The relaxing Luxembourg Garden
The Jardin du Luxembourg is a massive park in the 6th district of Paris and close to Montparnasse. On our last day we went there and enjoyed the tranquillity for a while. Really nice park to relax and be!
3 July 2013
The huge lonely skyscraper which can be seen from pretty much everywhere in Paris is the Montparnasse station "Gare Montparnasse". The district around it is called the same and it a pretty lively area with loads of restaurants and shops. Since our Hotel was also located there we used to have dinner in this area. If you're looking for a nice place in the evening to get some drinks and food I would definitely recommend this place. Since the rest of Paris is pretty expensive the prices for dinner in this area were comparatively cheap.
Dinner between the Pantheon and the Eiffel Tower
On our last night in Paris we went to have a nice dinner in front of the Pantheon at a Restaurant called Les Fontaines. You basically can see the Pantheon on one side and the Eiffel Tower on the other - and this at sunset! It was super nice! And so was the food. French cuisine, friendly staff, okay prices and an english menu. It was a really nice evening :)
Roland Garros - French Open Tennis Club
Since Chris is a huge tennis fan we took the metro to get outside of the centre of Paris and drove to the Roland Garros tennis club where each year the French Open are held. Pretty huge and posh tennis place with a nice shop for fans. Unfotunately all cafes where closed and so we jut walked around and had a look at the courts and the rest.
Moulin Rouge kinda sucks
Yes it's nice to say you have been there and to take a picture but other than that Moulin Rouge was a dissapointment. The area around it is pretty shabby and almost scary and the building itself lacks detail and looks almost like out of cardboard. Not worth going there in my eyes.
The pleasures of Montmartre
If you pass Sacre-Coeur and keep walking on top of the hill you will get to explore a typical paris style place. Yes it is full of tourists but it's just amazing there!. Little streets with artists drawing on the street, galleries, shops and loads of cafes and restaurants. All very close together and held in a vintage style with no cars or any traffic around. I loved it there! It's the perfect place to buy some souvenirs and postcards and have a nice lunch or dinner :)
In the north of Paris is a hill called Montmartre and the white church on top is called Sacre-Coeur. It was one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen - inside and outside - almost better than Notre Dame :) ! We took the underground to the station "Pigalle" and walked up the hill to the church. The whole hill is super nice with shops everywhere and charming little streets so worth a walk. Unfortunately it gets pretty touristy once you get close to the church. A group of black people stood at the beginning of the stairs catching every single tourist making bracelets around their wrists and then folowing you till you give them a bit of money. I managed to cross this barrier with a friendly "get the fuck out of my way" face and a lot of "NO!!!" shouts hahha. Chris was too week and had to pay...oh well
2 July 2013
Louvre and the city centre
From the Isle Saint-Louis we walked towards the Louvre and explored the area around there. The Hotel de Ville which houses the city'slocal administrations and the Palais Royal where one of the must see buildings of this district. Especially the first one has a nice little park at the front with fountains which provides a nice place to relax for a bit. Next stop was the Louvre. We decide not to go inside and therefore we only had a look around and took some picture. If you keep going, passing the pyramid, you come to an amazing park called Tuileries Garden. It's absolutely beautiful!
Escaping to the romantic Ile Saint-Louis
At the back of Notre Dame there is a bride which leads to the Ile Saint-Louis, another island in the middle of the Seine which many overlook.
This small island is like an oasis from the rush of the city. It's almost as if someone dropped a small French village into the center of Paris, as it features markets, bakeries, fromageries and cafés. While much of Paris has modernized over the years, the ile seems romantically frozen in the past. We found a nice bisquit bakery there and boght a bag of goodies which we rated from 1-10. Most of them got around 8 so worth the money hehe :)
Relaxing and picture time at Notre Dames back
Once you come out of the church you can turn left and then walk along the Seine towards the Square Jean XXIII. There are a lot of benches there (if you (like we did just walked up and down so many stairs to see some gargoyles) where you can relax and look down the Seine. The back of the cathedral is almost as impressive as the rest of it so we spend some time here to also take some nice pictures :) It is basically a little park and a very nice memorable place.
Chilling with the Gargoyles
Chris and me wanted to play Quasimodo for a bit and therefore we decided to go up on Notre Dame to enjoy the few over Paris like he did :) Unfortunately it was raining once we got up but the few and the amazing gargoyle statues up there were amazing. Be prepared to queue for a while :( We waited about 2h!! The pathway up there is very narror and the view is half blocked because of the safety rails so unless you like gargoyles or a nice view it's not worth the long wait. We met some nice american family which we talked to for the time of the wait so at least it's also a good time to make some new friends ;) Watch out the stairs!! They are very steep and a lot of them...an old lady fell down and hurt her head !!
Notre Dame was for me as a history and gothic architecture fan the best thing about Paris. Ofc it's a typical touristic thing to do but it's a pretty impressive church. The queue looks shocking but it goes on very quickly so no worries :)
Ile de la Cite
Ile de la Cite is an island in the Seine in the centre of Paris. We got out at one of the close underground stations and started exploring this area. La conciergerie (the former royal palace and prison), the palace of justice as well as Notre Dame are all located on this island. It is a very rich and green area and absolutely beautiful. The Sainte Chapelle is a chapel located inside the palace complex. Although it is fairly small it is enchanting because of it's beautiful windows. Definitely go inside if you can :)
Trotting along the Champs Elysees
The Champs Elysees is one of the main shopping streets. We walked it all the alonge from the Arc de Triomph till it's end. Really nice street! We did some shopping and enjoyed a glass of wine and a coffee. Be aware: For a glass of white wine and a iced coffee with water - 25 wonderful euros !!!!
Arc de Triomphe
Another must see in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe. Like all museums and sightseeing attraction in Paris the entry is free for under 26 year olds which is pretty cool !! We went up there and enjoyed the view. We also watched the traffic since around the arc theres a massive roundabout which 8 lanes! Pretty chaotic but fun to watch :)
Of course the Eiffel Tower is one of the main attraction in Paris, so we went ther on our first day after we checked in at the hotel. Yes, it is the classical touristy attraction, but this tower is pretty impressive after all! We sat down at the back of the tower in a little garden observing the towers details (or at least I did). I was really fascinated by it although I have seen it once before. Simply an awesome building! I would recommend to book a tour or a ticket to go up in advance on the website I included. Otherwise you have to queue for quite a while.
This 3 star Hotel has a very good location to start your daily tours since it's located 5 minutes away from one of the main stations - Montparnasse. Montparnasse is a pretty lively area with a lot of restaurants which is useful if you want to have a nice dinner close to your bed. The Hotel was clean, tidy and silent. Although our room faced the main street, the windows are so well insulated that it wasn't a problem and the beds are super comfy as well ;)
Public Transport Tickets
If you like to travel with the metro, RER or tramway in Paris I would recommend to get one of those 10 ticket blocks at one of the ticket machines. We bought a block each which was 13.30 euros and it lasted for all 4 days we spent there. If you want to travel extensively around the Paris there is also the Paris Visite Pass which is around 22 euros for 3 days valid for the centre of Paris.
With the Eurostar train from London to Paris
This train which traverses the Channel Tunnel between the UK and France costs about 140 euros for a return ticket and goes directly from the middle of London to the Gare Du Nord station in Paris. With only two hours this was one of the most comfortable trips to get from one country to another I've ever had. There are no luggage restrictions and the train itself is fairly comfortable. It travells overground most of the time except from the 20 minutes underground. The only negative thing about this train was that for tall people there is limited leg room.