Paris Travelogue Who doesn’t dream of visiting Paris, the city of Love. I had the same dream since my childhood and that dream was finally coming true.
While staying in the UK for my masters, I, along with my flatmate in Leeds, started planning for our trip to Paris. I had never imagined to have applied for a tourist visa in a foreign country, all by myself and to eventually get it approved.
Starting Our Paris Trip
As we were coming closer to the day we were supposed to leave for Paris, people had started cautioning us of various cases of theft that take place in Paris. We were a little scared. What made us feel terrified is when we were at Gare du Nord station in Paris and the police officer himself asked us to be careful of thieves and to never lose sight of our luggage.
Frightened, we moved out of the station and towards the hostel, only to face another panicky situation- our phone networks not working and people either didn’t understand our accent or were not ready to help us find the way to our hostel. We went around for an hour, following directions given by the few who helped, only to return to the same place we started from. It was now dark and we decided to take a cab and finally reached our destination, ‘Vintage Gare Du Nord’ hostel. This was our first day in the ‘City of Love’.
The next two days, we visited various places and were rather excited about seeing the iconic attractions that we had only seen on the big screen. Eiffel Tower, during the day and at night, Sacre Coeur, Arc de Triomphe and The Louvre.
But, what we enjoyed more than seeing these monuments and attractions, were the unexpected moments while exploring this city on foot. A proposal under the Eiffel Tower, a post-wedding shoot at Sacre Coeur, a flash mob in front of the Louvre, beautiful balconies and the very delicious croissants at a bakery near our hostel.
Here are a few tips for a trip to this beautiful city-
When to Travel
We visited Paris in April and the weather was beautiful. Mornings and evenings were cold and afternoons pleasant with warm sun rays hitting the body amidst cold breeze. It was delightful to see beautiful flora blooming, people out picnicking and tourists all around the city.
Ideal stay duration
If you want to visit key attractions within the city like Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Siene river cruise, Sacre Coeur, The Louvre, etc. 3 days is the ideal time to cover that. However, if you are looking at visiting Disneyland as well, keep an extra day for that. An ideal trip to Paris can be 4 days long, where you will be able to cover the tourist attractions.
How to Travel
From India, there are a lot of flights that go to Paris. When in Paris, trains will help you reach almost anywhere and definitely to most of the local attractions. You should definitely choose to walk around the city as you will be in for a lot of beautiful surprises in the form of pretty buildings, cute bakeries to pre-wedding shoots.
Where to stay
Through my travel experiences, I have learnt that the best way to know about a place better and make new friends, is to stay at a hostel. it is also one of the cheapest options of stay at any destination. You can also opt for double bed private rooms at many accommodations. We stayed at ‘Vintage Gare Du Nord’ hostel and absolutely loved the balconies. The hostel was at a convenient location, a 10-minute walk from Gare du Nord station.
However, if you are travelling with your family, choose to stay at a hotel as it is more convenient.
What to Eat
When in Paris, DO NOT miss the mouth-watering pastries, baguettes, waffles and of course, croissants. My favourite- Pain Au Chocolat!! Paris has beautiful restaurants with outdoor seatings, with a unique concept of facing towards the street.
If you are an Indian and prefer eating Indian food, there are plenty of Indian restaurants in Paris to enjoy, including Madras Cafe near Gare du Nord station. Can’t review the food because honestly, we didn’t eat Indian food in Paris (or anywhere else in Europe).
Attractions Of Paris
Top things to do on a short trip
- Visit the Eiffel Tower at night to witness it sparkling. Check the time for the Eiffel Tower Light Show beforehand. It happens at various times each night
- Go at the top of the Eiffel Tower to get a spectacular view of the city
- Sacre Coeur offers a spectacular bird’s eye view of Paris. It will also remind you of the movie ‘Queen’ with the statue of the man that comes alive.
- Just beside Sacre Coeur is the sinking house at Montmartre. Learn the tricks to click the perfect picture in front of the same
- Sit in the centre of ‘Arc de Triomphe’ in the evening when there’s a cool breeze. You will be at the centre of a busy road yet untouchable.
The average cost to visit Paris
A 2 and a half-day trip to Paris cost us around INR 15,000 (161 GBP) including a one-way flight from London and a 3-night stay at a hostel in Paris. Travel within the city b metros costs around 1.5 K INR if you take a pass (each trip costs €1.90). The average cost for budget food per day would be around €10 (INR 800).
The Good and Not-so-good
- The beautiful small cafes facing the street are a great way to grab a bite when you are on your own as the streets keep you company
- Desserts are probably the best part of Paris. Waffles, bagels, crepes, croissants, are all unmissable
- The picturesque streets and buildings with cute little balconies.
- The weather in April was just perfect. There was ample sunshine during the day and pleasantly cold during the night.
- The City of Love didn’t live up to my expectations on a few things. I personally believe that the beauty of a city is also in its people and that was a disappointment.
- People (natives) here were unwilling to help, unwilling to speak in English, unwilling to even pass a smile (something you expect after living in Britain for 6 months).
- The fear of pickpockets keeps you nervous all the time.
- Things in Paris are very expensive, from cabs to foods to attractions. It cost us 7.80 Euros for a 0.71 KM Uber ride.
Useful Travel Tips
- A lot of thefts take place with tourists in Paris- especially phones. Always keep your earphones connected to your phone and in your ears. It helps avoid the chances of being stolen. Do not leave sight of your luggage when at a station or airport.
- If you don’t know to speak or understand French, ensure you have proper internet in your devices. It becomes difficult to communicate with people or find your way to your destination.
- Travel by metros. It is the cheapest and you can also buy a pass instead of individual tickets if you plan to use the metro frequently. Do not carry too much luggage while travelling by metros
- Install the travel guide app- Citymapper. It is the saviour as it suggests the best mode of transport or route to your destination and even guides you through the platform numbers and train timings.
I hope my experience helps you in planning your Paris trip. No matter what, Paris will never disappoint you. If you find my Paris blog quite useful, please rate the article by clicking stars.