Take me to Paris. Let’s go there and never look back Paris, we can be crazy like that.
Paris is incredibly beautiful, when it comes to romance there is just something about the city that makes you want to fall in love. I definitely want to visit Paris again. My trip was very spontaneous, for someone who takes planning seriously, I was pleasantly surprised my trip wasn’t a fail.
It was a cold Wednesday at work in Vienna, my sister was sharing her wonderful Eurotour experience with me and I had my Carpe Diem moment. “Paris? Sure why not!”.
I spent my time in Paris combing the gorgeous streets, wandering among some of the major tourist attractions. Oh my! I must mention the quirky cafe I found on Boulevard de Rochechouart, splendid!
DAY 1: VIENNA TO PARIS
Expedia is my go to for budget flights, I bought my flight ticket Thursday afternoon and called in sick on Friday (shhhhhhhhh! Don’t judge me). I considered using the train, but the average journey time from Vienna to Paris about 13 hours (Nah, maybe another time). I’m hoping to pull off a proper Eurotour with a couple of friends next year.
Orly airport welcomed me with a scare, heavy military presence and random bag checks. Apparently, there was a bomb scare at the airport just before my flight landed. With my adrenaline rush, I got on the shuttle bus to my hotel Novotel Paris Centre Eiffel Tower. The shuttle bus (Line1) was really comfortable, the one-hour trip to my hotel cost about 30 Euros. Paris Orly airport was much closer to my hotel compared to Charles de Gaulle airport CDG (low-key not a fan of CDG airport).
Views from the Seine
My hotel was located right in the heart of Paris, a spin away from the Tower Eiffel and overlooking the banks of River Seine. I got into my room and the view was amazing. I was like “Rahhhhhhhhhhh, madting whaaaaa”. Madting init? The view from my room was absolutely magnificent and even more thrilling at night, I’m still a bit sad I didn’t get any pictures of the sunset. If you choose to stay in the Novotel Hotel, then you’re perfectly situated near the Eiffel tower (perfect landmark if you get lost) and Beaugrenelle Paris Mall (retail therapy made easy). There’s the breathtaking view of the River Seine and L’Île aux Cygnes or Swan Isle, the home of the Statue of Liberty. Oh look! I even got a selfie with the mini Statue of Liberty at the lobby. Everything about the hotel was just perfect for me, great breakfast buffet and authentic Japanese cuisine from Benkay restaurant.
I know right, who goes to Paris for authentic Japanese cuisine? Wande!
In my defense, Vienna had stuffed me with the best pastries and coffee, and I wasn’t sure Paris could beat that. I didn’t enjoy all of the perks of the amazing the hotel because of my short stay; the indoor swimming pool and bar with the gorgeous view of River Seine (Well, I can live with that).
Yikes! Bad Idea
I have no idea what came over me. I got into a cabbie that drove me downtown, Boulevard de Rochechouart. Probably not the best decision I made in Paris, bright neon lights, a ridiculous number of sex shops and a proper rowdy crowd for a cabbie ride that cost fifty something Euros, I could’ve bought a pair of shoes instead. On the plus side, I went by the Moulin Rouge theatre and that is definitely a must for my next Paris visit. I spent the rest of my day combing the stores in Beaugrenelle Paris Mall, yes to retail therapy.
DAY 2: EXPLORING PARIS
I woke up feeling really exhausted, I think I had one too many glasses of wine from the night before. I wasn’t really up for exploring the city, not sure if it was the delicious breakfast I ate or the comfort of my suite. But two cups of coffee got me in the right mood to hit the streets of Paris. Like I mentioned earlier, the hotel was a spin away from Eiffel Tower, by default I started with the Eiffel Tower. I wandered around the Eiffel tower taking selfies while trying my best to avoid all the pickpockets.
There was a long queue of people waiting in line to go up the tower, so I decided to do that later at night (well, that never happened). I considered getting guided tours with the Big Bus tours, great thing about the Paris (Eiffel tower) is you actually have different options; Fat Tire tours, Pedicabs, Allo tuk-tuk, Paris by Scooter. So, I got on the Allo tuk-tuk “Paris in Love” tour of the city’s most famous sights, including the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde, The Palace of Versailles, Montmartre and Sacré Cœur basilica. The best part about getting the Pedicabs or Tuk-tuk or Scooters, as a solo traveller or a group of friends is that you can select the places you want to visit. I started from the Eiffel Tower, Palais Bourbon, the Champs-Élysées down to the Louvre, stopped at Arc de Triomphe, got off and walked along the banks of River Seine.
I must mention most guided tours are timed, as a tourist you don’t have the luxury of enjoying certain places. Quick confession, I made a detour when my tour guide mentioned Pont de l’Archeveche “The Love Lock Bridge” (I had to get my love locked down, for the culture) and I spent way too much time at The Louvre yard.
My quest for love, a flat phone battery and poor time management messed up my plans, I didn’t visit L’Hôtel des Invalides, Grand Palais, the Palais du Trocadero and The Palace of Versailles, the park of the Château de Versailles and Notre-Dame. I got so carried away by the gorgeous sights, I didn’t realise how far I walked, till I found myself along the banks of River Seine. Postcard perfect pictures, right?
Paris is probably not the best city to be spontaneous, to get the best of the City of Lights I’d suggest detailed planning. I’d recommend walking, just make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes and you have a landmark of your hotel so you can ask for directions or get a taxi back. If you are spending a short time, don’t try to be Dora the explorer (like me), get guided tours to get the best out of your money and time.
- Currency: Euro
- Weather: It was great when I visited, a bit chilly in the morning but very sunny and warm by noon.
- How to get around: Walk or hire a bicycle or use the metro or taxis.
- What to pack: Very comfy shoes, casual clothes and a powerbank.
- Make sure you see: Eiffel Tower, Palais Bourbon, the Champs-Élysées, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and Pont de l’Archeveche(like I did). L’Hôtel des Invalides, Grand Palais, the Palais du Trocadero and The Palace of Versailles, Notre-Dame and Disneyland (I didn’t visit those sights, so don’t forget to send me pictures).