How and where does one start talking about Paris?? I honestly couldn't figure out... So I decided to divide our four days in Paris into a 4 Part Series of Blog Entries in hope that I can share with your all that I saw and loved and then a few special features...
Day 1 Paris:
The Day actually began the night before when I could barely sleep with excitement and tossed and turned practically the whole night through before finally getting up at 5am to get set and take the 8.15am Eurostar to Paris.
Eurostar Tip: Personally, I found the best Eurostar deals on the Eurostar page itself, I don't know if it was a consequence of booking just a week before the trip but I found tickets at cheap at 70GBP per person return, however, between my finding it and actually booking it (a 7 hour lag) I had missed one of the cheap tickets and Harry and my Tickets ended up costing us 70 and 90 GBP per person.We had an hour's commute to King's Cross so timed it precisely so we would get to the station 30 minutes before departure and therefore would leave the house by 6.35.... Little did we realize what we were in for... The Metropolitan Line which we were hoping to take all the way to Kings Cross was terminating at Baker St and replacement buses were functioning which meant we would not make it to the Train FULLSTOP. Long story short, an hour of panic, calling taxi cabs and running from platform to platform later... we boarded the Eurostar 2 minutes before departure (Not Recommended) and were on our way to Paris.
London Travel Tip: MUST check the Transport for London website before heading anywhere especially if you're visiting before or during Olympics... the Tubes practically come to a standstill on weekendsI'd love to say a thing or two about the journey here but honestly, all I can say was that it was comfortable enough for me to sleep starting from where it rolled out of Kings Cross all the way to when our arrival in Paris was announced.
Upon arriving our biggest dilemma was finding a meeting point with Zub who's train was arriving from Amsterdam 10 minute before ours. Having spent a considerable amount of time online, we had failed to find any concrete leads as to what a good meeting point could be. As a consequence, we had decided that Zub would just come to our platform and wait there. In retrospect, it was simple and worked like a charm.
We took the Metro to our hotel which was merely two stops away...
Paris Metro Tips: The Metro ticket to any destination between Zone 1 and 2 costs 1.70 Euros. If you foresee yourself being on the Metro for more than 4 times in a day, Daily pass is your best option. OR a 'book of ten' costs 12 Euros bringing the ticket cost down to 1.20 Euros. Be especially aware of getting swindled as soon as you land as many 'helpful' locals will try approaching you with a single journey ticket for as insane an amount as 10 Euros offering guidance... Honestly, just brave the ticket line... Almost all Ticket and Information Booth operators speak fluent English and will be able to help you with any query.I would take the opportunity here to RAVE about the hotel we ended up booking. For anyone keeping an eye on the budget, Hotel Chamonix by far one of the best hotels to stay. While it's not in one of the most beautiful and historical neighborhoods itself, it is literally a 5 minute walk from the Metro, 25 minutes walk to both Monmarte and Latin Quarters in either direction, A stone throw from Marais, Clean and Spacious Rooms (The pictures on the website actually look like the rooms on ground), Spotless Bathrooms, Brilliant Housekeeping, Free Wifi, English Speaking staff at the front desk and the works!!
As soon as we checked in, we were ready to head out... And this lead us to Discover Walks, probably one of our better decisions at the time. The Company boasts a list of tip supported 'Walking Tours' lead by locals wearing a Bright Pink Vests making them easy to spot. The tour we selected, was called 'Paris Landmarks' and was fabulous for a first timers first day orientation in Paris. Phillipe our guide relayed an animated account of the sites we stopped at. The tour is recommended for anyone who can walk about two hours and definitely not for those who can't take humor at the expense of British Monarchy.
Google Map Tip: I don't know which sprinter Google Maps has hired but when it says 10 minutes walk, read 15 minutes for a normal person and 25-30 minutes if you're 6 months pregnant.
Finally an hour later, we found ourselves at the hotel having walked through some of the most beautiful side streets of the 1st and 2nd Arrondissements, BUT dead tired and absolutely dehydrated given the 34 degrees outside. We all freshened up and.... fell Asleep!
Later in the evening, we decided to head to Latin Quarters for a meal. This in retrospect is my personal favorite part of town because I'm not the one to live in Museums and here in St Germain and Latin Quarters you observe Paris first hand. Luckily, the evening was beautiful, the walk along the river beautifully lit up and the weather was beyond pleasant. Having landed at 'Pont Neuf' Metro station, we walked to St Michel, standing absolutely shell shocked by the beauty of Notre Dame lit up at night. And then, following that with what I will always look back as one of the most beautiful night time strolls of my life....
In our excitement, we actually forgot to sit and each which meant takeaway at 12.30am before heading back to the hotel and once again being silly enough to take Google's word for the 15 minutes walk :)) This time, we discovered the 3rd and 4th Arrondissements of Le Marais...