A long autumn weekend in Paris!

IMG_6367I was planning to visit Paris for some time now, and because we always something to do or go this destination seemed to be postponed for ever.

Last Friday, we finally got the chance to go 🙂

I’m not going to tell the history of the place, because this isn’t my intention. Besides, I’m sure you know a lot of historical facts about the capital of France 😉 Instead, I decided to write about my perception and things that I truly found interesting or not really. To make the long story short:

What I loved about Paris?

Paris has many things you can choose from: museums, palaces, squares, restaurants, shopping malls, parks and the list can go on.

We have visited 3 churches out of the multitude of the churches that Paris has, and they are: Notre Dames de Paris (Ile de France), Sacre Coeur and Saint Eustache church. I have to say that I was impressed the most of Saint Eustache church. It’s a very beautiful church that deserves more attention from travelers and visitors. This church is still in reconstruction, but it’s original beauty is like out of this world!

How to find Saint Eustache church? It’s actually very easy. If you happen to be around La Fayette stores, then you’re very close from it. Otherwise you can take the metro and step out at Les Halles. Here, you have the chance to see the coffin of Jean Baptiste Colbert, politician who served as the Minister of Finances of France from 1665 to 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV. There are also some small coffins with some saints body remains, one of which is Saint Cecile’s.

My boyfriend loved Sacre Coeur. Indeed, is a very beautiful basilique. It’s structure and the roof are unique in Paris. I loved the Apse mosaic, which is 475 square meters and is one of the biggest mosaics in the world. You’ll not be allowed to take pictures inside, but you can take this time and admire the beauty of this church 🙂 You can read more about it here.

The last on our list is Notre Dames. Sorry to say that, but none of us felt any connection with this church. Maybe because it was super crowded, maybe because we expected more from this site. What I loved the most about this cathedral are the choir – there are some renovation works in it. Overall, it’s a massive and beautiful cathedral. If you’re around then make some time and visit it. The entrance is free, but you’ll have to pay to go to the towers. For more information about Notre Dames, please go here.

Besides these 3 churches we went to a spooky place, the Cemetery of Montmartre. The day when we visited it was cold and windy, the leaves were flying here and there and of course to make things more interesting some cats were running here and there. The only loud voice we could hear were the crows that were reigning in this cold and somehow forgotten by time place. Visitors were few, despite the free entrance and the proximity of the main attraction in Montmartre – Sacre Coeur. In this cemetery you can find tombs of some famous people such as Stendhal, Adoplhe Sax  or Emil Zola’s family. Emil Zola’s body you can find at the Pantheon. Besides this, here you can see many interesting construction – some are quite big some more modest, some have sculptures and some have small chapels. You can read more about it here.

Then, the next thing that we liked in Montmartre are the small gourmand shops that sell all kinds of cheese and foods. We have tried few types of cheese and even got some for home. I’m the gourmand of the house 😀

I have mentioned above the Lafayette Galeries, some will be interested in shopping but the main attraction here are the design of the cupola and the roof of the gallery. You can go to the roof of the store and from there see the beautiful panorama over the city. Just in front of you you’ll see the National Theatre 🙂 It’s a very very beautiful building.  Then the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur and Notre Dames are other points to look at. The view is nice at the sunset! A very nice cupolas and Xmas decorations you’ll see at Printemps Department Stores. Here you can, also, go to the rooftop for a panorama view. 🙂

We were pleasantly surprised to discover  a Christmas Market just across Musee du Louvre. There you can buy some local foods, hot wine and even souvenirs from Russia 😀

Musee du Louvre is enormous and it will take you some good hours to visit it. If you don’t know yet what you can see there, then it’s a good idea to click here and check what expects you inside. 🙂  We were there just minutes before the sunset and the view over the garden was splendid! Don’t take it light because there are a lot of visitors and among them pickpockets will do their best to take some of your cash and belongings! Stay alert!

If you want to feel spoiled and have some luxurious rides, then you could do it for 90 euros per 20 minutes ride – you can choose from a red Ferrari or black, yellow and white Lamborghini 🙂 The guys who’ll rent you these monsters are just at the exit from Louvre’s gardens, but also can be seen on the way to the Arc de Triomphe.

People are used to talk about beautiful things and aspects of their trips and sometimes forget those things that somehow left a negative or less pleasant impression on them. I decided to tell you what are the things I disliked about Paris. 

The aspects that I dislike about Paris , from my perspective, are:

  1. The double pricing system! What is that?! Some places, especially the ones in the close proximity of the main touristic places and shopping malls, are charging less if you take away the food and more, sometimes as much as 70 cents per item, if you consume your food on the place. Therefore, be careful and see the price list first!
  2. Guys selling all kinds of stuff on the street are so annoying and at times they come to you in groups, this made me feel threatened 😦
  3. Beggars – they are everywhere! I feel sorry for them and even ready to give them some money, but only if I’m sure that these people are poor indeed and not left there to ask for money by some mafia members….and how can I check that?
  4. Pickpockets. I had the good luck not to deal with a such a happenstance, but seeing signs of warning everywhere (even on the elevator that connects the 1st floor to the 2nd floor at Eiffel Tower!) was disturbing and a good reminder!

If you’re looking for a nice hotel at a reasonable price, I will say that Campanille is a good choice. It’s located in the southern part of Paris and is connected with Paris city by RER. One ticket will cost you 2.6 euros/ person. The service is nice and the bed is big enough to have a good rest. The price for a double room varies, but we paid 55 euros/room! If you travel in 2 then this may be a better option for you than a hostel dorm 😉 The breakfast buffet is quite expensive – 10 euros/ person, therefore you may want to have a walk and go to the nearest mall in the area (you’ll see it on the way to the train station) and have a nice breakfast for 6 euros/person. If your budget is really tight, then you can buy some food at the supermarket 🙂

There are more to be told about Paris, but one thing is sure, no books, movies or stories will give you the Parisian feeling than going there and experiencing it for real 😉

My two cents at the end:

  • When it comes to food and places to have a dinner, many will have a hard time choosing the right place in terms of food and money. We had no idea also where to eat 😀 and this is why we just took the streets that weren’t packed with tourists and found this place, popular among locals and Erasmus students. It is called Cafe des Anges. You can find it on 66, Rue de la Roquette. The main orientation point to this cafe is Place de la Bastille.  From 5 pm to 8pm they have Happy Hours, therefore you’ll pay 5 euros instead of 8 euros for a cocktail. They have aperitivo menu and proper meals as well, just ask for the menu you need. Ah, yes! There’s one waiter here that speaks Russian (for those interested) and another one that speaks very good English 😉
  • Besides the flea markets that you will see along Seine river banks, those green metal kind of boxes,  there’s another one just in the Place de la Bastille or Bastille square. You can take the bus number 20 from the National Theatre (direction Gare de Lyon). The flea market has an entrance fee, therefore you’ll need to buy a ticket which is 10 euros per person!

This is it about Paris. I hope that you enjoyed reading my story and will comeback for new ones 🙂

Trave safe and wise!

 

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