Paris is a fabulous city. Beautiful and elegant. I absolutely loved the time I spent here. It was the third place I visited and unfortunately those amateur traveller mistakes were made throughout our visit.
We spent the first day of Paris trying to find a market in Le Marais (the area we stayed in). We couldn’t find it. I was so flustered and excited to see Paris we quickly moved on to our more pressing tourist needs. We visited the Arc de Triomphe, what a marvel. The roundabout it sits on looked absolutely crazy! We were trying to figure out how to get across, whilst posing for pictures, and finally realised that there is an underground tunnel. We ventured, afterward, down the Champs Elysees, stopping to visit Louis Vuitton – because I shop there on a weekly basis – and other stores. It was unfortunate that, due to the time of year, the photos we collected aren’t brilliant, it was very grey, not very green and cold. (Mistake #1, always visit when sunny!).
After venturing down the Champs Elysees, stumbling upon, but stupidly not realising, the Tuileries Garden we purchased crepes! Sooo, good! especially when its cold and damp. We hopped on the Metro to Le Tour Eiffel but couldn’t find it when we came up. (Mistake # 2 – when visiting cities walk everywhere!) Le Tour Eiffel is one of my biggest mistakes of the trip. We did not visit the park nearby, we didn’t catch the lift, we walked (I am afraid of heights and it was wet and windy so I seriously thought I was going to die) up to the first floor, it was miserable so we couldn’t see very far, the view wasn’t particularly spectacular.
I am not going to waste many words on the next activity. We visited Sacre Coeur. This place was totally wasted on me. I am not religious. This place was difficult to find on a cold morning. We went two stops too far on the metro. I think me and this place just had a bad time together. I also had really bad hair, oh wait that was the whole of the trip – disaster! (mistake #3 always bring a comb and enough conditioner for your hair! Conditioner is so expensive in Paris!) The place is up the small narrow streets from the metro, and, it is full of tourist trap stores. There is a particularly bad chocolatier, don’t visit, no matter how good the chocolate looks – it tastes atrocious! There are African (I think African) men that wait for the tourists near the bottom of the Basillica and attempt to place things on your hand, then make you pay to remove them (so I have been told). I did not even look in their direction. So did not enter into having rope tied around my hand; Sometimes walking with a purpose has its benefits. The place is beautiful, the streets cute, but because it was the morning not many of the restaurants were open. I have no more words for this place. With reflection I really am realising what I want out of travel, it is not checking off the tourist places that I don’t relate to.
Luckily, our second day in Paris was not a complete waste. After this we visited the City of Science and Industry. Wow. What. A. Place. I did not expect much from this place in all honesty. My thoughts were ‘Yay another museum’ (sarcasm intended), ‘this is going to be boring’ – But this place was so much more that just a museum. I implore all who visit Paris to visit.
Day three and four.
We spent these two days visiting the Louvre, The Tuileries garden and a modern art museum. All very interesting. The Louvre was very busy and the queues are horrific. We, stealthily, skipped the queue for the bag check and went through the exit because something happened to someone and security’s attention was pulled towards the person. All the museums and attractions are free, or discounted for people under the age of 25 I believe, maybe 26. That is always a help. I didn’t enjoy the Louvre as much as I could have purely because of how busy it was. I would suggest people go as early as possible.
The Tuileries were beautiful but busy, again. The sunshine managed to come out but it was still cold. We rested here after fighting through tourists in the Louvre. It is beautiful, but not as beautiful as La Jardin de Luxembourg (say it with a French accent). The art museum was also brilliant, however, my feet hurt so bad after all the walking we had done, and I was so tired, it was slightly ruined.
Disneyland Paris. Yes, why ever not?
Unfortunately, due to time constraints, it had been either Disneyland, or la Chateau de Versailles. I wish we would have visited Versailles. (Mistake #4). But we are visiting Paris again and can if we have time. Versailles has always been somewhere I would love to visit, especially since I studied the French Revolution at A-Level. I love history.
Day five – the finale.
We had a lot to accomplish in this day, and luckily our flight didn’t leave until 7pm. We walked down from Le Marais to Le Bastille, the statue for where the Bastille Prison, which came down in the French Revolution, resided. From there we hopped on the Metro to Notredame, the Pantheon, Jardin de Luxembourg and finished on Canal St Martin. The places we visited were beautiful. My particular favourite was Jardin de Luxembourg. The weather was warm, we had picnics and just enjoyed Paris. I feel as though this day was our favourite of the whole trip (probably the weather affected this to be honest).
A few tips and things I would do differently.
Well I am visiting Paris again for two days at the beginning of September. I will not be purchasing a metro card this time. They charge extra for tourist metro cards, something like 30 – 40 euro. For Parisians, or French speaking people I guess, it is 20 something euros. Query it, because we didn’t and should have. I would walk every where. Ensure I have the right toiletries and for those of you who may be visiting – book your accommodation as early as possible!! We have our accom booked, and it has been booked for maybe three weeks now, since we purchased our tickets to Montreal. Last time we left it and ended up paying £80 something a night for a tiny apartment, with a bad smell that gave me a headache. I will not, in future, as I said in my Marrakech post be visiting places that do not interest me. I will be doing a post on planning Paris, and Canada in the near future.
I hope this helped,