We came back from Paris few days ago. We heard it’s the city of artists, the city of love, the infamous French capital. We were there for 5 days from 26 to 30. Nov 2013. Paris sightseeing was our dream for a long time, so we were very excited for this trip.
We flew to Paris with the attitude that we’ll love it like so many other people before us . Unfortunately, we are not excited about this city . It is very nice, but in our opinion, it should never even compete with London, Berlin or Venice.
We think that Paris is highly overrated! However, we will write a little something about our trip, give you tips on how to travel cheaply and have fun .
1. France and Paris.
In contrary to what people say- the French people are very, very friendly! It really is a great nation, you can easily communicate with them in English.
France itself is very similar to other European countries. Unfortunately prices are higher than in most other cities.
If you are a citizen of the European Union under 24 years old – you can count on free entry to almost all landmarks (except the Eiffel Tower) during Paris sightseeing. Just show an ID card and the cashier will print you a ticket for 0 euro.
Paris is divided into 20 districts arranged in a clockwise spirals. In fact, you can find most of the monuments in the districts 1-5.
We flew from Katowice. For the flight we paid about $40 per person. In Katowice, customs officers were quite rigorously and checked baggage very strictly.
In Paris no one was looking what we brought on board . In our opinion, you could even have up to 3 bags and it can be brought in with no doubts .
3 Getting to and from Paris for Paris sightseeing.
At Beauvais airport specially adapted for flight hours buses will wait for you. They take you directly to Paris Porte Maillot stop. Close to it is the entrance to the Metro, so you can easily get from there to anywhere in Paris. We really wish we could know about it earlier… We could avoid being cheated by the taxi driver.
When you want to get back to the airport, the bus will be waiting exactly 3 hours before your flight. And so, our flight from Beauvais was at 3pm, so we took a bus at midday.
The ticket costs 13 euro per person one way or 26 euro return.
In Paris, the high prices remain the same throughout the year. Do not count on the promotion- you need to look for the most suitable hotel as soon as you decide to travel.
We slept in a hotel in the city centre, because we wanted to explore Paris on foot. You can choose cheaper accommodation on the outskirts of the city, but you must remember that after dark, these are not very safe places.
Metro is the best way of transport for Paris sightseeing. The most profitable is to buy 10 tickets at a time for 13.30 euros. One passage is therefore 1.33 euros. You can’t buy it cheaper.
Tickets are printed separately, so if you are traveling with someone else, you can easily buy these 10 tickets and divide them on 5 per person.
To go for example to the Eiffel Tower, you must find the RER , which validate the tickets separately- it is a mean of transport independent from Metro. Only in this train, we need to keep the ticket to exit .
6. What to see?
There are so many monuments in the capital city of France! That makes Paris sightseeing very interesting.
The Eiffel Tower.
Of course, the most famous is the Eiffel Tower. The entrance to the last (third) floor costs 13 euro with discount and 14.5 euro for a standard ticket. We, after the peak of season, were waiting in the queue for the lift for about 1.5 hour. In season this waiting may extend even up to 2-3 hours, so you have to be patient .
A good option is to buy a ticket in advance for a fixed hour, then go to the Eiffel Tower without a queue. We didn’t do that, because it is possible to only pick up the ticket at the appropriate point in Paris, the United States or Canada.
The views from the top are really beautiful – you can see the skyline of Paris , as well as a comparison of the height of the Eiffel Tower with other famous high buildings in the world (such as the Empire State Building in New York) . Visiting the Eiffel Tower was the best thing in Paris sightseeing.
Louvre is a huge museum! To thoroughly explore it, you will need at least few days.
We advise you to get Audio Guide Nintendo for 6 euros per person. You have a schedule of all important images and sculptures and -most importantly- a navigation which will easily lead you to anywhere you want to go .
There are plenty of languages available- including English, French and Russian.
The admission ticket to the Louvre for young people under 24 years old is free, the other costs about 12 euros .
In our opinion, it’s the most beautiful monument of Paris! It really is impressive, especially from the outside. Every detail, every face is very carefully polished . Cathedral overwhelms with its size and power. Inside it is dark and very mysterious ..
We went there by chance, while walking around in the streets of Paris. There are tombs of famous Frenchmen, including famous Polish chemist, Marie Sklodowska -Curie who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. Admission for youth under 24 years of age is free of charge , for others 7 euro.
Parisians agree that this museum is better than the Louvre … and we think they are right .
Less people, crowds and glamor there. Tickets for youth are free, for others costs 9 euro.
Beware of scammers ! In Paris, there are a lot of people who want to will try to extort money from you. Squeeze petitions to sign (for example to deaf people or poor kids in Africa), put up a variety of items to your hands and want you to pay for them. Watch out! You can be robbed very easily.
8. Delicious French food.
French cheese is unbelievable delicious! It has taste that we have never eat before. In Paris you can easily find stores with cheese. It is treated as works of art there. You cannot touch it, it is specially packed by the sellers. The prices are quite high too- the cheapest, small piece of cheese costs 5-6 euro. In our opinion it is worth a try – impressions are to die for!
We are not impressed. Maybe it is because we are laymen and we didn’t know how to select the best ones. In France, you have to be a real connoisseur to enjoy the wine.
They taste like sweetened boiled potatoes. They cost about 4 euro per pack. We ate one and threw the rest in the trash. It was disgusting.
Excellent! They taste like a combination of shrimp and chicken. With the addition of garlic and salad they taste fabulous… Serving costs about 10-15 euro.
9. Christmas Market.
During our Paris sightseeing, we came across a Christmas Market, even though it was still November! We checked it online and it turns out that Paris starts celebrating Christmas very early. If you will be visiting Paris at winter, remember that it is worth to go there to see the wonderful Christmas decorations and feel the real atmosphere of Christmas!