Day One in Paris: Pantheon

02:05


When we stepped off an evening train that chugged its way from Nice to Paris, it was eleven-twenty at night. We were crippled with luggages, no Wifi (read: no navigation), dark streets, staircases, an over-imaginative mind and paranoia. Bad mix. Either way, we alighted from Gare de Lyon, squinted at the complex train station network to find out which line we had to take to get to our station - Republique. There were so many exits even from one station (was it 5 or 7 exits?) and flushing yourself out from the wrong one meant additional distance. Maps in the stations are not exactly helpful, so it'll be good to study the area you will be living in detail before going.

Important notes for the travelers
- Adult train fares from Nice Ville to Paris Gare de Lyon: 56 Euros
- Keep a soft copy of the Paris RER train network map in your phone. For the full list of things to note in Paris, click here.

Itinerary for Day One in Paris
1. Pantheon
2. Luxembourg Palace & Gardens
3. Restaurant La Bucherie + Shakespeare & Company
4. Notre Dame Cathedral
5. The Louvre Museum
6. Champ Elysees & Arc de Triomphe OR Jardin des Tuileries

Want an alternative one day itinerary in Paris?
>>> Itinerary for Day Two in Paris
>>> Itinerary for Day Three in Paris

There is an abject lack of pictures as I recall what happened because it wasn't wise to brandish a DSLR camera or my phone in the middle of dark streets and alleys close to midnight in Paris. Although in retrospect, I wished I did for keepsakes! We trotted our way and pulled the luggages across cobblestone sidewalks noisily (rat-tat-tat-tat-tat) while trying to look for our Airbnb apartment.
The downside of Airbnb apartments is that you don't get a 24/7 receptionist and there is always an element of uncertainty whenever you reach the place itself. Deep down, I'm possibly not a true generation X because I still liked the security of black-and-white confirmation letters rather than internet banking transactions. When we reached the supposed address, we were locked out of the building and the Airbnb owner was not reachable on the phone, nor was he at the location itself to hand us the keys. Double-checked the address. Yes, we are at the right building. Tired and panicky that the owner might turn out to be a conman (gasp!), we tried to activate our autoroaming to contact him disregarding whatever sky high costs there may be but to no avail. Connection was shaky. We also tried connecting to our to-be neighbours through an internal phone call system, but remember it was close to midnight - that would not make the best first impression. None of them responded anyway. After half an hour of struggling or what seemed like forever, the owner appeared and handed us the keys. Phew. Bonne nuit and we wound down for the night.

The funny thing is I had this really bad feeling about Paris the moment I set foot off the train, though I tried to banish all negative thoughts because I was so determined to enjoy this dream city! Long story short before you get bored with me: we got trapped out of the building for a second time in the morning. Oh god why. The mother had decided to stay in and skip climbing four floors of stairs down, while we were gallivanting to the nearby supermarket to get resources. And guess what, we forgot the key (which was required for building access at ground floor). We tried contacting the mother to unlock the access from the apartment, but knowing how tech-unsavvy she is, it was impossible without any pre-empting. The phone wasn't working anyway, so we had the unfortunate opportunity to disturb one of our neighbours... again, who happily gave us access without ensuring we are not burglars, thankfully. That was a mini episode before we were officially off on our adventures for the day!
Important notes for the travelers
- Always keep your brain (and room key) with you at all times


Can you see my determined face to enjoy Paris? I'm even taking pictures at a random garden... because I was so psyched to be in Paris!!! The weather was also quite cooling and comfortable even though it was also sunny, hence the jacket.


I was feeling ambitious and strong that day, so the whole day plan comprises a lot of walking from attraction to attraction. Do not attempt to do the same unless you are very athletic. Our first stop was Pantheon, which we switched three lines to reach (line 11 to 7 to 10). The Pantheon was undergoing a partial restoration work at the moment when we visited, the project was termed as Au Pantheon Une Installation De Jr. It was completed in 1790 as a mausoleum, by the architects Jacques-Germain Soufflot and Jean-Baptiste Rondelet (student of the former).

Important notes for the travelers
- If you intend to take the train multiple times a day (highly recommended) instead of walking, buy the day pass. It will save you a lot of misery, costs 6.80 Euros each and very cheap. Trust me.
- Nearest train station to Pantheon: Cardinal Lemoine
- Entrance fees to Pantheon: 7 Euros (Adult), 4.5 Euros (aged 18 - 25), free (aged 17 and below)
- Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (rejects entry from 5.15pm onwards)



Liberal art students will probably appreciate the Pantheon a lot more, as it features the French Enlightenment's writers, poets and scientists including Voltaire, Rousseau and Marie Curie, to name the ones I can recognize. Remember to read up on the history of the Paris attractions to enjoy the city properly, otherwise, you'll just be very confused about what's attractive about this highly raved city. For a brief read-up on the Pantheon, click here.


Some fun facts about the Pantheon I pulled from Wikipedia: (1) From 1906 to 1922 the Panthéon was the site of Auguste Rodin's famous sculpture The Thinker. (2) In 1851, physicist Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the earth by his experiment conducted in the Panthéon, by constructing a 67m Foucault pendulum beneath the central dome.


This was the moment when I first saw the Eiffel Tower with my own eyes! I was so amazed because I wasn't expecting to see it from the Pantheon... I personally own three Eiffel Tower jewelry which is quite a weird obsession come to think of it, so seeing it in real life was particularly special. Weird, because I'm imagining if a tourist were to wear Marina-Bay-Sands inspired jewelry... yes, weird. But anyway, the Eiffel Tower can be seen from a lot of parts of Paris because it's quite tall!


My first picture with the Eiffel Tower... sort of. We will take more when the time comes.


I noticed that the Pantheon had the Ecole Nationale des Chartes as its neighbour, which had Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (freedom, equality, brotherhood) inscribed onto its walls, the French motto which stemed from the French Revolution and became more dominant during the Enlightenment. This does reminds me quite a bit of one of my sociology major core modules about (post)modernity but I shall not go into that.


There was no time to be wasted so we quickly shuffled our way through about a kilometer away to the Gardens of Luxembourg.
Itinerary for Day One in Paris
1. Pantheon
2. Luxembourg Palace & Gardens
3. Restaurant La Bucherie + Shakespeare & Company
4. Notre Dame Cathedral
5. The Louvre Museum
6. Champ Elysees & Arc de Triomphe OR Jardin des Tuileries

Want an alternative one day itinerary in Paris?
>>> Itinerary for Day Two in Paris

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I share interesting episodes in life revolving around food, lifestyle, travel and inspirational ideas. If you would like to stay in touch, follow me on my Instagram on @spherepiece and Facebook page!

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