Monday, January 9, 2012

Au Revior Paris, 'Til We Meet Again

Well, here we are. The last day in Paris. I knew it was going to be a somewhat depressing day.To jumpstart my day, I headed out to Galleries Lafayette. It was a couple of blocks away from my hostel. It probably took me around 30 minutes to get to the mall on foot, but I didn’t mind walking. After all, it was my last morning in Paris. I wanted to inhale the neighborhood as much as I can.

I reached the mall at a quarter past 10:00am and hurried to the Longchamp store. Longchamp became such a craze in the Philippines. I’ve been wanting to buy one online but I can’t distinguish the real one from the replica. I held off buying any LCs until I reached Paris.

The affordable and popular LC’s model is Le Pliage. A small bag is priced around €45-55 while the medium sized bags retailed for around €65-80. I got a small bag and two medium sized bags. I’ve had friends requesting for other colors but the store carried limited stocks. Not everything in the LC’s website is available. Most of their other models are already in the €150++ range. Nope, not into that. Just wanna get my hands on some LCs to ride the craze. (Fast forward six months later, I am still using an LC bag I bought there).
There was this crazy long line outside when I stepped out of the store. Where did they  come from? The saleslady said that the lines were always that long everyday.

Be early if you want to avoid this crowd.

I just roamed around one floor of the mall because I wasn’t really up to shop anymore – and I had a feeling I can’t afford a lot of these things, lest I superswipe my credit card to the max.

Don't forget to look up

On my way out, I filled out a form for a tax refund. If your total purchase amounts to €100, you are entitled to a tax refund. You can get the refund in the form of cash or card. I opted for the card refund. You have to submit the form to a counter when you fly out at the airport.

I headed back to my hostel to drop off my loot and pack my bags. Check out time was at 11:00am but my train ride was at 2:00pm. I checked out late but luckily, I wasn’t charged nor reprimanded.

I just took a picture of the bag and left it. It was too bulky to pack.

I wasn’t done shopping. I shopped in Rome but I shipped them home. I had to buy something or I was going home empty handed. The Montmartre area has this endless line of souvenir shops filled with Paris memorabilia: shirts, jackets, caps, mugs, ID laces, bags, towels, accessories. Everything that spells “I was in Paris!”. The jacket cost me €30 but I was able to haggle it down to €25. Shirts cost around €7-10 euros, depending on the shirt size. I didn’t want to carry home anything fragile so the mugs had to stay. There were also a lot of these mini Eiffel Tower keychains  - 7 pieces for €1. Don’t fall for those selling a piece a euro near the Eiffel Tower.

I made my way back to my hostel at around 12pm stuffed all of them in my now heavy suitcase. I bid goodbye to my hostel and made my way to Garu du Nord. Garu du Nord is this main raiway hub that connect Paris to various international destinations. It is also notorious for the pickpockets. The transfer from Line 2 to Garu de Nord is a long walk.

I read too many robbery stories that occurred here which made me decide to ride ashuttle service to my hostel when I landed in Paris. I was triple extra super cautious. An elevator and an escalator wasn’t working but I rejected the offers of strangers to help me carry my stuff. I was paranoid. I dragged my heavy luggage in those endless steps.

I found my platform one hour before my departure time. No stabs nor bruises.

Watch out for robbers

I had some time to grab some quick lunch. I grabbed another sandwich and drink combo for under €10.

My thoughts caught up with the moment. I was leaving Paris today. Tomorrow, I will leave Europe. It felt like I’ve been traveling for months already. I recall the time that I bought my Thalys ticket from Paris to Amsterdam when I missed my train going to Cologne. It felt like it happened three months ago instead of three weeks.

The swirling memories ate up the hour. It was time to board the train. 

Au Revior Paris. I know someday I’ll see you again. I will try my best to see your beauty again.

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