Paris is a City that always goes side-by-side with London. There are millions of articles on why this or that city is better so in most instances it’s rather London vs Paris than the prior. Being fortunate enough to be living in one of them though, sets off curiosity on what the other has to offer. But, at the same time, I’m saved by having to make the tough choice of picking one of the two which everyone else may have to do.
For summer last year, I let my curiosity win and have decided on visiting finally. It was a rocky decision to make in this instance due to the numerous attacks which made headlines all over the world in the previous year.
We went ahead with caution and hoped for the best. Also, a part of me hated the idea of a changed decision because of fear and at that point, I trusted the City was on high-alert after what has happened.
Either way, we were making the trip and with the many choices of transport to get there from here, it was easy doing so.
We chose Eurolines and though it was a (much) lengthier travel than say Eurostar or taking a flight, it fit our needs better (we wanted a little preview of the French countryside) and it didn’t break the bank at only £35pp return.
The trip departed for 8am at London Victoria and arrived in Paris (Gallieni) at 5pm which was perfect for a summer’s day as it was still very bright.
Upon arrival, we went to purchase our tickets for the trains. The idea was that we were just going to navigate through as we would in London. We were terribly mistaken.
It becomes apparent very quickly that Paris was unlike Rome or Crete, which I’ve written on previously, where communicating was easy due to how widely English was spoken.
To my surprise, there were no translations on anything really and this extended to our place of stay. It made it quite difficult to do a lot of things. Thank God for Citymapper when it came to navigation. Word of advice: I’d say do learn French before you go and at a level where you can roughly communicate. If travelling alone, I would advice on this strongly. Otherwise, you’ll be lonely (#bars).
Past the language and transport crisis, everything was forgotten when we got out of Volontaires (Metro) and caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. Suddenly it was all worth the hassle.
We arrived just on time to freshen up, have a bit of a stroll and see our first Parisian sunset.
We stayed at Nouvel Hotel Eiffel which I booked through booking.com (£15 off any booking through the link, by the way). Now, it wasn’t the cheapest one we could’ve gone for (around £130 for 3 nights) and have actually booked a room in a hostel further out but we realised we didn’t want to be travelling around too much and wanted to stay close to the centre so we decided against it last minute. Where we ended up staying had the perfect location for us: it was a walking distance to the Eiffel Tower which could actually be seen from outside.
From there, we visited the following by foot.
And then there’s me stunting in those places. LOL😅😂
- Communicating with only the knowledge of English is very difficult. It helps downloading a translator on your phone; we used them to translate menus etc.
- It is really clean by appearance but there is a noticeable odour around the City and in their underground.
- It’s true what they say about it having a romantic aura. You’re bound to see newly weds/engaged doing their shoots around the City. We saw them basically everyday.
- You will fall in love with the Eiffel Tower! (It’s better than the London Eye, sorry).
P.S. it sparkles every hour of every night and it’s mesmerizing to watch.
- It’s expensive! Places we bought from weighed their products. We spent over £20 on Chinese food which we would’ve paid half for in London because of this. If you only saw our faces when we got dropped off at Victoria and headed to Sainsbury’s. We felt rich 🤑
- There was a football pitch and playground close to the Eiffel Tower which I thought was a great and practical idea.
- The parks (Jardin du Luxembourg at least) had a lot of chairs you could move which were free to use but it was very dusty and we would arrive with white coloured trainers/bags most days 🤗
- I’m not sure if it’s still the same now but during our visit, police presence was heavy.
- August is hot and quiet (I hear it’s due to Parisians having their own holidays). Apparently, quite a few places are closed during this time but we didn’t take notice.
- It becomes rather social around the Eiffel Tower during this time: there were a couple of markets when we went.
I think Paris is a great place to visit and I would do it again and again (maybe when I learn more French or go with people who do though). However, coming from a place like London where it’s a lot more multi-cultural and friendly, I don’t think it compares when it comes to actually living. And, though Londoners usually get frustrated with TFL, we’ve actually got it good.
Anyway, here’s a creepy story from our visit: We kept seeing 666 written everywhere and when we got to our hotel, we were given room 66 on the 6th floor 😐😣
And now that I’m reminded of it…
Au revoir xo