*Updated new pictures from my latest trip in June 2016
Official Language: French
$1 = 0.9 EUR
My husband and I went to visit a friend in Paris. We flew in July from Norway on KLM, making a stop in Schiphol-Amsterdam and it cost around €300 for the both of us. We landed in Charles de Gaulle Airport and we stayed for 3 nights. I think this has been by far the most intense 3 days of tourism I have ever done in my life. And I was very grateful that my friend coped with me and took me around to all those places. Paris being one of the world’s top touristic destinations; famous for it’s sights, Parisian fashion and cuisine. There was so much too see and experience in so little time.
As soon as we arrived we took a short lunch at her house and then we headed to Notre Dame Cathedral. We stood in line for a short while and then we explored inside. Then we walked around the Luxembourg Gardens and headed to the Latin Quarter for an early dinner. Many restaurants offered good set deals.
Before going to Paris I had made a list of all the cliché French food that I wanted to try. Boeuf Bourguignon, Fondue, Escargot, Foie Gras, Frog legs, Creme Brulee, Carpaccio, Canard a l’orange, etc. YUM! Everything was delicious. Fondue was a bit strong for my taste and the frog legs just tasted like frying oil. I guess they over fried them or maybe because frogs don’t have that much meat to be able to taste them. Other foods that I also tried were Crêpres, Moule Frites, Quiche, Lemon Tart and Macarons. The best are Ladurée for classic flavors and Hermé Pierre for more extravagant ones. Can’t forget to mention how amazing French Pastries are. One thing that I just couldn’t bring myself to try is Steak Tartare which is raw beef with a raw egg on top.
At Starbucks they have Citron Vanille Boisson glacée et frappée which is basically a Lemon Frappee and I was surprised to find that they also offer donuts. I heard that French people were not big fans of donuts since they have so many other good pastries and that’s why companies like Dunking Donuts haven’t entered this country. And again at McDonald’s they offered donuts, Les Twister Fries which are curly fries, Häagen-Dazs ice cream and of course what couldn’t be missed, Macarons.
What to buy:
The next day we took the Paris Métro and we bought a package of 10 tickets for
€14.10 and hoped that it would be enough for our whole stay. A single ticket cost $1.80. At La Basilique du Sacré Cœur we had to go a few stairs up and from there we could also see a scenic view of Paris. Be careful at the entrance! There are many vendors selling religious items and would often stick it in your hands and then demand money for it. ** Something that I had never heard of before was that you were not allowed to enter any kind of church wearing cloths that showed arms, chest or above the knees. I don’t recall having this kind of problem ever before. But it was a good lesson for later on when I went to Italy and The Vatican also during summer time.
So since it was summer I was wearing shorts and a thank top so of course I got stopped at the entrance. I had to cover my legs with my cardigan and my shoulders with my scarf… in a way that I looked kinda ridiculous… but who cares, right! The neighborhood around Montmartre had many little cute shops and souvenir places. Moulin Rouge is also located here but we didn’t visit it. I heard it can be rather tacky and dirty. Place du Tertre was a great place if you want to buy artsy stuff and you can see artists painting at the plaza.
Then we went to Arc du Triomphe and walked along Champs Elysees which is a long avenue with all the fancy brands and expensive cafes. We didn’t go until the Eiffel Tower but we went to Place du Trocaéro to take this picture. (Before reaching this place we stopped to buy a french Béret and a baguette XD ) This is by far our favorite picture. Many people picnic at Camp de Mars which is right under the Eiffel Tower.
After that, we ate the baguette and headed towards Place du Concorde and saw the Luxor Obelisk. Then we kept walking until Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre. That day was a Tuesday so the Louvre was closed. Other famous museums are Musée d’Orsay and Musée National d’Art Moderne. Also Sainte-Chapelle, Palais Garnier and Centre Pompidou are great touristic sights.
On our last day we drove a couple of hours out of Paris and visited some castles: Château de Chantilly which felt a bit similar in some ways to Château de Versailles with their gold decorations. And Château de Pierrefonds which had a more darker feeling with knight armors and swords. (My husband loved that one) On the opposite side of Paris, four hours away, is Monte Saint-Michel famous also for its architectural composition.
In the evening we drove back to Paris and took the Bateaux Vedettes du Pont Neuf for a boat ride along La Seine river. You could see couples and friends sitting along the river drinking wine and snacking on baguettes and pastries. The scene was very stereotypical that I almost didn’t believe it. We watched the Parisian pink sunset from the boat and it was beautiful. Also the boat passed next to the Eiffel Tower which lit up at night.
After my trip, I couldn’t believe everything I ate/visited during my 3 days in Paris. I don’t think I have ever done such an intense tourism in any other country. We ended up dead tired but it was totally worth it! France is well known for it’s cultural heritage and Paris is the hub of Art, Architecture and Fashion Trends. A great destination for those who love cultural tourism. Safe Travels!
Monet’s House and Garden