Paris – the City of Lights, a destination filled with art, culture and romance. Whether you're single, dating or in a relationship – Paris, France is a wonderful destination for all. Here's a quick guide to the City of Love! Ride the Rocket - or the Parisian equivalent As a tourist, your lifeline is your Metro Map. Much like many major cities the subway system in Paris is extensive and will get you within walking distance of every major attraction. Whether you take a plane, train or Coach into France you can be sure that they will link to the Metro either from Charles de Gaulle Airport, Gare du Nord or Gallieni stations respectively. Your best bet is a €36 unlimited 3 day Metro pass that you can purchase from automated vending machines at every station and especially ports of entry into the City. Circumnavigate
It's in your best interest to stay slightly outside the city core. And Paris, like many other European cities, is constructed in concentric circles – with many of the popular tourist attractions located in the eastern part of the city adjacent to the Seine River. Staying just out of the city core will be easier on your budget as well (save that extra cash for the pastry and boutique shops). Just make sure you are located within walking distance of a convenient Metro line and your hotel offers free Wi-Fi internet access. As a reference point, during my time I located myself just off of Felix Faure station (Light Purple #8). Rise and Shine....Early
Now that we have transportation and accommodation covered, what's the next thing you need to know about exploring Paris? It's a morning City. If you’re jetlagged or planning on sleeping in, chances are you’re going to miss half the fun! You’d be surprised at the hustle & bustle of the city at 5 AM. Skip the complimentary hotel breakfast croissant or danish and walk down the street and you're bound to find a Parisian bakery or pastry shop you've heard so much about. Go to the ones that seem to be filled with locals; you’re bound to get the best prices & the best eats right here. Don’t know the language? Don’t be shy – the point of the finger & rub of the belly are universal signs the French will understand! The Attractions Now we can get down to the business of sight seeing. Start off at Metro Station La Tour-Maubourg (Purple Line #8). This is going to bring you out at the north end of the complex housing Napoleon’s tomb - Les Invalides. Take a walk south around the side of the massive court yard until you see this beautiful gold tipped building from the front. Don’t know your north from south? Bring a compass or if you’re not a boy scout/girl guide, Metro stations usually have large maps with 3D illustrations of local landmarks. Your next stop will be the iconic Eiffel Tower. Within a 5-10 minute walk from Les Invalides you will see this majestic structure rising from the ground below. Once at the Champ de Mars, you will have an unobstructed view of the tower and enjoy the peaceful walk through the beautiful park to its base. Here you'll see swarms of (illegal) street vendors pedaling replica souvenirs. But stock up – they are often of decent quality!
After seeing the tower, your journey is complete – spend the rest of your trip at the local watering hole. Just kidding! After walking to the base of the tower, continue your way straight through across the Seine River and up the stairs of Palais de Chaillot. This is a magnificent landmark in itself so take a moment to click a couple of pictures and continue up the stairs to see a breathtaking view of Paris rarely seen or mentioned in magazines. And to top it all off, the upper walkway lands precisely at the Trocadéro Metro station.
Grab something to eat, freshen up and in the evening take in a famous Parisian show. The Moulin Rouge is located just outside of Blanche station (Blue line #2). Make sure you book tickets directly from their website though to save on the premiums charged elsewhere. The Moulin Rouge is an extraordinary show that far surpasses anything I've ever seen in Las Vegas. It is a mix of ballet and acrobatics and the intervals are filled with a variety of other entertainments. A note for single travellers: arrive early. The staff will usually seat you as a “filler” in one of the front & centre tables with those who have just finished their meal. Their goal is to have the front of the house at capacity and your goal is to get the best possible seat in the house! Don't forget to take in the view of the Eiffel Tower in the night time after the show, a romantic's dream come true! Don't worry, you'll still have enough time to catch the 1AM train back to your hotel! A Day on their own Notre Dame de Paris and the beautiful courtyard behind it should also be on your itinerary. Once you've had a chance to marvel at the high ceilings and magnificent stained glass windows make your way down to the Louvre. The Louvre is enormous! The courtyard of the Louvre could house a few football fields and the building itself is four stories high and could easily take 3 days to explore in detail. Here you will see some of the most iconic pieces of art and will be quite surprised at their size and vivid details. With any trip to Paris – the Louvre is a must! The time you decide to spend, of course, is completely proportional to your interests and passion for art and culture. Once you've seen the major attractions of the city, venture across the Jardin des Tuileries and down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a shopping district designed mainly for tourists, and explore the fashionable side of the city. The Avenue des Champs-Elysees will also lead you directly to the Arc de Triomphe, another of Paris’s great iconic landmarks, located at a major Metro subway intersection at the Charles de Gaulle – Étoile station. This monument is a tribute to the soldiers of the French Revolution, and all roads (at least in Paris) do lead here given that 12 separate streets radiate from the roundabout surrounding the Arc. Travel abroad can never truly expose the vibrant nature of any culturally-rich city such as Paris, the above guideline is a great starter to wet your appetite. Hope you enjoy & happy travels!
And although, travel abroad can never truly expose the vibrant nature of any culture rich City such as Paris, the above guideline is a great starter to wet your appetite. Hope you enjoy & happy travels...
- Gajanan Kuganesan