Perusing Paris- the city of stairs!

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Where I stayed
Appi Hotel Paris
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, November 29, 2012

We arrived into the main Paris airport 6.30pm and were starving. Not liking our chances of facing the Parisian metro system on an empty stomach we decided to break our *NO MCDONALDS IN EUROPE* rule that had been strictly adhered to up until now. Feeling rather disgusted with ourselves but better fortified, we took the RER train into the heart of Paris.

We managed to find our hotel OK - again thank you Google maps! Our room was on the sixth floor and, being a budget hotel in Paris, there was no elevator. We had to lug our bags up six flights of narrow and unevenly treacherous stairs. We were not very impressed with this place especially as: breakfast was not included; there were only two single beds at opposite ends of the room and we were paying MORE here than we did in Prague!

To try and put ourselves in a better mood we went for a walk to try to find the Seine and a view of the Eiffel Tower. A half hour later we had both and had even made it to the Louvre. I was so excited to see the big glass pyramid. It looked spectacular and we decided that we would come back first thing in the morning to see the Mona Lisa and beat the crowds.

We got back to the Louvre, tickets in hand, just as the doors were opened and the line started moving. Not wanting to be held up by crowds of people we headed straight to the Mona Lisa Room. However, being the major draw card of the museum the painting is housed in its own space and you must go through several other exhibits first. We tried to rush past these but made the amateur mistake of missing a directional sign and ended up on the wrong floor a wee bit lost - Google maps can't help you now! We managed to find it eventually and luckily we were early enough that it didn't matter. We both decided that we liked it but couldn't honestly see what all the fuss was about; the picture is tiny only about the size of an A3 piece of paper! We continued around the museum a bit longer and on our way out passed by the Mona Lisa again, this time the whole room buzzing with tourists; ha!

We then got on the Metro and rode to the Eiffel Tower. Before venturing across the river we got some Nutella and Banana crepes and took some pictures from across the river. We then decided to wait in line in the freezing cold as it was far too cold to climb the steps! The view from the top of the tower was rather average as it was a fairly overcast day. We didn't stop to have a glass of Champagne at the top as it was ridiculously cold up there.

That afternoon we meet up with Angus, one of my friends from Uni who is studying in Paris for a semester. We meet him at the Pompidou Modern Art Museum and had a look around at the different displays - quite different and a lot more interesting than that pieces we had seem at the Louvre that morning!
We then got more crepes to snack on and went across to see Notre Dame. However it was rather dark by then so we decided to go check out Angus' Uni then head to a great restaurant he knew. Angus showed us how to use the public bikes that are spread out all over Paris. These bikes are great as you pay to use them for a certain amount of time and then you can pick them up and drop them off at any other bike station around the city! It was a great way to commute in a city like Paris! We had such a great time riding along the river and down the cobbled streets. At one stage we were riding down a bustling little market street with the bells chiming in the distance and everyone out to get dinner, it was a great Paris-ian experience.

The restaurant Angus took us to was excellent. We had steaks that were covered in mushroom sauce and served on a massive mound of scalloped potatoes! We also tried garlic escargot (snails), when in Paris...! We took the metro back to our hotel and slept very well that night.

The next day we set off after a good sleep in and got crepes for breakfast on our way to the Arc de Triomphe. Steph had a Nutella & Banana one while I was adventurous and tried a cheese and bolognese crepe (crepes were pretty much a staple in Paris- they were absolutely everywhere, reasonably cheap and delicious!). I would have done well to play it safe, as the strong flavour of bolognese meat in the morning is not something I wish to repeat!

Before heading to the Arc we went and quickly checked out Notre Dame again so that we could see it in the day light. However being rather over churches and cathedrals by now, we didn't go inside.

Going up the Arc was really neat and the view was really quite good. It was a lot taller than I had imagined and the 200+ stairs are a testament to that! We got some cool pictures then chose to try find somewhere for lunch on the Champs-Elysees. Much easier said than done! We walked for ages trying to find a cafe or restaurant that was not either too busy or too expensive and ended up giving up. We then wanted to find a metro stop so that we could find food elsewhere but this also proved to be a challenge right when we needed it. However in our efforts to find a metro stop we stumbled onto a great little sandwich/salad shop that was tasty and cheap - salvation!

That afternoon we went out to Montmartre to climb the hill (more stairs) and see the Moulin Rouge. As we arrived at the base of the hill that you climb up to see the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur we were conned out of a couple euros by a friendly duo of African men selling friendship/good luck bracelets. They had come over and gotten us to hold one end of a string while they weaved the other, all the while they were insisting that they were artists and not looking for any money. That was until the string was weaved into a bracelet and they had expertly tied it around your hands. We gave them a euro each for the effort and walked away feeling a little cheated. However we could also see the funny side to it as they had been so smooth at the con, and it was only 2euros after all!

After climbing to the basilica and getting a few snaps we climbed back down in search of the famous Moulin Rouge and dinner, though not in that order. We found a great little boutique crepe restaurant that did the BEST crepes we had in Paris - and we had a lot of crepes in Paris!
We then wandered around Montmartre and found the famous Moulin Rouge. There was a huge queue of Chinese tourists waiting to go inside and lots of other tourists taking photos from across the street; we joined the latter then headed back to the hotel for the evening.

The next day we were flying Ryanair from "Paris-Beauvais" to Dublin. But, unbeknown to us when we booked the flight, Paris-Beauvais Airport is a good 1.5 hour coach ride from the outskirts of Paris! So after getting crepes for breakfast, lugging our bags down 6 flights of stairs we had to set off to catch the metro to catch a bus to get us to the airport to catch our flight! AHH RYANAIR!
To top it all off the flight was delayed by a good 2 hours and we had to sit in the teeny-tiny Beauvais Airport lounge, which I would compare to the Napier Airport but with fewer shops and more French!
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Mikeandlou on

Ah la belle Paris! Great photos Ev
And Steph xx

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