Thursday, March 13, 2014

Central Europe 1st part; 4 Days Traveling Solo in France

23-days Autumn Experience on my 1st Schengen Visa Escapade
October 10 to October 14, 2013 

"The person who has lived the most is not the one with the most years but the one with the richest experiences." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

 My 18th country to visit, 25th solo backpacking trip, 5th visa application for tourism on entire single page, and of course, usual budget do-it-yourself itinerary from arrival to departure. 

France (officially the French Republic) has been the world's most popular tourist destination for over twenty years (81.9 million in 2007) and it's geographically one of the most diverse countries in Europe.  From its shape, it is often referred in French as l’Hexagone ("The Hexagon") and the name "France" comes from the Latin Francia, which means "country of the Franks". France is a developed country, the wealthiest nation in Europe and 4th in the world. French citizens enjoy a high standard of living, high public education level, and one of the world's longest life expectancies. France has been listed as the world's "best overall health care" provider by the World Health Organization.
Eiffel Tower at night

Arc de Triomphe at night

Da Vinci's original Monalisa at The Louvre

This another race against time, very short backpacking researched in somehow detailed manner has a compressed itinerary designed as follows: 

October 10 Thursday:
1900H ETA Charles de Gaulle (CDG) International Airport

October 11 Friday:

Basic Words to Remember;
hello - bonsour;   thank you - merci;   I love you - je t'aime;   goodbye - Au revoir
yes/no - si/no;  sorry - Désolé(e);   please - S'il vous plaît;   excuse me - Excusez-moi!
toilet - toilette;   train station - gare;   airport - aéroport

timezone - +0100H UTC;   capital - Paris city;   language - French
currency - Euro 1EUR = 56 PHP = 1.3 USD

visa - Filipino's need to apply 1st before travel
how to apply tourist visa in France?
Strolling Marseilles

Strolling Marseilles

Lyon Gallo de Romano remains

Interesting Facts about France:
1. France is the largest European country in terms of land area after Russia and Ukraine.
2. Nearly 20% of the territory of France lies outside Europe. These regions are known as "DOM-TOM" (overseas departments and territories), where over 2.5 million French citizens live.

3. French people cheek kiss to greet each others between family and friends, even between men. "French kiss” is a term by the English as a slur on the French culture which was thought to be overly concerned with sex. In France, it’s called a tongue kiss or soul kiss.It’s illegal to kiss on railways in France.
4. French used to be the language of the nobility and diplomacy all across Europe then the world's first real international language until English replaced it in the mid-20th century. French is the official language of many countries including: Switzerland, Canada, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, Monaco, Congo and Niger. French was the official language of England for over 300 years. It’s the second most commonly taught foreign language, after English. It’s the official language of the United Nations. It’s the only language (along with English) that’s taught in every country in the world.
5. There are some 40,000 châteaux (castles, manors, palaces...) in France.
6. France is the country that has won the most Nobel prizes for literature (13 as of 2013, with the last prize going back to 2008).
7. There are over 300 kinds of cheese made in France. 

8. 81 million tourists have visited France in 2012, more than in any other country in the world, and the figures keep rising year after year. France is one of the few countries (along with Spain, Austria and Greece) where the number of annual tourists exceeds its population.
9. French TGV is the fastest train in the world, with an average speed of 263.3 km/h from station to station. It reached a record 574.8km/h on a test run in April 2007 (still unbeaten). It also detains the world record of endurance, running from Calais to Marseille (1067.2 km) in 3h29min, in 2001. 
10. The guillotine was the official method of execution during the French Revolution. It was invented by a surgeon named Dr. Guillotin.
11. Mont-Blanc is the highest peak in Europe (4,810 meters)
12. The most visited attraction in Paris isn’t the Eiffel Tower (5.5 million), or the Louvre (5 million), but Disneyland Paris at 13 million people.
13. France is home to 28 UNESCO World Heritage sites with famous inventions that include: the hot air balloon, the submarine, and the parachute.

Versailles Garden

inside Versailles Park

Saint Chapelle

Paris bridge

Charles de Gaulle (CDG) International Airport arrival at night;
My Kuwait Airways flight arrived almost an hour late, with stop-over in Rome, due to late coming of Cabin and Flight Crews. Paris CDG airport immigration officers are somehow strict. I arrived 2045H (supposedly 1955H) and immediately walked fast to immigration lane. I handed-over my passport, questioned some usuals like "what will you do in France?" and "Do you have plane ticket going back?". I showed the hard copy of my ticket bound from Rome Airport to Tel-Aviv. After around 5 minutes, I was in full smile fixing my backpack to go outside and look for the train bound to Paris City Center where my hostel was located.

Anyways, I divided this wonderful journey into different set of posts to be more specific on its content;


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