Paris, a sophisticated capital fueled by champagne and dreams, with an unwavering allure for the world’s art and culture connoisseurs. Well, we aren’t connoisseurs but we went to Paris for 3 days anyway. It was enough time though to fall in love with the capital of France. Paris is a must-see destination just because it is so fabulously beautiful.
We travelled with low-cost airline Ryanair that flies to Paris Beauvais Tille Airport, located 85km (53miles) north of Paris. We used the shuttle bus service to get to the city – Porte Maillot bus station by the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile hotel. Buses are very frequent, every 10 minutes (The first bus in the morning leaves at 5.40am). Tickets are available from ticket machines or from the kiosk outside. The price of a ticket – 17 euro(one way). There is a possibility to buy your tickets online a little cheaper. A journey from BVA airport to Paris takes a little over one hour. It is better to reserve 2 hours for a bus journey to the airport because of traffic or/and unexpected events on the road.
We booked our hotel in advance in the vicinity of the above bus station to make it easier for our return trip to the same airport (having an early return flight). It was Hotel Du Roule in Neuilly-sur-Seine and it was situated a 15 minute walk from the Arc de Triumphe. Perfect location.
We had 2 and a half days for visiting Paris and wanted to make the most of the time available. I studied the map of Paris carefully beforehand and was using this it all the time while wondering along the streets from one place to the other, together with a map of Paris Metro (underground). Very helpful must-have support devices. We mostly covered distances on foot and it is the best way to see Paris, but it is impossible to do this all the time so we decided to buy some tickets for public transport. For a rest we stopped from time to time in Parisian Brasseries with street-side seating. Paris is an absolutely stunning city but it is also very expensive – 4 to 5 times more expensive than Krakow when we are currently based. However it is worth making an effort once in a lifetime to go and see Paris and say afterwards: ‘Been there, Read the book, Worn the T-shirt’…
Day 1 – Friday
We started exploring Paris from the top of The Arc De Triomphe (Triumph Arch), one of the most famous monuments of Paris located in the centre of The Place Charles de Gaulle. The Monument is 50 metres high and gives a spectacular view of Paris from each angle. From the top (284 stairs and no lift) we could identify all the places to go and see. Beneath the Arc is The Tomb of An Unknown Soldier from World War I. Admission to the top of The Arc De Triomphe -11 Euro
La Defense – the business district of Paris with 72 steel and glass buildings of which 18 are completed sky scrapers. La Defense houses an open-air museum with over 60 pieces of modern art. At the end of La Defence there is The Arc De Grande – a modern equivalent of The Arc de Triomphe. La Defence – is too interesting to miss it.
Montmartre is a 130 metres high hill full of fancy bars, restaurants and the famous house of the Moulin Rouge Cabaret. It is dominated by La Basillique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre (The Basilica of The Sacred Heart of Paris). We visited this part of Paris in the evening and the entire place looked stunningly atmospheric.
Day 2 – Saturday
We devoted Saturday for the left-riverside of Paris – 7th, 6th and 5th arrondissements ( administrative districts of Paris). We started with The Eiffel Tower.
Flamme de la Liberté
Illuminated Eiffel Tower
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to queue to get to the top of it and so not to waste too much of our limited time, from the Eiffel Tower we walked towards ….
Les Invalides… the Military Museum with The Tomb of Napoleon. The admission fee to this museum -11 euro. We then strolled through the Paris Saint Germain quarter (and it was worth every step) to Paris’ oldest university Sorbonne and the Pantheon – The Monument devoted to French National heroes.
Our next stop was the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral and Louvre Museum. Again, we didn’t go inside due to our limited time and high cost . We arrived back at the Eiffel Tower late in the evening but it was still busy so we went to another French Brasserie for some well earned R&R.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Paris Saint Germain
Day 3 –
Originally we wanted to spend half a day in Lafayette Galleries…
Said to be the biggest department store in Europe and a symbol of French lifestyle. But it turned out that on Sundays all the large department stores like Galleries Lafayette, Printemps, Bon Marche, they are all closed! So we did a little random sight-seeing that included stunning Palais Garnier – regarded as the most famous Opera House in the world, a stroll along the Champs-Elysees, the Grand Palais and then stumbled across the Flamme de la Liberté (unofficial) Memorial to Princess Diana above the fateful underpass. From there we went by Metro to the wonderful Luxemburg Gardens, one of my favorite stops in Paris. We finished our sight-seeing by late into the evening by the Replica of the Statue of Liberty on an artificial island Ile Aux Cygnes on Seine river.
There is lots left to see so we may be back one day…
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