From the series of my Paris travel blogs, this place is known for having the most beautiful landmark in the city – Jardin de Luxembourg, which dates back to 1612.
Jardin du Luxembourg – FREE 17th-century park built with the Luxembourg Palace (former Royal residence), with well laid paths and manicured gardens, statues and benches to enjoy your family picnic under the sun shine. There is an octagonal shaped lake at the centre of this garden. The garden is home to Senat, famous statues like Statue Paul Verlaine, Statue de la Liberté, and Marie De Medicis fountain. Closeby, there is another garden – Jardin des Grands Explorateurs which leads to the great 2 minute pit stop for Fontaine de l’Observatoire. A 1873 fountain, made of bronze is located towards the southern tip of the garden.
Mineralogy Museum – FREE for under 12 A school of mines with a largest and notable collection of minerals, rocks, meteorites & gems. Tip – Closed on Sundays, Mondays and national holidays + on Saturdays (Jul-Aug). For general admission it is €6 and discounted is €3 accepts only cash payments.
Musée du Luxembourg – FREE for under 16 Love artworks in the form of paintings? Check this museum which has plenty of impressive collection from Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and temporary exhibitions. Book tickets here.
Église Saint-Sulpice – FREE Classical 17th century Roman Catholic church which was designed by an Italian architect.
Catholic Church of the Val-de-Grâce – FREE Most beautiful church in France known for its notable dome structure. However, It is now served as a military hospital.
Bonjour! Paris is the most visited city in the world, also known as the ‘La Ville Lumiere’ aka city of lights. It gets it’s nickname as suggested from the theories in the past that Paris was the first of the European cities to adopt gas street lightning and perhaps also to have the centre of education and innovation.
Through my blog I’ll take you on my trip to Paris that we explored on foot which is an average of 15 km per day, (the route along the Seine is my favourite one). The places are in the order of our walking trail from one end of the city to the other, might help you to plan, if you’re looking for an itinerary area-wise or day-wise.
Let us have a quick glance at the divisional districts in the Paris city which is also known as quarters. Below, I have mentioned only the ones I have travelled to. (PS: the below links would be updated once I have completed the detailed blog 😀 so keep watching this space )
France falls under the Schengen region of the Europe which means you should have a Schengen visa while travelling to France. However, the Schengen countries have a border treaty, which means you are free to roam from one Schengen country to the other without any border control in the Europe.
The best and the easiest way to get around Paris is to walk. Central Paris is compact and we covered the whole of it on foot. You can also cycle around, as Paris is well equipped for cyclists and rental bikes.
Arriving in Paris:
Ferry Calais is the connecting link from the Eurotunnel.
Air Charles de Gaulle is the main airport to the north of the city. Take RER line B to reach Chatelet (city) and then metro services within the city (about 40 mins). Orly airport is to the south of Paris. There are frequent bus and train services towards the city. Bus would be the best choice from Orly to connect towards the city.
Train The train connectivity is very frequent with services to and from Amsterdam, Bonn, Brussels, Cologne, Lille, Basel, Luxembourg, Vienna, Geneva, Lyon, Milan, Rome, Zurich, Barcelona, Madrid, London (Eurostar) and many more. We arrived from London via the Eurostar on the English channel, one of the best train travels I’ve witnessed.
To travel longer distances from Paris city, we used RER (underground in Paris) and Metro. I found them to be convenient and a cheaper option to cover any distance that we couldn’t walk. Metro tickets are valid on RER as well. RER is very useful if you’re travelling to & fro the airport or outside Paris to Paris city. You may also use the buses, operated by RATP (which runs the Metro), which means you can use the same ticket on bus & train. There are Trams too in the city centre which again is operated by RATP.
Food in Paris: Taste for good cuisine is the greatest pleasure for Parisians. You will find a lot of bistros, tearooms and cafes all over.
If you’re a vegetarian like me it’s a bit difficult to survive in Paris as there are very few vegetarian options to indulge into. I indulge into different types of local produce like breads, croissants, cheese and pastries in Europe.
Budget travellers can pick up food from Monoprix chain of supermarket for the on-the-go lunch and snacks. We usually do a lot of on the go as we love eating and walking down the streets than sit in a fancy restaurant (time-constrained travellers).
For non-vegetarians, don’t forget to dive into the traditional French cuisine like steak frites, cassoulet and confit of duck.
Classic french cuisine to try – Escargots la bourguignon (snails), Moules mariniere (mussels), Coq au vin (chicken)…if you know any others to suggest please drop it in the comments below.
Visit the tourist information desk in Paris near Jardin des Tuileries for maps, tickets, brochures and city related information and help.
Most of the museums charge admission fee, however, if you’re under 18 years of age & resident of EU, you are admitted free of charge.
Senior citizens and students have great discounts at museums, cinemas and monuments (upto 25%) if they provide a valid proof of age.
Openings hours might be 10am to 6pm, don’t forget to check before you visit. National museums in Paris are closed on Tuesdays.
Check this pass for better family/tourist discounts. I didn’t use it as it didn’t suit my travel requirements.
In France, the electric voltages are 220v and only round pin chargers fit into the sockets. I had to buy an adapter from the supermarket (cheapest option) as the British and Indian chargers didn’t fit into the socket.
Call 112 – Police/ambulance/fire services for any emergency.
Euro is the only currency used in Paris. Make sure you exchange your cash from reliable sources. If not, carry travel cards like we did. All major credit cards like Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Keep some coins and cash handy for street food/shopping.
Last but not the least, this is my personal request and tip to all travellers. Please don’t bring/buy too much plastic with you when you travel. Carry your lunch boxes and refillable (good grade) water bottles. I drank tap water from refilling stations and restaurants and I’m still alive. Your future generation will thank me 🙂
Paris is a beautiful and overrated place to get lost…go and see it for yourself don’t blindly trust me 😛 Hope you find this blog helpful. Let me know in the comments 🙂
Feeling famished already, we walk to our coach and inspect all the numbered seats. “Look this one’s ours, you can take the window seat”, exclaimed Ravi. I smiled and cruised myself through the luggage’s and passengers waiting to pass by. We arranged our backpacks overhead the seats.
“Let’s have our dinner baby, we’re hungry”, said Ravi as his hands gently enter the food bag giving me options for dinner. Let’s eat the wraps first, else it’ll go stale until tomorrow. We hogged on the homemade wraps with vegetable stuffing and cheese (the stuffing used here is a fudgy version of Pav Bhaji from Indian cuisine). Not happy with just one, I’m obliged to take another serving assuring that its my last one. It’s a blessing when you travel with a partner who is a master chef & an outdoor expert. Imagine how Doraemon (Japanese Anime character), surprises Nobita with his magic pocket (wormhole), that’s exactly how Ravi is to me.
The adrenaline rush makes us stay awake all our journey through the English Channel. An hour later, we indulge in sipping some hot English coffee from our thermos. Tip – Don’t carry any separate mug, instead use the cap as a mug. The hot beverage slipped into our throats sipping in alternative turns and embracing the warmth seeping inside our gastro-intestinal track 😀
It was a working day for us, the day began at 05.00 and at 23.30 now, it still doesn’t seem to end. We’re now tired and all we crave is for a flat surface to rest our back at, at times your body fails to understand the support mechanism of the recliners over time. That’s the spooky truth of being a full time working yet a backpacker.
We arrive at Gare du Nord in Paris at 23.45, and have to rush to the local SNFC train to reach our accommodation. We always prefer public transport anywhere round the globe, against uber or taxi. As we reach Paris, we had to be well versed with the transport especially during the night. And that’s where all my research comes into play 😉
My next blog will help you discover Paris from the eyes of a backpacker…