Paris – A self-planned experience

Tripoto
19th Sep 2016
Photo of Paris – A self-planned experience by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

Its often said ‘Travel leaves you speechless at first…and then turns you into a storyteller..’ To all the travellers out there, I am sure you would agree! We all have inspiring stories to tell about our experiences. I too have one..

This time its about this city which I describe as Romantic, Fashionable, Arty, Expensive, and Classical..Yes! PARIS!!!

Situated in the north west of France, the capital and the epitome of beauty in all its forms has made Paris the most famous destination among travellers in Europe.

From fashion to food, architecture to gardens and home to one of the most famous wonders of the world, metropolis Paris is filled with endless discoveries and suprises. One who comes here gets a treat to see and a chance to be lost in the true sense and feel of the cultural capital.

We embarked upon the journey to this multifaceted Paris from Frankfurt taking the SCNF bullet train at morning 5.58am…Trains are well on time and a minute late is a chance gone!

Photo of SNCF, Rue du Charolais, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

Online pre-Booking at http://www.sncf.com/

Journey cost : 48Eur per person

It takes 3 hours to reach this dazzling city with train speed touching 400kms/hr but still a slight wobble is hard to experience.

In India we often see people fighting for keeping their luggage by their side but here in Europe, all trains have luggage compartment for each boogie to park our luggage away from our sight.

But no worries it would certainly be as safe as it would be in a safe…!

Finally at 9.00am we reached Gare du Est station. We had pre-booked a cab with Lecab at the best deal we could get.We headed to the Ibis budget hotel where we had booked our stay.

We had opted to travel Paris like each Parisian does!

Coming to this city for the first time made us nervous at first.All routes though planned, lots of walking and help from locals what made us confident in this popular-crowded-human settlement of the world.

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..

We reached hotel by 10.30am and then headed straight to collect the Paris Pass at Rue de Clery. Reaching the Paris Pass office had already made us walk for 15 mins to Rue de Clignancourt and then changeover of 2 metros. We finally collected our passes that were pre-booked through https://www.parispass.com for an amazing deal offered online.

The Paris Pass is the ultimate sightseeing package which provides access into over 60 world-class museums, art galleries and monuments in Paris. Made up of the Paris Museum Pass, Paris Attractions Pass and Paris Visite Travelcard, you can buy it for 2, 3, 4 or 6 days to best suit your trip. We had it for 2 days for a price of 120EUR per adult.

All metro stations have the automatic ticket gates where the ticket need to be put in the given slot , the door would open , pass by quickly and collect your tickets at the other end.

We then set off to our first destination – The Louvre Museum.It houses the Mona Lisa with addition of western works, ancient oriental Egyptian, Greek , Roman civilisation along with Islamic and graphic arts.

Photo of Louvre Museum, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni
Photo of Louvre Museum, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

Spending almost an hour or two, we headed to the Eiffel Tower via Franklin Roosvelt and IENA metro stations and walking for around 1.5kms. Standing 324 meters tall, Eiffel is not a symbol of the capital but a country in itself, inaugurated in 1889. It boasts a fully-refurbished 1st floor with vertiginous glass platform. We made our way to the top by two lifts, first taking to the 2nd floor going slant and latter to 3rd floor heading up straight.As you move up, it makes us wonder how this rebating steel structure has made itself an icon of the city.

Photo of Eiffel Tower, Avenue Anatole France, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

We spent time at the top and finally returned back down by 6pm exploring the city view in a 360 degree loop.

Photo of Paris – A self-planned experience by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni
Photo of Paris – A self-planned experience by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

It was now time to relax ourselves in a calming cruise ride. The Bateaux Parisiens croisiere at 6.30pm helped us explore the city of bridges yet again, offering options of listening to Hindi commentary to our surprise.

Photo of Bateaux Parisiens, Port de la Bourdonnais, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni
Photo of Bateaux Parisiens, Port de la Bourdonnais, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

The ride concluded in an hour covering knowledge facts on some major icons of the city.

We then headed to my most favourite part of the trip – The Montparnasse Tower.

Photo of Montparnasse Tower, Avenue du Maine, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

By this time we were certainly used to the metros and comfortable walking on the streets of Paris.

Montparnasse Tower is a commercial tower where the last I.e.56th floor is reserved for tourists to view Eiffel from a distance at its best during the evenings.My excitement had already reached the peak.

Finally , much awaited view – Eiffel twinkling under the dark skies!! A site I fell in love with within no time. The light show lasts around 10 mins and repeats once in every hour.

Photo of Paris – A self-planned experience by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

“Live in the moment and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering..” and Eiffel is still imbibing the same for years together.

With this thought in mind and some beautiful clicks , we realised it was 9.15pm and we had to head back to our hotel. Dinner was packed and we made it to the Montparnasse Tower stop just beside the commercial site. We found out from the locals that could take a direct bus to the hotel.Bus number 95 came to our rescue after a tiring long day. The bus ride was a joy in itself . The women driver was a cheerful person. She helped us with the names of the areas we were passing through. From the best restaurants to shopping insights she knew it all. It was 10.30pm when we finally got down at the Ibis stop. Saying goodbye to the bus driver , we finally returned back to our hotel.

Next day, we started early. We were today heading to Versailles Palace at the outskirts of the city. The inter-regional train to Versailles takes around an hour. To board this train (for free) it is important to carefully choose from among the various routes given by Google Maps.

We first boarded bus 95 got down at Louvre and walked till the Invalides to catch the REAR C train direct to Versailles.

The palace of Versailles is at a walking distance from the station. After about 20 mins of walk, you arrive at the entrance of this grand mansion. Entry to Versailles with Paris Pass is free but the tickets need to be collected and presented once you go through the long queues.

Versailles

Photo of Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni
Photo of Paris – A self-planned experience by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

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!

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.

Photo of Big Bus, Avenue de l'Opéra, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

In our ride, we visited

-the Notre Dam Cathedral

Photo of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Parvis Notre-Dame - place Jean-Paul-II, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

-Arc de Trumph

Photo of Arc de Triomphe, Place Charles de Gaulle, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

-Invalides

Photo of Invalides, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

-Opera House

Photo of Opéra, Place de l'Opéra, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

-the famous Champs-Élysées road

Photo of Champs-Élysées, Paris, France by Chaitali Satish Kulkarni

After refreshing our memory with all the known places in Paris it was now time to return back but not before having some food. We were fortunate to spot an Indian Gujarati hotel to treat ourselves after a long day. The food was freshly prepared and good in taste.

After having the delicious food and ‘deshbhakti’ talks , we finally reached hotel for some rest.

Next day we had a train to catch to our next destination. Biding a final goodbye to this city , we reached Gare de Lyon station for our onward journey early morning.

Ultimately what we will remember is how we managed to find a specific destination, the correct metro station along with the right platform, gathering information from locals and still managing to stick to the schedule we planned.

We may not have visited few more places in Paris but Paris has been an inspiration to us on how stretching your limits really helps to build that self confidence.

Please note the whole description does not have any entry cost mentioned at some tourist places as well as for transport, reason being the Paris pass that includes everything.

Stay tuned for more blogs!!!

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