When I was learning French for 2 years in school, I never imagined I would go to France some day. Hearing the French talk is like someone singing a beautiful song into your ears. A wonderful break from the xch and shaksh of the Germans. Here I go with a write up to tell you about some places I loved in Paris, with some tips of course 🙂
Paris is just 3 hours away from Stuttgart – the city I live in, by train. The TGV – claimed to be one of the fasted trains in the world – gives you an awesome experience. Landing in Paris, we did what we always do- take a city tour.
Best time to go up the Eiffel tower
Thanks to my husband for this plan. We made the best of our Eiffel tower trip. BOOK YOUR TICKET IN ADVANCE !! This is very important. Based on the time of the year you are visiting, the timing will vary. Check the sunset predictions online. We went in march and the sunset was around 6 pm. We reached the tower by 4.45, took some pictures in the daylight and went up the tower by 5. No waiting in the queue. We reached the lift in just 5 mins.
The tower has three stages and you can stop at every stage to have a beautiful view of the city. There is no exit time. You can choose to be on any stage for how much ever time you want. After a break and some pics at the first stage, we reached the second stage to watch the sunset. Really glorious 🙂
Then we moved to the top floor.. Oh wow. What a beautiful sight of Paris at night. Stunningly beautiful. While coming down, we stopped at the cafe on the first floor to ”Dine in style on the Eiffel tower :-)” The rates are normal (unlike India where a packet of Lays can vary anywhere between Rs.10 to Rs.100 depending on where you buy it !!) We reached down by 6.55 pm, just on time to see the lights being turned on. Nice time for a loud oooooohhhhhh and a great video.
Do not miss the boat ride just outside the Eiffel tower. My mom saw this on a TV show and suggested this to me. Thanks ma 🙂 this is indeed the best boat ride I have taken in Europe so far. The ride is best taken at night, when all the monuments are beautifully lit up. A good way to see the city through a different eye B-)
Monalisa – when is the best time to see her??
The prized and privileged possession of the French – the Monalisa is the Louvre museum. For an art person like me, one whole day is not enough at this museum. I saw some students attending art class inside the Louvre and went mad to the extent of wanting to resign my job and enrolling in that course !!
However if you are a Da Vinci Code fan or just want a selfie with Monalisa, 3 hours is a decent time to look around the museum. The Louvre museum has ”Night opening until 9:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays” and people less than 26 years are given free entry after 6 p.m on these days. Many tourists do not know this. This means – less crowd. Set your mobile alarm to 9 p.m and at 9 p.m run to the Monalisa. So less crowd, we hardly had 10 people in the room at that time. You can click as you like.. Because generally this room has no less than 200 people and you will never have only you and her alone in a pic. So this is a bingo plan B-)
La Chappel – Tamil settlement
Your go-to place for Indian food. You will be amazed to see the Srilankan Tamil settlement here. You feel as if you are suddenly transported to Mylapore, sans Maamis 😉 , with all the Tamil sign boards and shops. Lot of yummy Indian restaurants here. Cost effective too. We experimented Lankan food and I fell in love with Ceylon dosa.
After more than 15 countries, numerous castles and palaces later- the word PALACE, and I am reminded of Versailles. Completely studded with gold in every possible place, beautiful art works from around the world, oh what a live the king has lived. The Louvre was the King’s original palace. He woke up one fine day and was like – Hmmm.. This is not so good. Get me a bigger palace. 😛 And thus sprang the Versailles. Bang ! We did a guided tour organised by the palace authorities. It is a good way to skip queues and they take you to some places which otherwise do not have public access. That includes the Opera house in which Laxmi Mittal’s daugther’s wedding reception was held. You must be REALLY influential to get that happen. Our guide told us that they were proud a millionaire chose to hold his daughter’s wedding in Paris – it seems there were celebrations in various locations in Paris and luxury cars moving all around the city. Wow !!
We took the small train to the gardens and the Mary Antoinette’s house – which is a fairy land reconstructed. The train helps you move around very easily, giving breaks at each halt as per your convenience. The beautiful statues in the garden and the river flowing down are amazing beauties.
A walk tour in this area is not to be missed if you are an art lover. Tracing the route of the famous artists of the world, seeing where they lived and sold their paintings, and ending the tour at the artists’ square – half day well spent. I was so moved at the artists square. So many people sitting and painting.. so many wonderful sketches.. so many styles of paintings.. Amazing !! But all these artists were typically painting famous monuments of Paris. May be each one here had a dream of making it big.. But today, all they do, is paint the Eiffel tower or Sacré-Cœur, to make a few euros for living.. 😦
Lock of Love
Do not waste money in buying a lock of love and locking it on the bridge. They remove the railings with the locks once in few months and melt them down. Your lock of love wont stay there for long. Plus the metallic keys are polluting aquatic life in the river below. So pls 🙂
This attracts highest number of tourists in Paris. We wanted to do this in a better weather and get another view of Eiffel tower 😉 I heard from friends that the Parade of the cartoon characters is a wonderful scene to watch. Hoping to witness it this year..
Well all said and done about this beautiful city, there are a lot of illegal immigrants here. They target tourists all the time.
There is gambling all over the city. Never ever go near them even if they say it is free of cost or just for fun. These are the pick pocket hubs. They either pick your pocket or they cheat you in the game. Just pretend that they don’t exist. I went and stood like a silly kid to see the gambling and we were surrounded by their aids immediately. My husband quickly opened his empty purse and asked them if we can play for free 😛 they let us go in a jiffy 🙂
When you go to Sacré-Cœur, , there are a group of men who literally block the way and try to catch your hand to tie a crazy thread and take money from you. Just walk with locked hands. Pretend that they don’t exist.
Keep your passports and money very safe – in your jackets. Never in your bags or pant
Tickets and Travelling around the city
TGV train is the best way to reach Paris from within Europe. Keep your eyes open for deals in the TGV site.
Paris is well connect by the metro trains. Buy the strip type of ticket. Normal ticket is 1.80 euros per ticket. But you can get 10 tickets in a single strip for 14 euros. Its much cheaper. Except Versailles Palace, most of the places can be covered in this ticket. It is only the entry that counts. Same ticket rate for all distances. So plan accordingly.
Paris is a very beautiful city. Worth adding to your bucket list. The mesmerizing effect of the Eiffel tower is sure to stay in your hearts for ever 🙂