Paris is another destination that is easily accessible from Swiss. It takes roughly 3 hrs by train from Basel. The Eiffel tower is a must visit by day and by night but be extra careful of your wallets as the place is a center of pick pockets. People will come to you for surveys but these are mostly tactful pick-pockets trying to distract you from your wallets. The Louvre museum is another place where one can go for a day-visit and still not see everything there. A walk through the streets of Champs-Élysées, a ride on the hop-on-hop-off bus and trying the amazing food are some of the activities that can keep you busy at Paris. If you do go to Paris, I would recommend not to miss a trip to Disney Land!
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This is the most posh district and shopping here is pretty much impossible. You buy one thing and there goes your month's paycheck. All we saw was Jimmy Choo, Roberto Cavalli, Dior, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent and fifty thousand other European designers I have never heard of. I wouldn't be surprised if each of these Roberto Cavalli dressed cost 20 grand a pop
Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur)
Because of the magnificent views that it provides, the Sacré Coeur Basilica draws more yearly visitors than even the iconic Eiffel Tower. If you’ve got time, it’s definitely worth exploring the interior of the church as well. The church features one of the largest mosaics in the world, and the domes are just as impressive seen from the inside. It’s also possible to climb to the top of the central dome, from which you’ll have an even better view of Paris and also of the Eiffel Tower.
Enjoy the exquisite art collection at Musée d'OrsayThe Musée d'Orsay used to be an old train station built in the 1900s. Today it is a museum that houses exquisite French masterpieces by the likes of Courbet, Monet, Van Gogh, Manet Seurat, Matisse and Degas. In addition to the artwork, you find temporary and permanent collections of sculptures, furniture and photography. And when you need to take a break, admire the opulent building located smack next to the Left Bank of the Seine and capture beautiful views of Paris with your camera.
Montmarte was the third destination for us, we reached there using the local metro and then from the station it was a 10 minutes walk past the local market where you can shop for souvenir and gifts for people back home. Remember since the economy of Paris is not so great shopkeepers bargain and you can get things like magnets or small Eiffel Tower's and other gifting items at throw away prices, please buy and dont wait for going some other place.
Pont Alexandre III
Walk out of the Champs elysee station, take right and you would find the above two museums. Walk straight and you come across this magnanimous bridge Pont Alexandre III on river seine. The Eiffel tower can be seen from here too. We walked past the bridge and on the other side found this beautiful boat restaurant where we sat for lunch. The food is okay but the ambience is amazing.
Get a whiff of the famous cabaret at Le Moulin RougeThe Moulin Rouge is the oldest, biggest and most sophisticated cabaret in Paris. Originally established in 1889 as a house for the performance of can-can dance, today it is a tourist attraction that offers cabaret dance entertainment and women dressed in grand feather headpieces. The glitz and glamour, however, comes at a steep price. The cheapest tickets are for €95, which are only for the show with no drinks or dinner. But with only 2-days to see Paris, you should postpone seeing a show for your next visit. This time, stick to enjoying the red windmill installed on the iconic building and taking pictures.
On the last day of the vacation - we saw people running half marathon on a sunny sunny day. We stayed at Le Marais for 4 days and it was a lovely location although you may not find something spacious if you are looking for cheap accommodation in the heart of the city. It's manageable - the place tightly accommodated 3 of us - Airbnb again
La Défense is a major business district of Paris and quite unlikely to be an attraction for the typical tourist. I, on the other hand, was so intrigued by the area that I spent an entire afternoon there. A stark contrast to the historic buildings in central Paris, the modern architecture at La Défense was surprisingly a breath of fresh air to me. At the heart of La Défense is the iconic La Grande Arche de la Défense. Designed by Danish architect Johan Otto von Spreckelsen, the striking 110-metre tall building resembles a cube with a hole in the middle. It was built in the late 1980s, supposedly to be a 20th century version of the Arc de Triomphe. I was in awe of the Grande Arche. I couldn’t stop looking at it. That sort of explains why I spent such a long time at La Défense.
Pont des Invalides
14. Les Invalides Les Invalides, which is the gorgeous domed building that used to be the military hospital but now houses Napoleon’s Tomb (skip going in). That is all really close to Champs de Mars, the park that runs under Eiffel Tower. Really nice and pretty area., with great restaurants also hidden throughout. (Image credit: Pantchoa)
Day 2 :- Second day post breakfast at the hostel we planned to visit the city's most visited tourist spots starting from The Louvre Museum one of the worlds most visited museums. It is again connected to metro station and once you get down at the station you can enter the museum from down. You can get tickets from the store and enter the museum. If you are an art lover and love history would suggest you to buy audio guide system as well, it will help you. The audio guide will tell you things about the room you enter in detail and is wonderful to know. Do not forget the great "Mona lisa" painting which is the main attraction apart from other paintings and art-effects. We entered the museum around 10.30 am and were there till 1.00 pm since my wife loves art and history. Its worth the time spent and if you have the luxury spend a day at the museum. Please remember any time of the year there is a queue to get in the museum ranging from minimum an hour to two hours, we were very lucky to enter from the metro station and get direct access to the museum without any queue. Please try and plan to visit first thing in the morning, preferably be there by 9 am to avoid the crowd.
Get your shopping fix at the Galeries Lafayette department storeThe largest departmental store in Paris, the 120-year-old Galeries Lafayette will impress you not just with its 3500 brands and the 3,500 square metre lingerie department, but also with its gorgeous history and design seen in the Neo-byzantine style stain glass windows and the dome roof. Head to the welcome desk, and get your hands on a map to guide you to the various stores on its seven floors. If you are here during spring or fall, don't miss the fashion shows at 3 pm every Friday in the Salon Opera on the 7th floor. After you're done shopping, make your way to the top floor for some breathtaking views of the city, including the Tour Eiffel, the Opéra Garnier and Sacré Coeur.
By the time we came out of the wine tasting lounge it was 5 pm. The next last destination was the Bigbus ride that would take us to all the iconic places in Paris with a flexibility to get down at any point and board any other bus at our convenient time. The bus takes 2 hours to go around a complete circle. It was a joyous ride to sit at the deck and view Paris at its best in the evening.
Gare du Nord
If you happen to enter Paris by rail from another International destination( for me it was Amsterdam), then you are most likely to reach Gare Du Nord station. At the very first sight it could seem very intimidating, owing to the fact that it is one of the six large terminus stations and offers connections with several urban transportation lines, including Paris Metro, RER and buses. Well don’t worry you are not alone, there are hoards of tourists haggling over the map to figure their way out. The first thing do is to go to the tourist information counter and let them know your destination and they would very clearly guide you through the maze of the station and help you board the correct transport. And it is advisable to always keep the map handy.
Paris metro is the best transport you can rely on. But getting to the right station nearby is a task in itself. It was not about spending money to reach destinations without any worry, but it was the journey that built the temperament in us that let it be any unknown city or country we are ready for anything..
Les Caves du Louvre
After some good photographs and a stroll in this prestigious palace, we headed back to Paris city. We decided to go for French wine tasting at the Chateau near Louvre. By this time we got used to the signals and transport in Paris. With help from locals , we finally identified the wine tasting lounge. They took us to a cave like ‘interiored’ place where the bartender welcomed us.He then explained the process of wine making and how wine is an integral part of the French diners. We got a chance to taste 3 types of wine along with some French talks.Finally we got souvenirs to take back home in the form of a bottle of wine.Yay!
Head to the Tuileries Garden for a scenic lunchThe Jardin des Tuileries is a central garden, which extends from the Musée du Louvre along the Seine river, to the Place de la Concorde and the beginning of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. There once used to be a palace here, but it was burnt down in 1870. Now these lush garden remain with their trees, pools, statues, and street food booths, becoming a favourite place for Parisians to just stroll around and take a break. Throughout the garden, you'll find many lovely restaurants offering all kinds of food. Pick one that you like, and end your meal with a crêpe from any of the take-away booths.
Shakespeare & Company
Take a tea break with Shakespeare on Paris' Left BankIf you're a literature lover, the Shakespeare and Company bookshop will be the beginning of a torrid love affair with the most famous bookstore in the world. But if not, you will still enjoy the yellow-and-green facade and rustic-feeling interiors, which will transport you to a quieter, older Paris. Inside, every space is filled with books, deep philosophical signs, art objects, writer memorabilia and a cat. Sit, read and enjoy. And when you're done, head to the namesake cafe next door for some delicious coffee, pressed juices, gluten-free sandwiches, decadent pies and brownies, hand-rolled bagels and dark chocolate matcha cookies.