14 April 2014

Travels | AL in Paris - Part 1

I had been to Paris when I was a teenager, but that wasn't to roam the aisles of Citypharma (although that served as a motivator this time round)!  So last summer we decided to go on a short break to Paris.  We travelled to London by train and took the Eurostar to Paris.  I was surprised at how quick it was – I think it took me longer to get to London!

We got off at Gare du Nord at Paris around 10 am. 
I have to say for an international train station, it wasn't the best for tourists.  We had to circle the station for about 35 minutes before an Australian living in Paris, gave us her own map!  I was eternally grateful for her act of kindness.  Lesson 1: take your own map!

Fred Hotel Room, Paris
Then we started to make our own way to the hotel, Fred Hotel (http://en.fred-hotel.com/).  I booked this without any real recommendation – as decision based on the bargain price and high tripadvisor rating!  It is hidden away a little, and doesn’t look massive from the outside, but it was one of the best hotels I have stayed in.  The location is very good, as it’s a 2-3 minute walk from a metro station.  There are bakeries, a small supermarket and a Monoprix nearby, so we didn’t bother getting any food at the hotel.

On a side note, make sure you have coins, because the metro ticket machines only take coins, if its cash – you have to go to the counter and they usually have huge queues! Lesson 2: always carry coin euros!

This is something we were warned about by the hotel manager, to watch our belongings closely.  Apparently, Paris is notorious for professional pickpockets, so really keep valuables close. Don’t leave your bag unzipped, don’t store things in pockets, try and hang your backpack in front of you, when you’re out and about.

We were only in Paris for 3 days – so we had a detailed sightseeing plan!

Day 1

I made a cheeky trip to Citypharma!  It had to be done!  I heard the best time to go is in the morning, so I was there ready with my list and a basket.  You can read about my Paris haul here.  

We got to the hotel, changed and ate then decided to hit the ‘Love Lock’ bridge.  It was lovely because it wasn't packed with people and there were tourist boats going under the bridge.  It was really nice to see all the locks with couples names/initials on them.  There were a few people there selling locks at extortionate prices! Lesson 4: Take your own lock if you intend to ‘lock’ it on the bridge.

Love Lock Bridge, Paris
Love Lock Bridge, Paris
Newly wed couple near Love Lock bridge, Paris

Then about 6 o’clock we made our way to the Eiffel Tower.  It was more glorious than I remembered.  Just beautiful!  We made our way to the top in the lift and took insane amount of pictures and selfies.  As it was summer, it was light till about 10 pm, but we decided to stay till it was dark to see Paris in all its glory.  It was a sight worth standing 6-7 hours for!  The top platform was bursting with people for the same reason, to see the city lights from one of the highest architectures in the world!

I'll leave you with some breathtaking views from the top of the Eiffel Tower.  

Stay tuned to read about day 2 and 3! Let me know if you've enjoyed reading about our trip to Paris, I might do some others :)

Bir-Hakeim Metro Station, Paris

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