Hi guys, Welcome to my first travel post! So I’ve been to Europe two times in the past two years and it’s honestly such an amazing experience. The first time I went with Family and we traveled to France and Italy. Paris had been on my bucket list since I was a little girl and it was honestly so much better than I expected it to be! The second time, I went with friends and we traveled to 6 countries, all by road so it was a really awesome experience because we saw the beautiful country-side, we experienced 6 really different cultures which were all similar yet so different and beautiful in their own ways. I loved every bit of it and so here I am, sharing my experience with you guys.
Let me start off with one of the most popular dream destinations! I’m pretty sure this one’s on everybody’s bucket list because Paris is the city of great french food, wines, fashion, cosmetics and of course, love! This city has something for everyone!
Accommodation and In-City Travel
The first time I went to Paris was with my family. We didn’t go on a package tour or anything so we had to explore the city on our own. We traveled by Metro and stayed in a 3 star hotel in the main city.
Pro Tip: When choosing a hotel, I’d recommend going for one that is close to a metro station so that it is easily accessible.
I’ll be honest with you guys, the hotels in the main city are REALLY expensive. So if you’re on a budget, I’d recommend a 3 star. The one we stayed in was very hygienic and comfortable. We booked a suite that had two adjoining rooms and one shared bathroom. The rooms were extremely small, however they were clean, comfortable and budget friendly. The breakfast buffet was to die for! Especially if you’re coming from India. They had a spread of different kinds of fresh breads, cold cuts, jams, and yogurt. Waffles, Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon, the works! The quality of the food was top notch.
When I went with friends, we stayed at Hotel Mercure Paris, near the Charles De Gaulle Airport. It was a little further away from the city but since we had booked a private bus for our entire tour, we were okay with the distance. This hotel had some great breakfast options as well, but it wasn’t as great as the hotel I’d stayed in with my family.
While in Paris, we explored the city on our own. Our first stop was OBVIOUSLY the Eiffel Tower. As beautiful as it looks in pictures, the Eiffel tower is a hundred times more gorgeous in real life. We took a few photos and bought a couple of souvenirs from the street vendors.
Pro tip: If you’re planning to go to Paris, please be very careful of your belongings. Its really easy to get carried away by the beauty of The Eiffel tower, however that area especially is said to have a lot of pick-pocketers and gamble thieves who trick you into giving them your money.
As with all tourist spots, there was a really long waiting time to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower, however, the view was totally worth the wait. It was really breathtaking to be able to see a bird’s eye view of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Pro Tip: It was also extremely windy and cold up there so be sure to carry a warm jacket up with you if you’re travelling in the colder months.
After the Eiffel Tower, we took the hop on tourist buses and saw the other famous Parisian spots such as Notre Dame, Arc de triomph, Roue de Paris, etc. All of them were a real treat to the eyes. The Hop on buses are extremely easy and convenient to travel by so I’d definitely recommend them when in Europe.
Because my brother, dad and cousin are football fans, we also went to Parc des Princes Stadium which belongs to the football club Paris Saint Germain. Again, we took the metro to get here. It was a great sight and an awesome experience to see the stadium where the European football clubs play. If you’re a football fan, this is one place you just can’t miss when you’re in Paris. I picked up a couple of keychains and an Ibrahamovich bobblehead from the souvenir store which make for great keepsakes and bring back memories when I look at them.
Another place we visited was the Grevin Wax Museum which housed wax statues of a lot of famous personalities. And I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty starstruck when I got here, so I have a LOT of embarrassing photos of myself alongside some famous celebs! 😛
We also took a river cruise along River Seine which was really beautiful. We got to see the Eiffel Tower at night through the boat while sipping on some great french wine and eating a 4 course french meal and it was amazing to see it lit up in all it’s glory.
We visited the Louvre and saw the painting of Mona Lisa, which in my opinion is a little overrated, but history buffs would love it. We also saw a lot of different paintings and sculptures which were beautiful to look at. We did what all tourists do and took photos with the Glass pyramid outside the Louvre.
Pro Tip: While planning your itinerary, please keep in mind that the Louvre is shut on Tuesdays! So plan your day out at the Louvre on any other day.
We also went to the love lock bridge. The first time I went to Paris, it still existed and was extremely beautiful. It took my heart away to see couples writing their initials on locks and locking them onto the bridge while throwing the key into the river. The second time I visited Paris, the locks were gone because they decided to take them off since they were weighing down the bridge.
One thing you should keep in mind when in Europe is that the eateries shut very early as compared to India. Europeans, especially the French enjoy every bit of their lives and take the work-life balance concept very seriously.
We ate at quaint little local French restaurants throughout our trip and the food was really tasty. I’d recommend eating at the non-touristy areas so as to be able to experience authentic french cuisine. Try out wines, cheeses and french desserts when in Paris and they’re sure to please your taste buds. Also, McDonalds! If you’re not very experimental with food, McDonalds will be your favourite place. And trust me, the McDonalds in Paris, is nothing like what we have in India. They’ve got amazing burgers. I especially loved the beef and bacon burgers, they were really mouthwatering. They also had really yummy salads and the desserts were to die for. Another joint I’d recommend is The Creperie, they have very delicious crepes in different combinations.
When in France, you cannot leave without trying out Macarons. I’d recommend Laduree. If you haven’t heard of this place, I’m pretty sure you’re living under a rock. My obsession with Laduree started when I used to watch Blair from Gossip girl eat only Laduree Macarons and I’ve wanted to get my hands on them since then! You can find Laduree stores all over Paris. Zomato is your best friend and will help you locate your nearest Laduree. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper option, McDonalds in France has great Macarons as well!
While a lot of things are extremely expensive in Paris, there are things that are cheaper as well. Champs Elysees is the place to be for your high end shopping needs. The streets at champs Elysees have your run of the mill high end brands like Chanel, Gucci, Prada, YSL, the works! However, there are your affordable brands like H&M, Zara, Forever 21 as well. Also, If you’re a beauty buff like me, you’ll find that Sephora in Paris is pretty cheap as compared to the one in India, I’m guessing its because most of the product are manufactured there.
I also went to the Fragonard Perfume House which had a lot of high end perfumes. So if perfumes are your thing, this is one place you’d love. Although I love perfume, I wouldn’t really shell out big bucks for it. I’m more of a bath and body works kinda gal, so I didn’t pick up any perfumes from here.
For street shopping, I’d recommend souvenir shops. They have the cutest little things at very cheap rates. You can also try bargaining with them. I picked up this cute Beret from there.
Pro Tip: They’re sure to give you a discount if a large group buys together! I bought super cute charm bracelets, earrings, and little trinkets to take back home for my friends from such shops.
Disneyland truly was the happiest place on earth! Whether you’re a kid or an adult, you’re sure to enjoy yourself here. It is a little far from the city, however, it is accessible by metro and that’s how we traveled to the place. The rides were a lot of fun, so were the disney themed food joints. My favourite part of the whole experience was the Disney parade towards the end. This place is sure to bring out the child in you! It was a real treat watching all my favourite disney characters come to life right in front of my very eyes.
So that’s all for now! Let me know in the comments below if you plan on going to Paris or if you’ve already been there before. Stay tuned for my next post on Italy! Until next time 🙂