14 October 2010

le tour de France

When I flew back almost 20,000 km flight distance from Rio de Janeiro to our Bolehland, out of my curiosity and sheer luck, I purposely broke the journey and stopped over in Paris for 4 days just to taste the original french fries (please do not confuse french fry with french fly). And you know what? They didn't taste any much better than the one we bought from any junk food outlets in our Bolehland. To simply describe it in a single word - edible.

Well actually I have to confess. That was not the original reason and intention why I set my foot on the land of prolific poets, writers, impressionist and... gargoyles. It was actually the quarantine protocol I have to adhere to because it seemed while visiting Brazil I was assumed to get contaminated with a deadly plant pathogen known as Microcyclus ulei. This endemic pathogen, ipso facto if brought over to our Bolehland can wipe out the entire rubber industry and put our rubber tappers in a dire plight for survival. Seriously, I am not joking this time.

And so...by exposing myself to the French temperate weather for a minimum period of three days, this tropical pathogen will either become sterilized or pulverized into thin air or get demoralized by knowing that there is no rubber tree in France to stick their hyphae to.

Unlike Rio de Janeiro, I found Paris and and its inhabitant the Parisians were quite welcoming, romantic and stylish. Even though I don't speak or read French it was quite easy to move around and find my ways around the city without feeling intimidated. I managed to get myself flawlessly blended in with the hustle and bustle of this lovely city.

As that was, as the matter of fact, my first visit to this wonderful city, I planned in advance my syok-sendiri Paris excursion to cover at least the iconic landmarks of Paris and see for myself if the reality matches the stereotype. Apparently I could not cover it all. It turned out three days and four nights simply were not enough to tame this majestic and lively city of Paris.

Paris managed to impress me with it's aesthetic architectural masterpieces, rich cultural diversity and ideas, well preserved beautiful heritage and well illustrated history. I simply love Paris and all its grandeur. I am sure I will be back for more.

Paris welcomed me with a cloudy sky. As it was too early to check in the hotel, I walked slowly toward Île de la Cité , crossed the Seine river from the left bank and waited for the cloud to drift away watching the world go by before proceeding to the Notre Dame.

Once the cloud broke away Notre Dame revealed its architectural glory under the sparkling sunshine. For a moment, I thought I saw beautiful Esmeralda peeking through one of the windows. Entrance to this Gothic cathedral is free, but to climb the top part of the building for a close encounter with the Gargoyles (and a magnificent view of Paris) is not free. I didn't see Quasimodo either.

Situated on Île de la Cité, Hôtel-Dieu de Paris is the first and oldest hospital in Paris. Notre Dame is just a few steps away from this hotel and the only hotel you can find in that small islet ( Île de la Cité) on the Seine River. At first I thought the name itself was quite misleading, but later i was told it is actually a hotel. Suddenly I have goosebumps all over my body. Yes it was getting chiller by then.

Cruising on a boat along the Seine River was very tempting. But I will reserve this particular romantic endeavor with my significant half in the near future. It is a promise.

On both side of The Seine River, rows of antique and collectible shops like this one were a pleasant pit stop whenever my feet become tired of a very long stroll. Interesting Books, magazines, posters and other rare memorabilia of the yesteryear were on sale. I thought the price was quite reasonable too.

Shakespeare and Co. is a bookstore that sell, obviously, books (current and classic) and antique prints. It is situated on the left bank on the Latin Quarter just across the road from the Notre Dame. Very interesting to note that you can actually stay in the premise for free if you are willing to help with the up-keeping of the store AND read one book every day. Another interesting thing about this bookstore is that they will publish any publication that is banned in its original country.

If my memory served me right, there are approximately 200 drinkable fountains in Paris similar to the one in front of Shakespeare and Co bookstore (the green vertical pole). Just fill in an empty bottle and you will never feel thirsty while in Peighes...

This particular tree is however not considered as one of the icons of Paris but i found it very interesting as that tree has stood there for more than 1000 years. I suspected Les Trois Mousquetaires must have passed this tree when chased by the Cardinal guards.

On my way to search for halal restaurante to stuff my grumbling tummy, I passed through this place again and managed to snap a night photo of Notre Dame. The moon was already high and the feet was already aching from extensive walking by this time.

Avoiding deserted alleys or quite dark places, I felt save strolling along the Seine river at night. Police is everywhere. Errr...if you ask me what building is that, coupled with the urge to find the nearest toilet and an empty stomach, i was quite in a dire state to notice anything interesting that moment. Sorry I have no idea. Even my HTC Android Google Goggles didn't offer me much help that night :)

Voila! Finally a savior to end my quest for halal food in Paris. The only small restaurant that displayed the halal logo that boosted my courage to go in and satisfied my hungry palate. This particular shops is a block away from the main street off the Seine River on the left bank (Latin Quarter), along the busy small lane occupied by other lively eateries.

For 9 Euro, this brochette de poulet become my dinner menu for the duration of my stay in Paris. Was it because I was in Paris or the after effect of longing and craving for a plate of nasi lemak while in Rio de Janeiro?....this dish never taste soooo good.

I saw this sign in one of the small alleys. Anybody can share their wisdom with the translation please?

more stories to come...


Mia's Mom said...

Yo Bro!

Ni mesti jetlag. Pukul 1 pagi buat entry!

Anyway, it is a blessing in disguise ya? Glad you have a great time gallavanting while getting the plant pathogen "murdered". :-D

Abd Razak said...

Salam sdra...

Welcome back home..! Dah tentu dalam keletihan ni..:)

Nin said...

Wow! This must be a sign of some sort... this morning it crossed my mind to ajak cik abang jalan2 Paris makan angin, then my sis-in-law who is on her way to Paris asked if she could get me anything for me and I thought to myself, I might as well go there myself, so I politely declined her offer. And now this!

Nice post and pictures, sir. Love 'em all!

Red Alfa said...

Salam Dr Sam

Selamat Kembali ... you did right to stopover Paris/France.

We visited Paris/France last year and I agree that you should re-visit with your wife/family should opportunity presents itself agin. It is indeed one of the top world tourist destination/city in the world!

Given what's reported however, it may be another thing if you have to live or work there if you are a Muslim!

Red Alfa said...

Salam Dr Sam

Selamat Kembali ... you did right to stopover Paris/France.

We visited Paris/France last year and I agree that you should re-visit with your wife/family should opportunity presents itself agin. It is indeed one of the top world tourist destination/city in the world!

Given what's reported however, it may be another thing if you have to live or work there if you are a Muslim!

Unknown said...

salam Dr.Sam

long time not blogging, your blog already change alot. :)

Anyway, when did u go to paris?, maybe later i want to go paris also, just to try the French fries. ehehe...

Btw Doc, i like all your picture. It show how good paris is.


Wan Sharif said...

I was there for 2 months way back in 1984.. during fasting months and Eids .. (attached to Elf Aquitaine at Tour Generale, a la Defense. Two months(after work and weekends) were not enough for me to cover the whole of Paris.. especially with breaking of fast at 10:50 p.m.
Here is my feeble attempt to translate the sign:-
History of Paris
Rue de la Huchette derive its name from a sign attested to the late thirteenth century: The Golden Huchette. Famous in the late Middle Ages for its inns, and the eighteenth century for its rotissuers and cabarets, it was as disreputable and renowned for its pickpockets. Old houses are plentiful. At No. 14, on the corner of the street of fishing cat , a medallion plate on the facade was decorated there for scrap, "lie-breeches', the attachment between acetic breeches, top hats and shoes .
The street finds its buzzing activity in the Middle Ages with the introduction of many exotic and Mediterranean restaurants

Sally said...


what a great experience u had..are u really serious bout the deadly plant pathogen thingy? well..if so, lucky u lah, ade alasan utk ke Paris..huhu

cantiknyee gambar yg ke 5 akhir tu.

Erieq said...

syoknya tengok gambar yg Dr Sam tangkap ni. cantik2 betul. Menariknya pokok tu, tak sangka dah berusia lebih dari 1000 tahun.

Unknown said...

Seems like you had a great time.I am Paris lover and i like people who appreciate.Thanks buddy for visiting paris.Paris is full to overflowing with wonderful historical churches, which cover a wide array of architectural styles and purposes.Its unique in its date of construction and architectural style.You should have visited other churches also which is quite good and has unique construction style.

churches in paris

Afida Anuar said...

Salam Dr Sam...

Ahaaa, macam mana kalau setiap negara dalam dunia ni ada rubber tree. Mana Dr nak pergi yer..hehe..just joking...

anyway, alhamdulillah Dr selamat pergi dan pulang. Seronok tengok gambar2 tu. InsyaAllah ada umur panjang, kelapangan dan rezeki, saya nak pergi sana juga satu hari nanti..

DrSam said...

Mia's mom,
Ha...ha... jetlag is over but jetlag from having to cope with the 2 weeks backlog yang kelam haru...

Abd Razak,
Salam sdr. Letih tangang tup tap tup tap taip repot dan macam-macam paperwork :)

It could be a good sign indeed...with MATTA fairs and other salivating end of the year travel deals offered, Paris doesn't seems to be that far ahead. Another extra effort and good persuasion to motivate your hubby will do :)

Have a nice day.

DrSam said...

Red Alfa,
Salam kanda RA. I agree with you. Paris is such a luvly city, it should not be savored by just a lonely soul.

surprisingly, I found Paris has quite a number of halal eating establishments and easy to find. should not pose any problem for a muslim traveller.

salam bro. I see you have been so engrossed with you photography passion lately, and you are getting better and better.

I was in Paris late September to capture the rich color of A Paris in Autumn. Splendid colors especially in their beautiful gardens. Will dedicate a special segment for the splendid garden later.

DrSam said...

Wan Sharif,
Salam Ayoh Wang. You should share that experience with us too. Sounds very interesting. thank you for the translation, I appreciate it very much. Kelah sunggoh ayoh wang...similar signs were found in other peculiar places as well but most prominent sighting was arround the latin quarter (I think).

DrSam said...

Seriously speaking...yes it is really a serious threat to our rubber industry. Ever wonder why Brazil, a place of origin for the rubber tree has never become one of the main producer of rubber in the world? they have to thank that God-send fungus for that :) And we don't want to succumb to a similar fate. tutup kedai nanti...

DrSam said...

saya mulanya macam tak percaya juga, sebab tengah-tengah bandar ada pokok 1000 tahun. Kira terer lah pokok tu bertahan dengan macam-macam ancaman alam sekitar utk hidup. Tapi bila melihatkan betapa cermat dan telitinya pokok itu dijaga (siap disimen lagi dan dirawat batang yang berlubang) ada kemungkinan betul...betapa telitinya mat saleh ni. Kat tempat kita ni tak ada siapa peduli kot...

thank you Mr Ranjeet for visiting this blog and care to drop a comment. I appreciate anything that is perceived to be beautiful by my eyes. In my opinion, Paris has many great buildings and architectures that survived many eras. And the Parisian preserved them well. My countrymen should follow such a good example.

DrSam said...

Afida Anuar,
Salam Afida. Soalan cepu mas tu. kalau semua negara ada pokok getah bagus juga. ada can melawat semua negara tu :)

Insyaallah, saya doakan hajat Afida akan tercapai jua.

LiFe Is BeAuTifUl LyRiC said...

vacation!!... nih menyebabkan saya tak sabar2 nak gi vacation...

3yearshousewife said...

Beautiful pictures of Paris.
Your intention of going for the boat ride with your other half in the future truely captured the romantic mood of Paris. I like.
Hahaha, the poulet dish was my staple when visiting Paris years ago. Siap kena pau ngan mat hitam lagi kat Trocadero in bright daylight.

Encik Ariff said...

Wah. Great pictures!

annfrendly said...

wow... terpegun saya tengok gambar yang Dr Sam ambil ni. Indah sungguh..beruntungnya Dr dapat pi sana sini.. saya... mimpi ajelah nak pegi tempat2 macamni

'brochette de poulet' nampak sangat menyelerakan.. yummy..

tak sabar nak tunggu cerita seterusnya...

DrSam said...

insyaallah ada rezeki sampai lah nanti...

Originally, that was the plan. A romantic escapade with my luvly significant half. But UPSR is on the blast the same time. Have to wait for another trip to Paris. Memang betul. Mat hitam kat Eifell tower agat ramai and becoming quite intimidating sometimes. need to be cautious.

Encik Ariff.
Great experience too.

dah tak ada pilihan lain. kalau tak kebab, brochette de poulet tu yang rasanya mengikut selera.

Small Hiker said...

Can I say your pic of Eiffel tower is coming soon! It's such a good info about the plant pathogen! How about social visit by any Malaysian? Do they have to kill the pathogen making a stop at a temperate weather country too?

DrSam said...

Small Hiker,
already posted! On the quarantine issue, as long as you go to the area where the plant fungus is rampant then, by right we should be quarantined or quarantine ourself - just like what I did.

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