The best places in Paris

Victor Hugo and Quasimodo fans will want to visit Notre-Dame Cathedrale. A visit to the top is worth every cent (8 euros) as it offers a panoramic view of the city that is to die for. Notre-Dame opens its doors for climbers at 10am sharp, however, enthusiastic tourists start queuing at 9am. It is well worth getting there before 10am to be one of the first groups to climb. They allow a certain amount of people up at a time but give you ample opportunity to capture the perfect photo. Entry into the Church is free, but again subject to a hefty wait. I suggest having a quick look inside then queuing to get to the top.

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It is no secret that I love free things when I travel and the view from Sacre-Cœur is not only breath-taking, but free. If you catch the Metro to the Anvers station then there is a short walk up a street lined with souvernier shops, cafe’s, and two of my favourite shops in Paris, La Cure Gourmande (biscuits) and Pierre Hermes (chocolate and pastries). Once you arrive at the base of the church you will notice that there are again a lot of stairs to climb to get to the top, as is always the case in Paris. Not to worry, there is a little elevator for those less able and those with little legs, or those just sick of stairs. I always over indugle in the local cuisine when I travel so I always take the stairs. Once you have reached the top you really do get a stunning view of Paris, you will have to look pretty hard for the Eiffel Tower though as it is hidden on the far right (when you are looking out) behind some trees. A visit inside the Church is also a worthwhile visit. Because I had just over a week in Paris it really allowed me to explore in detail, and I suggest spending a little extra time in Montmartre. This is the artistic centre or Paris and here you will find many artisits wanting to draw you in almost any form.

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Travelling with a European citizen was handy as they receive free entry (and if not then a heavily reduced rate) in almost every place or touristic interest. The Musee du Louvre is also one such place, offering free entry to European Citizens under the age of 25 (conditions apply). For everyone else, buy your tickets in advance. The Louvre opens its doors at 10 and, as is usually the case, the line begins promptly at 9am. Pre purchasing your tickets allows you to queue in a seperate line and essentially allows you to enter first. Head straight to the Mona Lisa, as I am certain that is the main reason why you are there, because within an hour the room will be full. So full in fact you probably won’t be able to enter, or see her, as she is smaller than you think. Please note, that the Museum is not open on Tuesday’s, so plan accordingly, however, free for all visitors on the first Sunday of every month. Tickets are various prices depending on what you would like to see so please refer to the website

http://www.louvre.fr/en/hours-admission/admission#tabs

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Last but not least for this series of posts is one of my favourite places to visit in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe. Again free for European citizens under the age of 26, otherwise costing 9.50 euro. The panoramic view is stunning, allowing for the view of Charles de Gaulle Etoile (encompassing the famous Champs Élysées), the Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur. I cannot express my love for this monument and its view enough. Open varying times, depending no the season, but generally 10-7 in the warmer months. They don’t limit your time a top the monument so you can really take in your surroundings, they don’t allow consumption of food though so don’t stay long enough that you need a packed lunch.

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http://www.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/monuments/monument-s-map/

A visit to the above link will take you to the webpage of all the national monuments in Paris, their opening hours and fees.

http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/spip.php?rubrique2

http://notre-dame-de-paris.monuments-nationaux.fr/fr/bdd/page/visites

http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com

http://www.louvre.fr/en

http://arc-de-triomphe.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

How to make the most of your trip to Paris

Staying in Paris for just over 7 days has allowed me to explore in detail. Not being rushed or pressed for time I find myself discovering more than I could ever imagine. Being able to communicate relatively well with the locals has also helped too. So I am here to give you a somewhat comprehensive guide to Paris.

Let’s start with the obvious, because despite my better judgement I failed to get a non-slip sole put on my boots and had an untimely fall down the very old and very smooth Metro steps. A short visit to the Hospital and a few stitches later my life would have been a whole lot easier if I just got the non-slip sole. So my first tip to you is either watch you step or bring shoes with good grip.

As most tourists do they head straight to the Eiffel Tower, and why wouldn’t you ? It ‘s iconic, it’s breathtaking and it’s probably the main reason you travelled to Paris in the first place. Well before you head to the very, very long wait to the summit (you are looking at a minimum 3 hour wait on average), plan ahead. The website has been provided below for the opening times relevant to your visit. There is also a vast price (and wait) difference between the lift and stair entry. If you want to take your luck that the weather will be good you have the option of pre purchasing your tickets, anything to avoid those queue’s I say. The website to pre-purchase your tickets are also provided below.

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If you are taking advantage of the European summer and travelling in June, let it be know that the Paririan’s refer to it as “Gloom June” due to its unpredictable and gloomy/overcast feel. So while you are in the area why not take a boat cruise if the weather holds up. Bateaux Parisian is hands down my favourite, I have taken this cruise a number of times and cannot recommend it highly enough. Offering commentary in 8 languages you are provided with an insider’s history of the building that make Paris so great.

Lovers from all around the world make their way to Pont des Arts (or more commonly known as Lovers Lock Bridge) connecting to Musee du Louvre. On the Museum side of the bridge, just at the entrance, you can get a great shot of the Eiffel Tower, on the other, an equally fantastic snap of the Louvre. No matter where you position yourself on the Bridge there are many great photo opportunities. A kind warning though, the ancient Pont des Arts Bridge has undergone some unwilling construction as the weight of the locks forced a part of the Bridge to crumble. There has been some local controversy surrounding the placing of locks on this precious landmark and a request has been made that tourists cease.

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That’s all for now, next post will be about my favourite view’s in Paris.

http://www.toureiffel.paris/en.html

http://ticket.toureiffel.fr/index-css5-sete-pg1-lgen.html

http://www.bateauxparisiens.com/cruise-tours-paris/sightseeing-cruise-paris.html

 

 

Living like a Parisian

Spite a number of setbacks I am still so in awe with Paris. First I caught a cold, then I was unable to master the technique required to open my apartment door and was locked out for over 45 minutes on my first night. Sick and extremely tired all I wanted to do was go to sleep. It’s safe to say a few tears and frantic phone calls were made that night. Then, as I was making my way to my Viator Tour of the Loire Valley that I was so looking foward to, I fell down the stairs in the Metro resulting in a busted elbow and some stitches. All this and only two days in.

Nonetheless I got on with it and made the most of my time in Paris, spending the day exploring. I dscovered beautiful architecture everywhere I turned and walking along the River Seine made for a delightful day. I have rented an apartment in the Latin Quarter from http://www.my-apartment-in-paris.com who have a vast range of apartments for rent and communicate well in English with their clients. This one in particular is in a very central location and secure building. With the Metro, cafe’s, the River Seine and Notre-Dame Cathedrale at your door. I highly suggest a visit to this website if you are staying for a week or more. Having access to a kithcen and washing machine is pricesless. Besides being in such a central location allowed us to return to the apartment for meal breaks most days, thus saving quite a bit of money.

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As someone who travels a lot, I love free things, free visits especially and even more, free tours. http://www.discoverwalks.com/paris-walking-tours/ provide free walking tours all over paris in various locations and times. You pay what you feel like at the end in form of a tip.Bonus: English speaking guides and a locals introduction to Paris.

For history buffs like me, Les Invalides should be high on your list of places to visit. This is the old quarters for injured soldiers turned into a Military Museum, housing Napoleon’s Tomb. It is best value for money if you rent an audio guide, available in many languages, as it guides you around the enormous museum. You can choose themed tours, focusing on just Napoleon himself, Charles de Gaulle or both the World Wars, plus a variety of other information. The battery life of the Ipod lasts 3 hours and they are more than happy for you to return it for a recharged one, they want nothing more than for you to fully enjoy your experience.

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I’ll say one thing about the French, spite their somewhat bad reputation at times, they love their city. Nothing gives me pleasure than walking around one of the many Parisian gardens watching people lunch, play and simply enjoy their city and the sunshine. Jardin du Luxembourg is also at my doorstep and is a beautiful garden well worth a visit and a stroll. Fantastic views no matter where you place yourself, with the Palace and fountain at one end and the Eiffel Tower behind it.

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That’s all for now, off to do some more exploring today.

Enjoy !