22nd October 2010, Friday
Hearty Breakfast of Croissant, ham, bacon, sausages, salami and scrambled eggs with milk!
We went for breakfast begrudgingly and everyone was seen disgruntled by last night’s episode. Apparently, the tour agent’s boss was also in Paris and he happened to stay in the same hotel! We were very relieved and hoped to convey a message to the boss that, we didn’t like the tour guide.
Somehow, I guess the boss had a word with the tour agent and it was a 180 degrees transformation! The tour agent actually SMILED for the first time! When we got on the bus, bottles of water were distributed. Another bonus point! Actually, tap water in France is safe for consumption. Totally no chlorine smell!
The view on the way to Reims is breathtaking!
We made our way to Reims to visit a GH & Mumm’s champagne factory. The way the tour guide talk also took 180 degrees transformation! He joked and was polite, totally different from the first day when he was grumpy like he was post menopausal and conceited! We prayed really hard that the boss would continue to join us for the rest of the trip, so that we did not have to suffer his “Hyde” side. When he asked how’s breakfast, I was so bloody tempted to say out loud, “Why is there no banana peel or egg shells to eat?” just to mock him!
Visiting GH & Mumm
Well, we decided not to let yesterday’s incident to dampen our holiday spirit! I bought brut rose champagne (€33) for my sister and husband to celebrate their first year marriage anniversary, even though I was a month late. Heh! Apparently, we can only use the word “champagne” in Paris and no other places in the world. France had taken this case to courts all over the world; more than 700 times and eventually, won the case. “Champagne” from other countries should refer to as sparkling wine. I guess that was why I saw the word sparkling wine when I visited Domain Chandon in Melbourne 2 years ago. Each of us was given a glass of champagne – Mumm de Gramant blanc de blancs, which was said to be a “vintage”.
After visiting the champagne factory, we stopped by to visit the Notre Dame cathedral in Reims. It was a smaller one compared to the rather magnificent Notre Dame in the city! Nevertheless, the architecture was simply breathtaking! It was backdated to the 12th century! This building made me feel rather sad for Malaysia. We can’t even keep a 100+ year old jail in-tact. No doubt prison is not a very nice place to remember by, but at least, it can fetch money for tourism like the Alcatraz in US! Our government doesn’t even want to know our own history and decided to rewrite history themselves! And they want to make history as compulsory subject to pass in school! What history? It can kiss my ass!
After that, we were already on our way for lunch. Lunch was at this small quaint French restaurant in Reims, also serving a 3-course meal. The fried potatoes and creamy mushroom and chicken were simply delicious but unfortunately, gave more pain to my already aching sore throat. I find the French can really eat despite their svelte figures. On our way into the restaurant, we saw two ladies having an 8 inch pizza EACH! We celebrated birthdays of our fellow travel mates for October. I guess it’s the way of the manager to apologize for the idiocy of his tour guide!
I’ve mistaken the crowd going into Louis Vuitton as protestors going for demonstration against the new pension plan!
The rest of the day was spent at Champs Elysees. Most of the tour mates were brand crazy so they joined the maddening crowd making a beeline to enter Louis Vuitton boutique. My friends and I on the other hand, do not conform to such herd mentality. No offence, but I really feel that LV, despite being such a prestigious brand, it’s just downright too tacky! You actually don’t see many locals using this brand! They probably spotted with more Chanel than LV! I think these people don’t even know how to pronounce Louis Vuitton correctly! Owning an LV bag doesn’t mean it would alleviate your social status! Like owning a DSLR camera doesn’t guarantee you great pictures! Same principle!
Hot stuff strutting down Champs Elysees
We were deliberating on which café to sit and contemplating the menu at George V Café when suddenly, a waiter appeared from the sheltered make shift al-fresco tent and said “Konnichiwa!” We laughed out loud and said that, we were not Japanese. He asked where we were from and we said “Malaysia!” almost unanimously. He reverted by saying, “Ni Hao!” and gestured us to go into the café. We obliged willingly.
One of the many sidewalk shops selling newspapers, mags, snacks & little knick knacks
We spent the hours away, sitting idly at George V Café along Champs Elysees, chatting, laughing and watched the world went by. I had my caffeine fix for the day, café au lait. We were also served mini salty pretzels. Parisians mostly dress in shades of black, grey and brown – contributed more subdued colors to the already pale city.
And to the stupid tour guide who said this is not a romantic city – eat this! I’ve taken so many pictures of couples being in love and kissing on the entire stretch of Champs Elysees!
Glad to say it was quite a relaxing and enjoyable day.