Calibre Magazine: My Tribute to Paris

My Tribute To Paris post was featured in the February 2014 issue of Calibre Magazine. Calibre is a business and lifestyle magazine for Public Mutual Gold Members – mutual fund holders investing with Public Mutual which is the largest private mutual funds company in Malaysia. This is my first ever publication 🙂 Here’s the text format for easy reading: My Tribute to Paris Whether you’re planning a solo trip or a romantic getaway, there’s something about Paris that will evoke both cynic and the romantic in you, says Kathleen Poon. You got to admit that there is a lot of hype about everything that is Paris. But one thing I realize, nobody talks about Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport. That’s because it’s the ugliest airport I have ever seen in Western Europe! I have not travelled much in this region but I assume the international airports would be pretty high up in modern architectural standards. CDG is simply old, grey and dull. The airports in Asia are way much brighter and modern looking. I just wanted to highlight the first impression a first-timer gets when arriving in Paris. My sister, a friend and I stayed outside of Paris, a 3-star hotel called Park

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It’s Spring in Nice

I always feel spring is the right weather. We do not have the 4 seasons in Malaysia because it’s a tropical country but sometimes it gets too hot and muggy. I have experienced the spring season in some of my travels and I love it because it has the right temperature – not too hot or too cold -sunny days, blooming flowers and lush green fields. Spring is nice, and I enjoyed my spring in…Nice 🙂 A Nice Touch of the Riviera We took the TGV high speed rail train from Gare de Lyon in Paris and the journey to Nice was 5 hours and 40 minutes. France has a comprehensive, effective and comfortable high speed rail network and TGV trains are the fastest. It felt like a short trip: the train moved very fast, the seats were very comfortable and the views of the French countryside were absolutely amazing. The next thing we knew, we were already in Nice. Nice is located on the south-east coast of France and is the second largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Marseille.  Our accommodation was only 5 minutes’ walk from the railway station and 10-15 minutes’ walk to Place Massena, the

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An Opulent Transformation: Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles is located about 16 kilometres south-west of Paris and is easily accessible by train. It is advisable to be at the Palace as soon as it opens at 9am, and please be PATIENT. I can’t emphasize this enough because the queues stay absolutely long all day until early evening. Visitors can get put off by the long snaking queues especially during spring and summer time, therefore it’s best that you book the tickets online or get a Paris Museum Pass. My sister and I had the Paris Museum Pass, and we queued at a separate line. Our queue time was not short (45 minutes) but I bet it was much shorter than others who came without any bookings or passes. Transformation of a Hunting Lodge Who would have thought that the Palace of Versailles started off as a hunting lodge? Louis XIII was charmed by the site and had purchased land in that area to build a small brick and stone lodge in 1622. Over a period of ten years, he enlarged the lodge and expanded his residence. Louis XIII died in 1643 and was succeeded by Louis XIV. In 1662, Louis XIV, also known as The

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Going Gothic in Paris

Continuing on my journey to get acquainted with art in Paris, my travel companions and I explored Gothic architecture in the city. And Paris has no shortage of Gothic-inspired structures. According to Wikipedia, Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture. Many great cathedrals, abbeys and churches in Europe were built in Gothic architecture and their characteristics are typically pointed arches, buttresses, rose windows, towers, spires and resplendent facades. Sainte-Chapelle Sainte-Chapelle is a medieval gothic Church and a masterpiece commissioned by the devout Louis IX (the only French King to be canonized as a saint) in the thirteenth century. The church was erected as a shrine for the king’s holy relics of the Passion of Christ which the king had purchased from Emperor Constantinople when he was on his first Crusade in 1239. Apparently Louis IX had paid almost three times more for the holy relics than for the construction of Sainte-Chapelle itself. Sainte-Chapelle is touted to be the most beautiful church in Paris particularly for its fifteen stained glass windows soaring up to fifty feet high. In spite of its damage in the French Revolution but restored

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Getting Acquainted with Art in Paris

After two days in Paris – walking along the banks of the River Seine and visiting the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe – it was time for us to get acquainted with art in Paris in museums and art galleries. Whilst it was fun to see the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, I felt the experience was mainly to sort of “tick off the list” but the experience of seeing art masterpieces up close and personal which we have often heard of or watched on telly was incredible and exciting. So first stop: Musee de L’orangerie. Musee de L’orangerie Musee de L’Orangerie is an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings located at the corner of the Tuileries Gardens. I have no idea what impressionist and post-impressionist mean because I’m an art idiot but I appreciate art which is pleasing to my eyes or evoke some emotions in me. Musee de L’Orangerie is renowned for its eight Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet. The murals are housed in oval rooms and the atmosphere is exceptionally quiet. Perhaps visitors are in awe of the Water Lilies murals or because of the sparse interior decoration, plain white walls and natural

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My Tribute to Paris

I’m feeling a little nervous writing this story. It’s about my holiday to France back in 2011. I didn’t really go to a lot of places in France but I spent a significant amount time in Paris and a few days in the French Riviera only. You must be wondering why I should feel nervous. Well, maybe it’s because there have been countless and numerous publicity about Paris ranging from books, art, museums, fashion, photography, films, you name it, and I wonder if my stories would give justice to some of the beautiful (and not so beautiful) sights of the city. So here’s my tribute to Pah-ree! Paris 101 You got to admit that there is a lot of hype about everything that is Paris. But one thing I realize, nobody talks about Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport. That’s because it’s the ugliest airport I have ever seen in Western Europe! I have not travelled much in this region but I assume the international airports would be pretty high up in modern architectural standards. CDG is simply old, grey and dull. The airports in Asia are way much brighter and modern looking. ‘Nuff said. I just wanted to highlight the

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