Well, I know why they call Paris the city of lights. The city is absolutely amazing. I flew out of London and landed at CDG, I was pretty prepared to get into the city as I had read up on Wikitravel before. I was staying in a hostel up in Montmarte and I was able to successfully metro my way there. Unfortunately this is where I ran into a bit of a snag (what with being my first time travelling by myself). The hostel worked on a system where you would call them up and they would come to meet you at the metro station. Being already 8pm at night, I realised that my phone had my UK SIM in it with no roaming, and my Australian SIM with roaming was all the way back in luggage storage in London. I wandered around and eventually found a public phone but the stupid Parisian phones don’t take coins or notes! I put in my credit card, no go. Calling the support number, I find out that international credit cards don’t work in Paris! Very useful!! Long story short, I ended up wandering around and finding the closest hotel I could stay in, it was getting late. Goodbye €140. I didn’t have dinner, I just crawled up into bed and went to sleep. Still being incredibly jet lagged.
The next morning, I was able to use the hotel provided WiFi and my VoIP account to place a call to the hostel. I finally got myself checked in (they actually emailed me after my stay there and told me that they wouldn’t charge me for the night I wasn’t there). Time to go exploring Paris!
TIP: If you’re going to be going on the metro a lot as a tourist, get the carnet which is 10 trips and it’s cheaper than buying singles. And you will use the metro a bit cause driving it awful and you can’t walk everywhere.
First stop: The Louvre! My god is this place amazing!! Not only is it in an old palace but the amount of artworks and artefacts is simply mind blowing. This is definitely one of those top 5 museums in the world you have to see once in your life. Again, cause I’m more of a visual person, here’s a bunch of photos.
Of course, the main draw and most famous attractive at the Louvre
I spent the whole day pretty much in the Louvre. Aside from the fact that it was raining, walking around on the hard marble floors of museums is surprisingly tiring!
Day 2! Time to check out some of the churches and wander around the city. Of course, the most famous would probably be the Cathedral of Notre Dame. I guess it just brings back childhood memories of watching Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. One can just imagine Quasimodo swinging from the top.
Inside is absolutely amazing! The sheer size of this, being my first European church that I’d really seen I was blown away.
I ended my day by getting the metro to the Arc de Triomphe. It was raining (again) but fortunately for me, I just saved €9 as entry was free all weekend to the top! Here’s a photo from the bottom of it looking past the eternal flame along the Champs-Élysées.
Day 3! I’d checked the weather and I knew that today was going to be sunny so I had set aside today for the Eiffel Tower! Boy oh boy is it amazing! It changes colour depending on the light and what colour they decide to paint it! After waiting in line for hours behind a group of extremely loud Victorian high school children (god the Aussie accent stands out) I finally was able to get my ticket – walking of course! And boy, was the view from the top worth it!
After I got down from the top (taking the lift cause they weren’t checking tickets on the way down, heh). I went for a wander along one of the streets with good little eateries, bakeries and market stalls. Very nice atmosphere I’ll give it that
A few other cool things in Paris that I did over my next few days there included wandering the streets of Montmarte. This was very close to where my hostel was located and I was lucky to wander there pretty much every morning.
And of course, at the top of Montmarte, one of the highest points in Paris (it’s pretty flat) is the Sacre Coeur. This church is also absolutely amazing, and while it might be a bit away from the city centre, it’s definitely worth going to and checking out. In fact, the whole area of Montmarte is worth checking out!
I met some Germans on my last night in Paris and we ended up wandering the streets at night looking for food and drinks.
Another amazing church that didn’t really crop up too much in guides is Saint Chapelle. The stained glass artworks are amazing! 15 massive stained glass windows, each depicting the story from a book of the bible. Unfortunately they were repairing on side of the church so there was a pile of scaffolding up.
Among the places that I want to visit again when I come back to Paris include the catacombs and Musee d’Orsay. They have some strange days to close down so check these before you go (everything is not closed on Sundays, it can sometimes be Monday or Tuesday).
Anyway, here’s some other pictures of Paris, in no particular order. Enjoy!