Europe trip: Day 7 (Paris Day 6)
(Note: this was written on days 10 to 12, so some details could have been forgotten)
I went to the Nora Damn (fix spelling later), which was located on the same island I was at days earlier, but at the south-eastern corner of it. I only went to the north-west, north, and south-west of the island that other day.
To get there, take the train to Citié. There is only one entrance to the station, and it's quite easy to miss due to the construction around it and not being well signed. It's one of those that you would need to have arrived there by train to know where exactly.
Citié station by itself looks like one big ventilation shaft with stairs around one end later. They look quite old, and a set of stairs that branches of it (identical to the stairs from platform and one that does lead to the exit) appeared blocked off. A look on the other side reveals that the (modern) ticket barrier is above it. The stairs is a long climb up, but fortunately there is an elevator. (No elevator from the ticket barrier to surface level though)
From there, it's a relatively straightforward way to get there as there are signs pointing to the place. Well, as well as knowing that the place is in the south-east of the island and using the compass as aid.
The Notre-Dame (?) is this big cathedral visible from far for its sheer size and design. I didn't know how old it was until I saw signs that celebrated its 850th anniversary. So, I guessing that is the year 1163? I hardly know any building older than from the 19th century besides the Osaka castle, but this is the oldest structure that isn't a ruin that I've ever stepped into!
Just on the opposite side from the south side of the island is the area known as the Latin Quarter. Its a place known for its history of being where Paris was founded centuries ago. Besides cafes, restaurants, and bars of today, there isn't really anything there for me.
From there, I headed to a place called La Défence. It's a business district at the outskirts of Paris. With so many modern office buildings that seem to have been built in the last two decades, it seems so very different from the rest of Paris with tall buildings everywhere. Paris could have become something like this if the city weren't made into a UNESCO world heritage site. Landmarks would look out of place if buildings surrounding it at the time it was erected aren't conserved too. The train station located there is underground and seems like a major station with interchange of many different lines along with some bus terminals.
It was also there where I entered the first shopping mall in France. Shops at Champs Elise are more like a collection of shops with their own building next to each other.
What isn't clear to a casual observer is how dirty the place is... For example, it's rare to find a phone booth in Paris that isn't vandalized, or there are a lot of spit marks on the floor of the bus terminal.
I wonder what other places in France are like? I heard that Paris itself is a world of its own.