coach trip with Eurolines.

Once we were on the EuroTunnel we had another hours drive and had a short break at a gas station before moving on… Our drivers were French and unfortunately they didn’t speak very good English.

The drive took another 2-3 hours on the road and finally we reached Gallieni, Paris! Next we had to figure out how to get to the hotel so we took the Metro, line M3 to Bourse which was the directions given to me on… It is actually not the best route and we found a better one when we went back! When we got off Miss Pinky wanted a drink, unfortunately the bartender didn’t speak much English so I tried in the little French I know to get her her biere… 😛 She got a half pint for €4. That’s expensive!!!!

Now we went to find our hotel… My phone didn’t give the best directions, and so we ended up in the Palais Royale area! Oh dear, we were LOST!! How did that happen?! Stupid phone… We asked a few people but they didn’t know either… Finally my phone gave me the right directions after I keyed in the hotel name… It was an 18 minute walk… BOOOO!

Stumbled across Notre Dame

Thankfully we found it and we came across quite a few restaurants and we were deciding what to eat. I think Miss Pinky was about to burst with anger if we didn’t find the hotel soon. Heheheh.

After resting for a few moments we went out to find a place to eat. There’s a lot of Chinese restaurants around the area and so we ended up in a Chinese restaurant called Saveurs de Chengdu. I warned Miss Pinky that this place will have very spicy food, and she said she wanted to try it out… ¬,¬”” Oh great!!

Well, the owners speak Mandarin, French and English! And the menu? It was on an iPad!! Woooow!! We ordered quite a few things and here’s what we had…

This is pig intestines with a lot of peppers. It was a bit fatty and a bit too salty for me.

Pig intestines

 Miss Pinky ordered this one… Pork belly slices with LOTS of peppers.

Pork Belly

 I had this dan dan mian (noodles carried on a pole). It was good and tasted a little spicy.

Dan dan mian

 Miss Pinky ordered a squid dish. The squid was overcooked and Miss Pinky didn’t like it that much.

Squid dish

 This is a new dish in the restaurant. Fried fish. This is good but Miss Pinky found it too spicy… Not for me though. It was quite good!

Fried fish

Our bill

Total cost came to €67.70 (~£58) with a few beers… London prices!

My geeky rating: 4.5/5 (too many peppers in each dish, I think other vegetables would have been nice in these dishes. Great service though!!!).

Address: Saveurs du Chengdu 46 rue Richer, 75009 Paris, France

I never knew how many Chinese people live in France. Wow!! ^_^

Afterwards, we went for a little walk onto the main road and went to find the nearest Metro station… Not far…

End of Day 1.