Euro Trip 2014 – Paris, France
Paris, The 3rd destination of our Euro Trip, an iconic city of light has inspired all of the lovebirds around the globe to complete their love story.
Day 1: Getting Headache with The Public Transportations
Paris have 5 types of public transports, Rail (Metro, RER, SNCF, Tramway) and Bus. Paris boasts one of the world’s safest and most efficient public transportation systems. Trains usually arrive on time; buses are well-appointed and clean, and commuter express (“RER”) trains service the city’s most important stops in record time. What’s not to love?
Parisians eschew cars so much that trains and buses are more often than not overcrowded– and Paris being the world’s top tourist destination doesn’t help matters. For another, most Paris metro lines lack air-conditioning. It also notoriously lacking where accessibility to disabled visitors is concerned. It has the endless tunnels and stairs that snake through the Paris underground, but after a day visiting the city, the lack of elevators or escalators in some stations can be a real headache.
And one the most important thing if you travel to Paris, keep aware of your surrounding, there are a lot of pickpockets that will try to take advance of your unawareness in crowded place like Metro station or Eiffel tower. This is the reason why we recommend you to pack your bag with important stuff only (camera, phone, money & passport). And never judge a book by its cover, because an old lady to a really cute boy can be one of them.
The Paris metro has around 300 stations, their entrances marked by a big yellow “M”, and 16 lines, numbered from 1 to 14, 3 bis and 7 bis. Each line has a colour, which you’ll find on signs in the stations and on all the RATP maps. Connections between lines make your journey easy to plan. For an idea of your journey time, allow an average of 2 minutes per station and add 5 minutes for each connection.
Don’t hesitate to travel by bus, it’s a great way to discover the city. There are a wide variety of routes, many of which go though the city centre, along the Seine River banks or through well-known historical areas.
The RER is a huge rail network covering most of the Ile-de-France region. It consists of 5 lines referred to by the letters A, B, C, D and E. Within Paris, the RER operates in more or less the same way as the metro, except that you need to put your ticket through the automatic barriers a second time on the way out. If your RER station has a connection with the metro, you can use the same ticket for the whole journey.
Tickets and Passes – What Kind Should You Buy?
Tickets and passes can be purchased at any metro, RER or tramway station, and when boarding buses. They are also available at Paris Tourist information centers around the city, and can sometimes be found at newsstands or tabacs (tobacco sellers).
A single metro ticket costs €1.70, and can be used for one journey, including all connections. White-coloured tickets can be purchased singly or in a book of 10 (“carnet”) for €13,30, at the ticket offices or machines in metro stations, and also in some tobacconists.
Keep hold of your ticket until you have completed your journey, as you may be asked to show it if tickets are being inspected. If you cannot produce proof of payment for the ticket inspectors, you may risk paying a fine. This ticket, valid for zones 1 and 2, allows you to travel anywhere in Paris, and even beyond, since it will take you to the end of each metro line, even if it is located in zone 3 (as for example La Défense on line 1).
In the RER, as long as you remain within the city limits, tickets and prices are identical to the metro.
On the buses, you use the same tickets as in the metro, with no limit of distance. The bus driver can sell single tickets, be sure to have the correct change. Your ticket is only valid for a single journey, with no connections. You will need another ticket if you change on to a different bus route or connect with another form of public transport. If you plan to travel around a lot, it would be better value to buy a pack of ten tickets (“carnet”) or a travel pass.
Standard “T+” Metro Tickets
Good for: One metro, RER, bus, or tramway ride within Paris (zones 1-2 only), including transfers. You may transfer from the Metro to the RER, but you must use a second ticket to transfer between Metro/RER and buses or tramways. In the RER, you’ll need your ticket to exit the station. Always keep your ticket in hand.
Note that special tickets are required for buses and trains traveling to and from Paris airports.
Read more about the transportation here: http://www.ratp.fr
Day 2: Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Arch De Triomphe & Musee Du Louvre
Yeah… Seriously, it was a long day, we have to catch these 4 iconic landmark of Paris in 1 day. But, thanks to bus number 24 that route us to this 4 landmarks easily. Bus is your best friend if you want to explore the Zone 1 of Paris.
Started with Notre Dame Cathedral, we arrived by bus 24 from our apartment near Gare Du Lion Area. Notre Dame is a historic Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of Paris, France. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and it is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world.
From the cathedral we headed to the iconic landmark of Paris, Eiffel tower. When the first time it built in 1889, the tower was initially criticised by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.
Since Eiffel tower is the most-visited monument in the world, you will facing a really crowded area especially on the weekend. Therefore you really need to be aware of pickpocket that might be around you. We also recommend you to avoid some women that will ask you about “speak English?” these groups of people are scam who will ask you for charity with a minimum amount of money. So try to avoid them.
Next, we headed to Arch De Triomphe, one of the most famous monuments in Paris, stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, a boulevard in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, 1.9 kilometres long and 70 metres wide, which runs between the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle. Champs-Élysées is famous for its theatres, cafés and luxury shops, and for the military parade that takes place each year on the avenue on 14 July to celebrate Bastille Day. You should not be confused with a smaller arch. Since there is 2 Arch in Paris, the second one is the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre Museum.
Musee Du Louvre, is one of the world’s largest museums and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, France, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine. Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square meters. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is the Louvre’s most popular attraction.
Day 3: Montmartre, Moulin Rouge & Pont Des Arts
Montmartre is a hill in the north of Paris, France. It is 130 meters high and gives its name to the surrounding district, a part of the Right Bank. Montmartre is primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur on its summit and as a nightclub district. Many artists had studios or worked in or around Montmartre, including Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro and Vincent van Gogh.
Near the Montmartre, there is a district called Pigalle, famous for being a tourist district, with many sex shops, theaters and adult shows on Place Pigalle and the main boulevards. The Divan du Monde and the Moulin Rouge, a world-famous cabaret, are both located in Pigalle. The area to the south of Place Pigalle is devoted to the retail of musical instruments and equipment, especially for popular music. A section of the rue de Douai consists solely of stores selling guitars, drums, and musical accessories.
Pigalle is a well known spot for tourists who want to experience “Paris by night”. It is home to some of Paris’ most famous cabarets (Moulin Rouge, for instance, was immortalized by artist Toulouse-Lautrec as well as Hollywood), as well as topless and nude shows. 🙂
The Pont des Arts or Passerelle des Arts is a pedestrian bridge in Paris which crosses the River Seine. It links the Institut de France and the central square of the Palais du Louvre.
Since late 2008, tourists have taken to attaching padlocks (love locks) with their first names written or engraved on them to the railing or the grate on the side of the bridge, then throwing the key into the Seine river below, as a romantic gesture. This gesture is said to represent a couple’s committed love. Although this is not a French tradition and has only been taking place in Paris since the end of 2008, with locks occasionally being cut off by city workers, since 2012 the number of locks covering the bridge has become overwhelming, with locks being attached upon other locks. In February 2014, Le Monde estimated that there were over 700,000 locks; with the 2014 summer tourist season, many thousands more have since been added, creating a serious safety concern for city authorities and an aesthetic issue for Parisians.
And yes, we were noticed on it after we installed our padlock on the bridge… Ups…. :p
The Last Night in Paris
Well 3 days in Paris was really a sort amount of time to enjoy the beauty of the city. So on the last night in Paris, we decided to take a Seine river cruise tour with Bateaux Vedettes du Pont Neuf. From the Louvre Museum to the Cathedral Notre-Dame, passing by the Eiffel Tower, we can discover the most beautiful monuments in Paris the time of a cruise on our boats along the Seine. The cruise departs from Paris’ oldest bridge, the Pont-Neuf, lasts an hour and is commented by friendly guides in french and in english. Recommended if you want to save time & listen to the untold story of every landmark in Paris.
Next Euro Trip Day 11-13: Rome, Italy