Paris is not just a city but it’s a feeling! Paris is celebrated for its own unique charm, love, exquisiteness, hope and romanticism. The city breathes love & it will embrace you with an invincible warmth. Within a couple of days, the city can make anyone fall in love with its undying spirit: La ville des rêves – City of dreams !
I must admit the City has a strange essence to mesmerise you and make you love its vibrant, cosmopolitan feel and embrace you with its open arms. You will feel like you have travelled back to the Renaissance era.
I have visited Paris twice and I’m planning my next trip during the winter to avoid rush. My visit to this City has been on car as we came from Amsterdam (where I currently work). It is a pleasant drive of around 500 Kms from Amsterdam Central. I have never travelled in a Eurostar train, but you can definitely plan a train ride as it is one of the best way for Europe Trip.
You can book any hotel as per your budget or if you want a room with a view, it might be a pocket pinch. Undoubtedly Paris needs to be visited during European Summer. The Sun kissed Eiffel will make you fall in love with it all over all over again. Unlike other European cities, Paris is a bit more chaotic.
Day Trips –
The basic mantra of a travel is when you are a tourist, act like one! Bus & train facilities are the easiest and affordable options.
Day Tour Bus – Hop On Hop Off Bus (BIGBUS PARIS) which is unarguably the best option to visit all attractions (https://www.bigbustours.com/en/paris/paris-bus-tours/) .Tickets available based on the routes, starting from 35 EUROS and all tours are accompanied with Pre-recorded English commentary. I recommend buying a pass for the number of days you’ll be there. There are some things in Paris that you MUST do, I have tried my best to share my experiences so that you can plan a quick a trip.
Where to Stay –
As I stayed at B&B Hotels (http://www.hotel-bb.com/en/hotels/city/paris.htm) as it was a cheap, decent option with a car parking facility.
Tariff – EURO 70 per day
Parking -8 EURO per day
In case you are on a road trip and prefer staying in Hotel closer to the City Centre , parking might be costlier than your hotel tariff. During my first trip to Paris, I stayed in a hotel close by the Eiffel Tower.
Hotel – Eiffel Hôtel De La Perdrix Rouge (http://www.hotel-perdrixrouge-paris.com/en/)
Tariff – EURO 118 per day (No Parking available)
Central parking – EURO 85 for two days ( tariff is based on number of hours)
N.B- Hotel Stay wasn’t great, the rooms were extremely small compared to the pictures.
Day 1 – Exploring Paris!!
Without a second thought I decided to visit the Eiffel Tower post breakfast.
Post breakfast from the B&B Hotels, it was a 20 Mins drive to my dream. Uber services Cabs is extremely fast and cheap. I took one to reach the Eiffel, I pinched myself and realised I was not daydreaming, but it was really the majestic Eiffel stood in front of me. I decided not to go up the tower because of the long queue. A cup of coffee and classic morning view is the best time to visit Eiffel as it is less crowded. You can either view this eternal beauty right from the front or you can cross the bridge and grab a view from the famous Trocadéro Garden. It is usually super crowded during nights when people usually gather to see the Eiffel decorated and sparkle!
After grabbing a few ice creams and pastries by the Eiffel, I started for the Grand Palais. It is one of loveliest architecture I have ever seen. While your visit to Grand Palais will leave you spellbound, on the opposite of the road lies the Petit Palais which will leave you mesmerised. These buildings are a living testament to the breathtaking French architecture.
Roaming around the streets of Paris is magic and it will give you a quintessence of true European culture. Adding to its own perfection is the Seine River which glows during the night with the reflections from all these lit up historical monuments. You can opt for the Seine River Cruise (https://www.seine-cruises.com/) for the magical journey. Prices starts from EURO 40 onwards which includes dinner in Cruise along with sightseeing.
‘Beauté totale’!! i.e utter beauty , I don’t have enough words in vocabulary to describe the glowing & lit up Iron Lady. But wait, it’s starting to twinkle and I bet it will engrave itself in your memories. The show continues till 1 AM but we stayed up to 10 PM. It lasts for 5 Mins. It is worth every second of it. Take a blanket, snacks and a bottle of wine & be prepared for the show to begin. My first day in Paris was totally worth the hype when I enjoyed the night in front of Eiffel.
Day 2 – Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum) !!
The Louvre Museum, like Paris has a vibrancy and love like no other place on earth. You simply cannot miss this glorifying proof of this city’s pure art and history. It is the largest museum in the world & it stands as beautiful as inside as it is from outside. You can never be disappointed when you see this magnificent museum but you will definitely be tired. The main thumb rule of visiting Louvre is never attempt to see the entire museum in a single day. It is not humanly possible to cover the museum if you admire the wonderful pieces of art. It might be tempting to cover most of it but eventually you will end up running instead of seeing these beautiful sculptures. You can buy tickets online if you want to skip the ticket queue. Always take a map when you enter the museum and start the trip wing wise which will help you to cover the maximum part of museum in a systematic manner.
The main problem which I faced like all other non-French speaking tourists is, most of the explanations are only provided in French. If you’re really into knowing everything about what you see, consider an audio guide. Please carry water as you will be walking really long in this museum tour. As you roam around this palace, you will have a notion that even the most ordinary architecture this is extraordinary place is mesmerising & out of the world. Check out the official Louvre page for opening hours and holidays. Usual timings to visit this place is 9 AM to 6 AM . Tickets are EURO 15 per head, you can also book the tickets online (recommended). There is also a free admission on first Saturdays (October – March).
The Museum can be a bit tricky if you don’t follow the map. Basically it is divided into Denon, Richelieu and Sully. There are 4 floors in each wings, please plan based on your priority. Based on my own experience,I wanted to visit the Denon and Richelieu wings like all other tourists. These wings attracts maximum number of tourists because of the famous Monna Lisa, although for me it was definitely overhyped, each and every art of this building says a story and will make you relive these times. The Denon Wing mostly comprises European paintings & French architectures and Roman antiquities. Another must see is the first floor galleries of the Richelieu wings which consists of Napoleon’s III apartments which have an endless collection of exquisite ceramics, furniture & jewellery.
We were mainly hunting Monalisa and other pieces of arts in the same wing and we eventually got lost circling the same wing thrice. No matter even if you are lost as each and every bit of this museum is worth its existence. You might be tired after spending the entire day walking through Louvre but when you get out, there is a beautiful shopping mall connected to the museum “Carrousel du Louvre” . Being a genuine perfume lover and shopaholic by nature , I took a cold mocha from the Starbucks and started for the Carousel tour. Trust me if you love shopping, this is the place to be! Special mention, mostly all perfume brands have special Paris edition which are duty free as well.
Another place in my checklist was the Notre-Dame Cathedral. It was extremely crowded and had a huge queue so I kept it for my next time in this city of love. My knowledge was limited to only Disney’s Hunchback of Notre-Dame, but prior to my Paris trip I referred quite a few blogs about this wonderful church located by the side of the river Seine. The pictures and description made this place look divine and serene to me as I have studied from a Catholic School and have visited the St Paul Cathedral (http://kolkatacitytours.com/st-pauls-cathedral-kolkata/) on multiple occasions in my home town. This place reminded me of my childhood. I plan to spend at least a week in Paris next time so that I have time to visit all the historical testaments.
If you google, you will find multiple historical palaces & gardens which you can visit during your stay. At least 4-5 days should be planned for this city if you want to cover the maximum number of places of interest.
Special mentions –
- You can enjoy the view of the city sitting at any road-side café while sipping a cup of coffee. I suggest you should try the macaroons & the world famous handmade Croissants is an ultimate indulgence. People often think of France when they hear of croissant (due to French pronunciation), but Austria is the true country of birth for this famous pastry. It has originated from Vienna not Paris .
- Walk down by the side of river Seine, you will find a lot artists painting by the roadside and multiple souvenir shops.
- Roam around the city during night when all the statues and memorials lit up, it will give you a undefined mesmerising view of this city.
I hope this blog will be helpful for you if you are planning a Paris trip in the near future. ‘Paris is not a city, it’s a world’
Works in IT for livelihood & loves to travel.