Paris~ The city of love, fashion, light and romance.
Updated: Nov 4, 2021
Paris is often dubbed as the Fashion Capital of the world. Every year Paris Fashion week sets the tone for fashion trends for the world for the entire year. It is also dubbed as la Ville Lumière(The city of Light).The city of Paris itself is officially divided into 20 districts called arrondissements, numbered from 1 to 20 in a clockwise spiral from the center of the city We travelled to Paris twice, firstly because frankly, once in not enough to see all that the city has to offer. And secondly, it is cheaper to fly to Paris from India and then fly to other destinations!
Travelling to Paris:
Day 1: We flew on Kuwait airways(they have the cheapest fare) and landed at Charles De Gaulle airport after a 3 hour layover at Sharjah. After collecting our bags after immigration, we headed to the train station at the airport. We took the RER "B" train to Gare du Nord station in central Paris. The one-way trip costs €10.30 for adults. Tickets can be bought at manned counters just before entering the train stations. We then transferred to the subway using the same ticket we bought at the airport and got down at Les Moulineaux station and walked a mere hundred meters to our hotel. It offered free breakfast(the best part was you could have several types of coffee for free all through the day!!!). Since we went during the high tourist season, prices were sky high at any accommodation in central Paris. So, we booked our hotel at a 15 minutes ride away from the centre of Paris. Since, the first day we arrived quite late, after changing, we went to a local restaurant and had some pasta for dinner and while coming back we ducked inside a tiny bakery and bought the most gorgeous french pastry we ever tasted!!!
Tip: Please use the washroom before immigration, because once you come out, there are literally no toilets except one, where you have to pay 1 Euro to use.
Day 2: After gorging on hot breakfast and hot chocolate, we went to the metro station and bought a bundle of 10 tickets(called billets) from the ticket vending machine for 16.90 euros. It's economical to buy the bundle because one single ticket costs 1,90 euros. After that we took the metro to Bir-Hakeim and walked to the Eiffel tower. It was as expected hugely crowded. There was security check being done and it seemed half of India was there!!!! We bought the Ticket with access stairs - Second floor for 10.40 each and then took the stairs(it was a hard climb mind you) to the top. But the view from the top made it absolutely worthwhile. We while away some time on the top, clicking photos and then came down. It was afternoon by then, so we walked to the Latin Quarters nearby and grabbed some lunch and of course, some wine! When in France, do as the French do!!!
After visiting the Eiffel Tower, we walked to the Louvre Museum which is famous for the painting of Mona Lisa. Since both of us don't understand art in the lease, we decided not to go inside. Rather we toured the compound and the surrounding building. We sat by the fountains eating nuts(which was being sold there by an old man) and leisurely watched people scrambling to go in!!!! After spending a couple of hours here, we went to a nearby Parisian cafe run by a Bangladeshi gentleman and had Pizza with wine for dinner. Then we took the subway back to our hotel.
Day 3: Today after breakfast, we took the subway to Notre-dame des Champs station and walked a bit to see the Luxembourg Palace(Jardin du Luxembourg). The palace was closed to visitors ,but we were free to roam around the huge gardens. It is is known for its lawns, tree-lined promenades, tennis courts, flowerbeds, model sailboats on its octagonal Grand Bassin, as well as picturesque Medici Fountain, built in 1620. We spent a couple of hours roaming the grounds of this great palace and drinking some hot chocolate from a local vendor.
After spending a few hours in the palace grounds, we strolled to The Pantheon nearby. It stands in the Latin Quarter, atop the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, in the center of the Place du Panthéon. The Panthéon was reconsecrated and resecularized several times during the 19th century, serving as a church in 1828–30 and in 1851–70. Today it is a civic building that serves as a repository for the remains of great French citizens, including Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Èmile Zola, and Marie Curie.
After the Pantheon, it was time to grab something to eat. So we went to a French restaurant and got some french food(name forgotten, could eat it anyways!!! No offense to the French people anywhere). It was not our cup of tea. So we went to a Pizzeria and had a pizza with beer!!! With our bellies full, we walked to the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was as beautiful as showed in pictures. We learnt that The cathedral was consecrated to the Virgin Mary and considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. It is one of the most widely recognized symbols of the city of Paris and the French nation and a must visit when in Paris. There was a queue to enter and the inside was beautiful too.
After coming out of the cathedral, since it was already evening, we decided to walk to the Latin Quarters very near to the cathedral. Here we saw painters painting their stuff. Vendors selling rare old books. The entire place was full of people. The famous Shakespeare bookstore is was located there and we took a quick glance inside. Then we sat in one of the cafes and ordered some food and some French wine and whiled away a couple of hours here. After that we went back to our hotel.
Tip: keep your belongings close and under watch all the time as pickpocketing is quite common in Paris metro.
Day 4- Today morning we took a metro to Versailles Palace. It is located 12 miles west of Paris and comes in zone 5. So, you need to buy the appropriate ticket or you may be fined upon inspection. We did not know this and went with the zone 3 ticket. Thankfully the turnstiles were out of order and we were not caught!!!! But not everyone will be so lucky! Being the home to the Kings of France between 1662 and 1789, the Palace of Versailles is one of the most important landmarks in French history. It was also seen as a a symbol of the absolute Monarchy system. Louis XIII's old hunting pavilion was transformed and extended by his son, Louis XIV, when he installed the Court and government there in 1682. A succession of kings continued to embellish the Palace up until the French Revolution. The ticket is 27 euros per person. This ticket gives access to the whole estate of Versailles and guarantees access to the Palace within half an hour of the selected time. The tickets can be booked online at https://en.chateauversailles.fr/plan-your-visit/tickets-and-prices to avoid waiting at the queue.
After coming out of the Palace, there was drizzling rainfall. We ducked inside a Mcdonal's opposite the train station and had some food. After that we went to the train station, bought the correct ticket and went back to our apartment to change as we were wet from the rain and didn't want to fall ill. After resting a while, in the evening we took the metro to the Sacré-Cœur, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. Sacre Coeur is a double monument, political and cultural, both a national penance for the defeat of France in the 1871 Franco-Prussian War and the socialist Paris Commune of 1871 crowning its most rebellious neighborhood, and an embodiment of conservative moral order, publicly dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The nearest metro is Anvers and after that it's quite a steep walk to the cathedral. The cathedral comes alive in the evening, with musicians singing and people selling beer, smoking weed while taking in a 360 degree view of Paris from its step.
Day 5- We got up in the morning, ate large amount of breakfast and hot chocolate at the hotel and then went to see the Eiffel tower again, this time walking all the way so as to see the neighborhood of Paris. Harry Potter Fans will understand I went to see the house of Nicholas Flamel as well!!!! Sadly, it's been turned into a restaurant now. We stopped at several places and just soaked in the atmosphere of Paris the entire day.
Day 6- The next day we went out quite early to visit the Père Lachaise Cemetery and the Montparnesse Cemetery. The Père Lachaise Cemetery located in the 20th district is the largest cemetery in Paris, France . With more than 3.5 million visitors annually, it is the most visited necropolis in the world.
After visiting the cemeteries all afternoon, we walked back to pigalle metro station area to check out some of the sex shops(photography strictly prohibited) and the moulin rouge and have dinner as we were literally starving after walking around so much! Then we took the metro back to our hotel. We were dead on our feet by then.
Day7- Today was our last day in Paris. We had flight in the evening. So, in the morning we went to see the Arch De Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe was built between 1806 and 1836 — commissioned by Napoleon, who wanted to honor the victories of the French troops after the Battle of Austerlitz. Reaching almost 30 meters in height, the Arc de Triomphe is encircled by a busy, car-filled roundabout.
After this, we went back to our hotel, packed our stuff and went back to the train station to catch a train to Charles De Gaulle airport and to our next adventure!!!
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