One of the most talked about cities in the world is Paris. Books, travel magazines, movies and even the internet have bombarded you with various images and stories of Paris. Nothing however, prepares you for the real thing. One would imagine it’s an over kill but the minute you step into this gorgeous city, you will fall in love. This year for my birthday I wanted nothing more than to be in this magical city. What do you know ? Two days after my birthday I landed up in Paris! I didn’t have a lot of time in the city unfortunately just two days but I tried to make the most of it. I walked everywhere, ate, shopped, went to museums and had the most beautiful time there. This post is all about what I did in those lovely 48 hours. It’s not even scratching the surface of what Paris has to offer but it’s a start. It only means that I have to revisit again and again… and again, to really get to know Paris but I have a feeling we’ll be great friends. If you have the luxury of spending a week in the city, message me and tell me all about what you managed to do. If you’re pressed for time like I was, this post might just help.
Hop On Hop Off Bus At Night – This infamous ‘ touristy’ thing is something most travelers scoff at but I love it. There is nothing I enjoy more than taking a bus ride all over a new city. It helps me understand the roads and areas better. The bus also gives you headphones with a steady commentary on area or monuments you pass. It gives you an insight into the city, at least a small bit. This particular bus ride was at night where you get to see the entire city lit up. Nothing prepared me for how gorgeous Paris is at night. I mean breathtakingly gorgeous. You start by watching the Eiffel Tower suddenly light up, drive through the Champs Elysees, The Arc De Triumph, the Louvre, The Moulin Rouge and many more.
Eat A Crepe On The Road – One of my all time favourite things to eat is a crepe. We Parsis have a similar snack we call Chapat which I adore but it is basically a sweet crepe. Sadly Mumbai does rubbish crepes and most of the time they are pancakes. The odd crepe suzette at the Willingdon Club is the only way I get to indulge unless I make them at home. I can’t begin to explain the sheer joy I felt every time I saw a little cart or stall dishing out crepes. They eat it like we eat vada pao. I always pick a sweet crepe and usually with caramel in it. Oh the joy !! THE JOY !!!! Sigh…
Visit The Notre Dame – For me this was very personal. My earliest memory of learning about the Notre Dame cathedral is in the 8th standard when my darling principal taught us about Art and European history. If any of you reading this are from J. B Petit then you know I thought of Ms Darasha showing me slides and pictures in our classroom talking about the Notre Dame and her beautiful flying buttresses. It really is a marvelous piece of architecture and you must not miss it.
Walk Around – I can’t help but add this silly but important travel tip. There is nothing like walking around a European city and just taking in all the sights and sounds. Parisian streets are pretty and full of life. Walk around and explore neighbourhoods, pop into local shops and restaurants, pretend like you live here and it’s just another day walking around. There is more you will see on your own than on any guided tour.
Visit The Eiffel Tower And Go To The Top – Without a doubt you can’t miss visiting the Eiffel Tower. Whatever you think it is something worth visiting in person. There are many gardens around which are ideal for a quick picnic and to enjoy the view. You can even go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and enjoy the view. I skipped that part because I had very little time and didn’t want to wait in long lines. I would however suggest you get a glimpse of the tower both in the day and at night. My favourite is at night 🙂
Top Of The Arc De Triumph For The Perfect View – While everyone wants beautiful aerial shots of the city, the best spot to get them from it the top of the Arc de Triumph. Once again I skipped going on top but had a wonderful time below and had my very own photo shoot at the Arc.
Eat A Coq Monsieur – I’m all about trying the local cuisine but sometimes its not so easy. I missed out on so much, French Onion Soup, Duck a whole lot really. I made it a point to indulge in most commonly made dish, their ham and cheese sandwich they call Coq Monsieur. Mind you if there is an egg added it becomes a Coq Madame which is equally tasty. All you need is this heavy sandwich and it will fill you up !
Walk Around Montmartre – This is a beautiful part of Paris but it’s almost like a village away from the city. Stroll about and you’ll see adorable shops, bakeries, cafes, street artists and entertainers. Many famous artists including Salvador Dali have lived in Montmartre and it’s almost known for its art culture. Pockets in this village tend to get very crowded with lots of tourists but spend enough time walking around and you can escape the crowd and enjoy it.
Visit The Sacre Coeur & Sit On The Gardens – The most famous monument in Montmartre is of the Basilica of hearts the Sacre Coeur. You can go inside which is gorgeous or sit around and enjoy the view. Since this is on a hill you get a gorgeous view of the city. There are gardens around where you can sit and have a small picnic or just laze and watch people go by.
Visit The Louvre – While most people would consider this to be a waste of time claiming they don’t like museums or history, this is not something one should miss. Without a doubt it is one of the most beautiful places in the city and even if you don’t want to go inside ( you really should ) you can spend some time outside posing with the pyramids or taking a stroll through what use to be the palace grounds. The Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world and houses incredible artwork which can take days to properly admire. The Louvre was originally the palace of Louis XIV who left it to make Versailles his home. It was used to store all his royal artworks. A word of advice, buy your ticket online to stand in a ( relatively ) shorter line so you can enter quickly. You can book your tickets here.
Stay At – While everyone has their own recommendations and most people opt for AirBnB options because let’s be honest this is an expensive city. I stayed in a hostel which was slightly fancy. The Generator Hostel in Paris is ideal and while I never stay in hostels, this one I would go back to in a heartbeat. For more details check their website
Travel By – Don’t even try with taxis unless you have money to burn. Just walk about the place or take a bus or subway train. They are very easy to use and extremely accessible. Paris encourages you to use public transport though please be careful on the train, there are tons of pick pockets and thieves. Just be alert and don’t leave anything unattended.
Disclaimer : This was part of a fabulous trip I went on with Cox and Kings India and G adventures. For more details about my trip and the route you can check this website. If you have any questions regarding the trip feel free to get in touch with me 🙂