I have an old habit of wandering off as soon as my exams are over. This time, that habit took me on a trip to Paris.
It’s not easy to explore a place like Paris in a single day, especially when you’re visiting the place the first time. Luckily, One of my friend who lives in Paris had promised to show me the city, she saved me all the trouble of looking for places in maps and wasting time in getting lost.
We started walking around from Pont Alexandre III, Eiffel Tower was in the distant background, from there we walked through Champs-Élysées towards Place de la Concorde, it is famous for a lot of things and one of them being a giant 3,300-year-old Egyptian Obelisk situated there, it’s called Luxor Obelisk. Place de la Concorde was historically known for having been an execution site during the French Revolution. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette (among others) were guillotined here. The place is beautiful, and one could feel the ubiquity of the French architecture all around in the hotels, fountains, and sculptures. I came to know that even if you buy your own house in Paris, you’re not allowed to alter its exteriors because they want to preserve the ancient architecture.
From there we moved through fountains and gardens towards Louvre Museum. Adding to our luck, the weather was unexpectedly pleasant, A sunny day was extremely delighting given the fact that I’d not seen the sun in Stockholm for over a week.
The path towards the Louvre is adorned with finely carved sculptures, It felt as if they were looking at us and might even start talking next minute.
As we approached the Louvre, the number of sculptures slowly vanished and they were replaced by a lot of people, I couldn’t understand why so many people were standing there, doing nothing, then I realized they were in a queue to enter Louvre museum.
Now I was left with two options, either to spend rest of the day waiting to enter this museum or to explore rest of the city, I chose the latter. So I guess I’ll have to wait until my next trip to Paris for watching Monalisa, we clicked some pictures outside Louvre and left.
Our next stop was Pont des Arts, the famous bridge loaded with love locks, although around six months ago the city council decided to remove all the locks so I could see just handful of them. There used to be over a million locks weighing more than 45 tons, so they were weighing down the old bridge.
There were a lot of talented artists around there – sketch artists, painters, musicians performing.
As we wandered across the cobblestoned streets, we reached Notre-Dame Cathedral. One of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever seen, the architecture of was captivating and ambiance inside was so soothing that one could spend hours there.
After stopping for lunch break, we moved towards the famous thing, Eiffel Tower. One could not imagine how colossal it is until reaching there. I just couldn’t get a proper picture of it. Then we started moving to places with better views of the tower. And the first place we went was Pont de Bir-Hakeim.
This bridge is famous for the movie Inception. It is also a hot spot for Newlyweds for photoshoots. To get a better view, we went to Trocadéro. And I guess it is the best place if you wish to click a picture with Eiffel tower in the background 😉
As dusk fell upon us, we found our way to Montparnasse Tower. From the 56th floor of the tower, it’s undoubtedly best view of Paris. And watching it in the golden hour was cherry on top.
Our plan was to take a night cruise to get a view of everything lit up, but we skipped it for some reasons as we ended our trip. Petit Palais and Grand Palais were among the other places we visited during the day.
Traveling makes you happy, but meeting friends makes you happier.
Some travel tips for Paris:
- Buy a day ticket of metro as soon as you reach Paris. There are two types of day tickets Ticket Mobilis and Ticket Jeune. Ticket Jeune is for Students aged below 26. and it costs as low as €3 on weekends.
- Whenever buying tickets to see any monument, ask about student discounts, most of the places will offer. (Carry your student ID’s).
- There are a lot of scammers around Paris, don’t entertain any of them. If anyone asks you to show magic or asks for your signature, don’t engage with them.
- There are free public toilets in Paris, but not plenty of them. So carry 50cent and €1 coins to access paid toilets.
- If you want to buy souvenirs from the roadside hawkers, try to bargain, we managed to buy 6 keychains for €1 from the guy who was selling 4 for the same price.
- Carry a water bottle, there are a lot of drinking water outlets like this from where you can fill up your bottle.
- Free Wi-Fi is not easily available (Even the ubiquitous Wi-Fi network named “Free WI-Fi” is not free. So it’s better to have an offline maps app on your smartphone. I use Maps.me, it has good walking directions.
- Alternatively, if you really need Wi-Fi, just find the nearest Mc-Donalds. If you have access to Eduroam Wi-Fi, find the nearest public library.
- One difficult thing is, fewer people speak English, it is better to download the offline package for French on Google Translate. It helps, otherwise, you’ll need to ask people to translate things for you.
If you plan to follow this itinerary, see the map below: