Duration: 6 days Date: May 31st, 2016 Hotel: Novotel Paris Centre Gare, Montparnasse Cost: £242
My travel journey began with a 7-day trip to France’s capital city, recognized worldwide for its lavish arts, fashion and culture. With little interest in art and fashion, it was a good start. I am a massive pre-travel planner, as I like to make sure I do not miss a thing. All my travel buddies receive the famous schedule emails, much to their despair… Here’s my guide to not missing a thing in Paris.
Day one: Exploring Montparnasse.
Day two: Disney Land Paris.
Day three: PSG football ground, The French Open The French Open – Roland Garros.
Day four: Eiffel Tower, La Louvre, Notre Dame, Grand Palais.
Day five: Champs-Élysées, Arc De Triomphe, Montparnasse Tower.
Day six: Moulin Rouge.
Montparnasse: I stayed in a beautiful neighbourhood on the left bank of the river Seine, Montparnasse. The area was a little more than a stone throw from the centre as it was close to many metro stations with links all over Paris. The metro, ‘Pasteur’ – a five-minute walk away from the hotel takes you directly into the centre within 6 minutes. Montparnasse being slightly out of the centre meant the neighbourhood had a more relaxed feel that was perfect to return to in the evenings after tackling the busier sides of Paris. With plenty of sightseeing, bars, restaurants and supermarkets in the area, I could not recommend it more as a place to stay in Paris.
Being a typical tourist:
Although it rained quite frequently whilst I was there, it does not stop you from doing all the essential tourist things Paris has to offer such as visiting The River Seine, Arc de triumph, La Louvre, Notre Dame, Moulin Rouge, and Champs-Élysées. As all these places are fairly close it makes it easier to get everything into one visit. Everything, and I mean literally everything is easily accessed by metro and is also pretty well sign posted. Once you’ve travelled the wrong direction on it about seven times like we did, it’s quite easy to get the hang of.
Eiffel Tower – A must see (hard to not see) attraction in Paris, is the Eiffel tower. Built in 1889 at a pretty impressive 1063 feet tall. We decided to travel up the tower for the small cost of 5 euros. Typically, the lift was out of the use meaning we had to WALK every – single – bloody – stair. To be more specific, or more so that you can feel my pain, I had to walk all 1710 of them. Brilliant. Fortunately, I wore trainers, unlike my friend who wore flips flops. Tragic. After avoiding cardiac arrest and hearing my friend flip and flop up a total of almost 2000 steps, the breath-taking view was definitely worth the trek.
Disney Land – A kind of ‘must’ visit attraction. Disney Land Paris, although not as central as you may think is about an hour away from the centre by train. We hopped on at the train station ‘Nation’ and took a 35-minute journey to ‘Gare de Marne la Vallée Chessy’ where the park is located.
The food was pretty terrible and pricey so would highly recommend packing a lunch. We ate at Chalet de la Marionette, ultimately a Pinocchio themed restaurant. Cannot be sure whether it was the rides or the food but my friend preceded to throw up in a bag after eating a burger from here – tragic. Not to mention the bag was just purchased from the Disney store full of gifts for the family, again – tragic. First the flip-flop incident and now this, I really must look into finding new friends.
The rides were pretty amazing. Space Mountain had to be my favourite due to the drops, speed and colourful laser beams. Buzz Lightyear Lazer blast was fun too as you get your own gun and can compete with other people. I would definitely recommend getting a fast track ticket in the park if like me you are not the biggest fan of queuing for rides.
Being a not-so typical tourist:
The French Open: Roland Garros (tennis) – As a massive sports fan this was by far my highlight of Paris and in fact my favourite sporting event to have attended so far. Sat (with an umbrella) in the middle of Paris watching two world No 1’s (at the time) Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams play on the clay was incredible. My friend whose sporting interest falls more than short claimed this to be her favourite experience of the trip also, speaking volumes. The atmosphere is genuinely indescribable. For any other sports fanatics like myself you can also visit Paris Saint-Germain’s football ground and do a tour for 22 euros.
– If you’re planning on visiting Paris around late May – June then I cannot recommend this experience enough. It is also surprisingly cheap at around £50 for a Philippe Chatrier ticket (centre court) that also gives you access to the majority of the lower courts for the day too. –Montparnasse tower – This tower namely located in Montparnasse provided me with a sight to behold. Fortunately, the lift worked this time meaning the flip-flops could be back in prominent action. You can visit in the day for a small price as well as at night. We decided to go up at night as it gifts amazing views of the Eiffel Tower lit up in all its glory.
Moulin Rouge – With prices ranging from 105 euros to a whopping 420 we gave the Moulin rouge an admirable glance from outside and nothing more. It is pretty impressive to see it in person especially if like me you are a massive fan of the film. The street it is found in is an experience in itself with lots of questionable shops and habitants. I have heard it is lit up nicely at night if you feel like taking a late night stroll – good luck.Due to a LOT of rain prior to our visit, The Seine had flooded meaning there was no option for a boat tour like we had hoped. La Louvre was closed due to the floods and consequently poor Mona Lisa had been taken into hiding to stop her getting wet, shame. On a positive note, it meant there was reason to return.
With the Seine flooding closing a lot of main attractions, the rain making sure it stayed that way, throwing up in Disney Lands finest bags and flip-flopping to the top of the Eiffel tower, Paris could not have met more expectations. I cannot wait to return.
MY MUST DO’S:
- Morning croissants – literally found on every street corner, cannot resist.
- BAGUETTES – they are nothing like the ones at home.
- Moulin Rouge (if you can afford to go inside, even better).
- Roland Garros – the French Open (have I sold it enough yet, I don’t work there, promise).
- Disney Land (buy the Mickey Mouse ears, makes for a good picture)
- Montparnasse tower.
Have you ever been to Paris or stayed in Montparnasse? I am definitely looking to visit again at the end of this year, leave a comment and let me know!
Till the next one,