Grand Old Paris

Paris is known as one of the most romantic cities in the world, it is also one of the most expensive too.

When you land at the airport there is a direct train into Paris Charles de Gaulle train station which can link you to any part of the city using the underground. I would recommend heading to the ticket office and buying both the train ticket and passes for the underground metro to save time later on in the journey. The metro passes can be bought for single days or multiple days so can be purchased for the exact length of your trip.

Different areas of Paris have different price tags. If you were to stay on the Champs Elysees you would be talking mega bucks. We stayed near Gard de Nord train station, a cheaper part of town, but if you don’t care for luxuries it’s ideal. As long as you stay within a short walk from a metro station you can’t really go wrong.

The first day we were there we visited the catacombs, a maze of underground tunnels. The tunnels were first created by miners in the 12th century as they extracted limestone to construct the buildings of Paris. Come the 18th century, the cemeteries in Paris were full and resident’s had run out of space to bury its dead. They decided to utilise the miles of tunnels under the city and transfer the bodies below ground. Today there are the remains of around six million people in these tunnels. Their bones have been placed in decoratively in patterns.

 

No trip to Paris can miss possibly the most famous attraction, the Eiffel Tower.

The construction is truly spectacular.

If you are wishing to climb the tower then I would highly recommend booking tickets in advance and paying extra to skip the queues. If you don’t you could be waiting for hours.

You can purchase elevator tickets or stair tickets for cheaper. We were lazy and chose the elevator.

The elevator will take you to the 2nd floor. The views of Paris are amazing. The look out platform isn’t covered so if it is raining, you will get wet.

You can choose to pay extra and continue up to the summit of the tower. There is no way to avoid the queue for this elevator so expect a wait of at least half an hour

Is it worth the money and time? Possibly not.

The view is exactly the same but just from a bit further up.

As you descend the tower you will visit the first floor. This has a restaurant and shop. If you are feeling brave you can walk on the glass floor directly over the ticket box and queues below. You can then get the elevator or chose to take the stairs to the bottom.

 

 

After the tower we took a river cruise along the Seine. The cruise gives you a different view of some of the famous sights of the city. I wouldn’t bother with a dinner cruise as they are very expensive, the food is poor quality and you miss a lot of the sights because you are eating. Choose the cheaper hour long cruise and you will see everything.

Give yourself a few hours to walk the streets of this beautiful city. Visit the Arch de Triumph in the middle of the roundabout at the end of the Champs Elysees. Under the arch is the tomb of the unknown soldier with a flame burning 24 hours a day.

Walk down the Champs Elysees, drool over items in the shop windows. If you stop for a drink, keep in mind it will cost you in the region of $50 for three quarters of a bottle of wine. Although there is a McDonalds that is regular priced.

At the other end of the Champs Elysees is the Louvre. One of the most famous pieces of art it houses is the Mona Lisa. Again, huge queues can be expected here.

 

 

 

 

Near to the Louvre is a café called Angelina’s. It serves the most divine hot chocolate and pastries. Definitely worth a visit.

A bit further along the river is the Notre Dame. It has been built on an island in the centre of the river. The architecture is absolutely stunning. On a summer day it is lovely to sit out the front of one of the many café’s with an ice cream or coffee and people watch.

 

 

 

For a quick breakfast I can recommend diving into one bakeries and picking up some of the local pastries. Delicious!

Some of the best restaurants we found to be up near the Sacre Coeur. They also tended to be the best value for money too.

There is a steak house called the Sacre Fleur. The meat comes to your table one a hot plate and you finish off cooking it at the table yourself. The restaurant is incredibly small so it is worth reserving a table before you arrive.

 

 

Also up at the Sacre Coeur is the Basilica. It is a fair walk up some steep stairs to reach it but it is worth it.

Also at the top of the hill is a small village square with artists selling their paintings, photos and some offering caricatures.

 

 

 

 

For views of the Eiffel tower, you cannot really beat those from Tower Montparnasse. I would recommend going to the top of the tower just before the sun goes down. The sunsets are incredible from this vantage spot.

Tickets can be bought ahead of time for the tower to avoid the queues.

If the weather is nice there is a rooftop champagne bar. If the weather isn’t great then you can sit inside and enjoy the view from there.

 

 

From 9pm onwards on the half hour the Eiffel tower sparkles for a few minutes. Definitely not to be missed.

If you fancy a day out from the city then you can get a train to the nearby town of Versailles, it houses the famous palace.

Once again with anywhere in Paris, queues can be expected so book ahead if possible.

Once again with anywhere in Paris, queues can be expected so book ahead if possible.

Both the inside and the outside of the palace is stunning. During the tour you visit the hall of mirrors and if you take a trip during the summer you are free to explore the multiple acres of gardens.

Paris is an extremely beautiful city and is a great location for a romantic getaway, where you will find great restaurants with good food and plenty of sights to see.

 

 

Grand Old Paris

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About The Author
- Karen Dawes is 26 years old from Manchester, England. She is an accountant by profession with a passion for travel. She has visited most countries in Europe and is working her way around the rest of the world.