Aug 132018
Our Great European Adventure (Part I) : Paris

V & I love to travel. That, and food, had been one of the things we bonded over when we first met. However, our biggest problem has always been getting enough time away from work. So, in the last 5 years, most of our travels have been restricted to places we can visit in a week (this, of course, included travel time as well).

This year, however, with plenty of advance planning, we were able to get 12 days off from work in April and we decided to visit Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam.

6th April 2018

We arrived in Paris quite early, around 8 am, and after an uneventful journey through immigration we made our way to Hotel Ibis Montmartre (Tip: Save big bucks and buy a train pass for the duration of your trip). On reaching the hotel, we were told that an early check-in was not possible, so we stored our luggage with them and decided to head out for a day of exploring.

Hotel Ibis, Montmartre - Paris Travel Guide
Hotel Ibis, Montmartre

The first item on the agenda was breakfast! We had researched beforehand and found that about 10 minutes from our hotel was Le Grenier à Pain – a bakery which is well known for its award-winning baguettes. We, however, stocked up on croissants, pain au chocolat and the Fougasse (crusty bread topped with goat cheese and tomatoes) and made our way to the Opera House (Palais Garnier).

Paris travel guide - Food
Pain au Chocolat!
Paris Opera House - Travel Guide
Outside Paris Opera House

There we sat on the steps, eating a warm, flaky pain au chocolat, and watched the world go by.

Paris Opera House - Travel & Food Guide
Clearly I was going for the bigger bite!

We then walked down to Place Vendôme.

Place Vendome - Paris Travel Guide
Place Vendôme

Then ahead to Place de la Concorde where we admired the Luxor Obelisk and sat in the giant ferris wheel which gave us a great view of the Parisian skyline.

Onward to walk around the Grand Palais and Petit Palais admiring the superb architecture.

Grand Palais - Paris Travel Guide
Grand Palais
Petit Palais - Paris Travel Guide
Petit Palais

We then made our way back through the Tuileries Garden, where we found a stone bench under the trees to enjoy a hot chocolate and macarons.

Tuileries Garden - Paris Travel Guide
Jardin de Tuileries

Next, we walked back to the Paris City Vision office on Rue de Rivoli (near the Statue of Joan of Arc) where we picked up our tickets for the City Bus Tour, Eiffel tower and Seine river cruise. For this trip, all our sightseeing bookings and entry tickets had been through Viator and we had absolutely no trouble at any point (No, this post has not been sponsored by Viator!).

Paris Travel Guide Eiffel Tower - Paris Travel Guide Eiffel Tower - Paris Travel Guide Eiffel Tower - Paris Travel Guide Seine River Cruise - Paris Travel Guide

7th April 2018

We left early in the morning from the Paris City Vision office for Mont Saint Michel in Normandy (it is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites), an island which has been carved away from the mainland by the tides. At the top of the hill rests an old monastery and abbey with houses at the base surrounded by heavy fortifications. The place is steeped in history and I would definitely recommend a visit to anybody going to Paris.

Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide
Mont Saint Michel at a distance…

Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide Inside Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide Inside Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide Inside Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide Inside Mont Saint Michel - Travel Guide

8th April 2018

We had booked “Skip the line” entry tickets to the Palace of Versailles and spent half the day wandering open-mouthed through the grandeur of gold, glass, and tapestries.

Palace of Versailles - Paris Travel GuidePalace of Versailles - Paris Travel Guide Palace of Versailles - Paris Travel Guide Palace of Versailles - Paris Travel Guide Palace of Versailles - Paris Travel Guide Palace of Versailles - Paris Travel Guide

On returning to Paris, we went ahead to the Hôtel de Ville (The Town Hall of Paris), admired its stunning architecture before going ahead to the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Town Hall - Paris Travel Guide
Hôtel de Ville
Notre Dame - Paris Travel Guide
Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame - Paris Travel Guide Notre Dame - Paris Travel Guide

We then met up with my cousin and along with him we went to see the Sainte-Chapelle which is across the island from the Notre Dame Cathedral. The entry fee to the Sainte Chapelle was Euro 10 and on entering I was sure we had been fleeced! It was pretty, no doubt, but nothing extraordinary, or so I thought! In a corner of the Chapelle, we saw a small staircase going up and followed the other visitors to the top. There we found the true beauty of the Chapelle! Stained glass, from floor to ceiling, in beautiful reds and blues – it was absolutely breath-taking!

Sainte Chapelle - Paris Travel Guide Sainte Chapelle - Paris Travel Guide

Afterwards, we walked around The Centre Pompidou and bought a rose shaped gelato from Amorino (pretty and delicious!)

Gelato outside Centre Georges Pompidou - Paris Travel Guide

We then took the metro to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont where we (finally!) sat for some time and took in the greenery.

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont - Paris Travel Guide Parc des Buttes-Chaumont - Paris Travel Guide Parc des Buttes-Chaumont - Paris Travel Guide

Next, we went to the Grande Arche de la Defense (to the west of Paris). Completed in 1989, this is a modern take on the Arc de Triomphe. We sat under this giant structure drinking coffee and catching up before heading back to our hotel for some much-deserved rest!

9th April 2018

After a quick breakfast of baguette and some coffee we reached the Moulin Rouge to meet up with our guide Ana (of Localers, Paris) for a walking tour of Montmartre. This was a great experience! Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and friendly, and the pace of the tour was very comfortable. We were taken around some of the landmarks of Montmartre like Le Mur des je t’aime (The Wall of I Love You), Le Passe-Muraille, Dalida’s Statue, Dalida’s Home, Clos Montmartre (the only vineyard in Paris), Place du Tertre before ending the tour at the Sacré-Cœur.

Montmartre Walking Tour - Paris Travel Guide Montmartre Walking Tour - Paris Travel Guide Montmartre Walking Tour - Paris Travel Guide Montmartre Walking Tour - Paris Travel Guide Montmartre Walking Tour - Paris Travel Guide Montmartre Walking Tour - Paris Travel Guide Sacre Coeur - Paris Travel Guide

In the afternoon, we “popped in” the Louvre (yes, we popped in… Neither of us are too keen on museums, however, we decided to book a “Skip the line” entry ticket and play it by ear), spent a couple of hours looking around before heading back.

This marked the end of our stay in Paris and the next morning, we left for Brussels. I’ll be back soon to write about Part II of our European adventure!

I hope you enjoyed this small glimpse into our experience and that it inspires you on your next vacation!

Cheers!

Hi I’m Sonal. I love to travel, eat and read. My dream is to combine all three passions, pack my life into a suitcase and haversack and explore the world!

Sonal Beri

Hi I'm Sonal. I love to travel, eat and read. My dream is to combine all three passions, pack my life into a suitcase and haversack and explore the world!


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