We started from Stuttgart, Germany. The practical options would be to rent a car, take the train or bus. The train is the most convenient and bus is the cheapest option but the most inconvenient. Inconvenient as it takes forever to reach the destination, and since the seats are not allocated at booking time there is a chance that you might not get to sit together in case you are travelling as a couple. The train connection either the TGV or the ICE takes approximately 4 hours and is very convenient.
Paris is generally expensive throughout the year. Look for good deals on booking.com and airbnb. Look for accommodation within zone 1 and 2 if you plan to stay for less than 3 days. Staying inside the city has it advantages. This allows ease of itinerary planning and not worrying too much about long distance travel. Also it allows one to experience the Paris nights, the walk beside the river Seine and the various places of interest like the Eiffel tower, Louvre pyramid and Notre Dame look amazing during the night.
Paris is best explored on foot. Hence plan for at least 3 days to cover the most famous point of interests. For the odd metro travel we bought the booklet of tickets (called carnet). There are also various tourist passes offered. Check them on the official website : https://en.parisinfo.com/
On weekends and holidays, if you are below the age of 25 look for discount tickets.
Best time to visit
We went in March and it was perfect. The warm weather lasts until September. The early part of the winter until beginning of December is not bad though.
Places of interest
The name translates to Our lady. It’s the Kilometer Zero of France and a good place to start. The cathedral is a Gothic masterpiece. It has no entrance fee and there won’t be much waiting to get inside. If you are lucky there might be a grand piano performance going on. If time permits go around the outside of the church it’s as spectacular as the inside.
A lively cultural scene with lot of bars and restaurants. A good place to have your lunch break. if you are a book lover do not miss Shakespeare and Company.
Be prepared for a long queue. But worth the wait. Try to reach at the top when the evening turns to dark so that you can enjoy both the day and night view of the city.
Arc De Triomphe
A massive structure build to commemorate one of Napoleon victories. Get to the arc via the underpass and not by crossing the wide road.
A long avenue where all the posh brands have their shops. From the Arc de Triomphe walk up till the Concorde monument. If you are a Ferrari enthusiast then this is the best place where you can catch a glimpse of one. The Concorde obelisk , even though it looks shiny, is actually 3,300 years old.
It’s overwhelmingly big. Read before your visit about what interests you. Otherwise you will only return exhausted. Also if your sole interest is to see the Mona Lisa then learn beforehand as to why it is so famous else I can assure you that you are in for a disappointment. If you want to do it for free then the first Sunday of every month is the time to visit. But you will have to endure a long queue.
It’s another beautiful church perched on the Montmartre. Its the highest land point of Paris.
Good place to find customized Indian food. The hotel named Sarvana Bhavan is definitely worth a try. It serves only vegetarian food.
We took the Bateau Mouches and it was a pleasant experience. It was a budget cruise which takes about an hour. More lavish options with disco and dinner are also available.
Walk beside the Seine
A walk on the banks of the Seine during the twilight is an awesome experience. There will be a lot of street performances. Also the light reflecting from the water is unforgettable.
Paris is a political and the financial capital of France hence there are all kinds of people. So take precautions around areas like Barbes Rochechouart , La Chappelle and Montmartre. Pigalle is the famous red light area so don’t fall prey to the pimps. These places are known for crime and pick pockets. Do not indulge in gambling you are bound to lose money.