THE JOURNEY BEGINS TO FIND THE TRAVELLER WITHIN ME
It all started when we planned our first trip after moving to England.
Being born in India, travelling to Europe was always a fascinating thought.
And planning that first trip to the most romantic city in the world….PARIS…..I was full of excitement. I had butterflies in my stomach imagining myself visiting The Eiffel Tower.
It was the trip planned most religiously being the first ever on our own – going through various websites gathering as much information possible. So finally planned it for 3N4D.
Month of visit – May
Best way to reach
First and foremost was sorting how to be there- by plane or train?
I am a huge Bollywood fan and after watching DDLJ the idea of travelling by EuroStar was stuck somewhere in the mind.
So booked our Eurostar return tickets. I believe it was one of the best decisions –
• It gets straight into the city as compared to the airport which are in the outskirts of the city.
• No limitation on luggage weight.
• We could carry liquids as well.
• No long immigration queues.
• A very comfortable two hours journey with spacious seats which could be reserved well in advance.
Accomodation – AirBnB self catering apartment
We reached our AirBnB(self-catering) apartment in the late afternoon where we had our lunch and then rested for about two hours…well it was actually us trying to take nap and our daughter….you know how toddlers can be. That being said as our apartment was about 20-25 mins walk from Arc de Triomphe, we decided to take a walk to soak in the atmosphere of the city. It was drizzling a little but was not too cold. It was a nice stroll and here we were at the beautiful Arc de Triomphe. It strikingly resembles the India Gate in New Delhi, India. We decided to take closer look at the arch and realised it interestingly share some similar facts with India Gate. Both honour the war martyrs and beneath their arches is an eternal flame which marks the Tomb of unknown soldier & on the wall inscribed are the names of the soldiers who sacrificed their life.
It looked like a very busy city with a lot of two wheelers around but being from Delhi, India we were used to it.
After few clicks at the The Arc de Triomphe we decided to head further to the Concord Square via Champ de Élysées, the hot-spot of high fashion with lovely cafes. It was quite busy street.
By the time we reached the Concorde Square, my little munchkin was up and astonished to see such a big wheel (ferris wheel) as well as all the lights around her.
We walked further towards the Pont de la Concorde bridge and what a fantastic view of river Seine it was😍. If you want can take a cruise tour of river Seine.
After spending some time around the bridge decided to head back home for dinner and prep up for next long day.
Oh! By the way I forgot to mention the very famous The Lido – an iconic cabaret on Champs-Elysees. I would suggest to book your tickets well in advance.
I was so looking forward to this day.
Morning begin with visit to the world’s greatest art museum –The Louvre, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. We bought the tickets well in advance for the morning time slot and we are glad we did.
A great piece of advice for the families with pushchair that you will have priority entry to all the major attractions in Paris which means free Skip the Line.
After the quick entry, we spent about 2-3 hours which were still not enough to cover all the exhibits in the museum.
Tired of walking we took a break at Tuileries Garden, stretching between the Louvre Museum and the Concord Square, where we had our picnic lunch. My daughter just loved crawling on the grass and had a great time playing around.
Next up was Notre-Dame Cathedral which was on the other side of the river Seine. We stopped at Pont des Arts bridge famously know as love lock bridge which offers the stunning views of Seine. We thought the love locks were removed back in 2015 as they were damaging the bridge but look what we see….at the end of the bridge were some padlocks.
Here we are at the most iconic church in the world. It did had a long queue but was moving quick. My innocent a year old daughter did recognise it as worshiping place after seeing so many candles lite in the church calling it ‘Jai Jai’ (which we refer to her as when worshiping God).
There are a lot of cafes around here where you can grab a bite with tea or coffee.
Just to say til now we were wayfaring on foot until for our next stop the Landmark of Paris – The Eiffel Tower we took the RER which took us about 20-30 mins to reach.
As soon as I got that first glimpse I was in total awe. The memory is still very fresh in my mind…..standing beneath the iconic monument about which I have read only in the books until this trip happened. It is indeed the most romantic spot in the Paris.
The view up there was amazing! You can see all of Paris.
We had bought our tickets well in advance to catch the night view of the most romantic city in the world. As it was May the days were longer, it started to get darker around 9o’clock.
After the long and tiring day sight-seeing we head back to apartment.
This day came out to be surprisingly awesome!!!
We had plans of going to Versailles Garden and spent the day there. But don’t know what changed that decision of ours – may be we wanted to see more of just Paris. My hubby asked, ‘Archana what else can we see besides Versailles’. I turned to him saying there is a church namely Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris located in Montmartre which sounds interesting as is in entirely different part of the city(North). We decided to give it a go and next thing we know were on the Metro to Montmartre. And I am so so glad we did.
On reaching we realised the majestic white church was on the top of the Montmartre hill. It offers one of the fantastic views of Paris, entirely different from what you have seen from Eiffel Tower.
From here we took the funicular(used the same ticket as was valid for 2 hours) which took us to the bottom of the hill. And what we see!!! The mesmerizing view of the church.
Here is our lovely chasing the pigeons….it might have been fun for her but for us….backpain….hahaha….I know many of you can relate.
There are many shops and cafes around the streets of Montmartre.
From here we took the Metro to Centre Pompidou – the modern art museum with a very hightech architecture.
As this was an unplanned visit, looking at the long line for the ticket we decided to give it a skip for next time. We were literally making a list of places to visit when again in Paris.
We continued to stroll around the square which had alot of entertainment to offer.
My daughter was so surprised looking at the huge bubbles and even enjoyed the music played there. And we were equally amused not about the huge bubbles but about the drum like musical instrument(which now I know is called Hand Pan), haven’t seen a anything like this before. It was so melodious.
After exploring this part we further head towards the Pantheon.
This was just a picture stop for us.
And further wayfaring we reached the enchanting Luxembourg Gardens. Let me be honest here after walking for so long we were really tired but but but……..
…….the absolute gorgeous view of the garden with the comfy seating everywhere and the hot coffee to sip was so relaxing.
Well that was just not it, this band playing lovely music was cherry on the cake. We spent a good time in the garden and then head back to the the apartment after having dinner at a Pizzeria at Champ de Élysées.
This is something intruiguing that caught my attention – all the restaurants with the outside seating has chairs facing the street. I think it is a great way to talk about the city while watching the world go by. It is like you are watching a tele show- very interesting concept by the French.
It was the day to go back home. We had the afternoon train to London so after checking out of the apartment started out for the Paris main station – Gare Du Nord.
We bid adieu to Paris with a promise to come back.
Now It’s Time for some TRAVEL TIPS
- ‘t+’ ticket – We purchased a pack of 10 tickets also called ‘t+’ ticket (Carnet de 10) which as of today costs 16.40€.
- Each ticket can be used per person for metro/RER travel valid for 2 hours and for bus/tram valid for 90 minutes.
- Children under the age of 4 can travel for free.
- It is only valid for RER travel in Zone 1.
- Best if you are going to explore the city only and planning to use public transport once or twice in a day like us.
- Paris Visit Pass – It allows unlimited travel on the bus, metro, tramway and RER networks in Paris and its suburbs.
- The Paris Visit pass is valid for 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive days and it is valid according the option purchased :
- In zones 1 to 3 : travels in Paris and the close suburbs
- In zones 1 to 5 : travels in Paris, the close suburbs & until Orly/CDG airports, Disneyland and Versailles
- Each day begins at 05:30 and ends at 05:30 the following day.
- It is perfect for those who want to visit Disneyland and are flying into the city.
2. Entry to the most of the attractions in Paris provide proirity access for parents with children on buggy which means free Skip the Line.
3. But when the attractions are Buggy friendly unfortunately not are most of the Metro station. So we had to carry the pushchair down the stairs a couple of times. So a piece of advice please try to use lightweight strollers when on a holiday.
4. If possible buy tickets to most of the attractions especially the popular ones well in advance to avoid wasting time standing in the long queues. You might not find the long lines depending on the time and day of the visit.
5. We bought tickets through the official websites of the attractions.
6. You can buy online tickets for Eiffel tower till second floor only and for the top- tickets can be purchased from the second floor ticket window.
7. Wear comfortable footwear all the time, no matter if you are using the public transport often still will have to walk alot.
If there is any place I should add to my list to visit for next time in Paris, please comment below.
I will be soon back with my next blog till then enjoy the precious little moments today to make tomorrow’s beautiful memories.