There are millions of impressions about Paris shared all over the internet, but I thought it would not be a bad thing to share ours too. The four days we spent in Paris were great, thus we have to be honest and talk about good and bad parts, because there are some negative points we would like to underline.
First impression: complicated maps and metro organization; Well, that was wrong because now I believe that we were just tired and impatient to discover the capital of France and we did not focus enough on understanding the system. In the second day we could already be referred as the queen and the king of the metro and train stations.
You can use one of the many maps they offer for free in hotels or tourism offices. We used this one and it was very helpful, with only one small mistake (or at least we discovered only this one):
In the second picture you can see that the Center Georges Pompidou is shown as being close to the metro station Reamur Sebastopol, but in fact if you want to see this place, you should go in the direction of Rambuteau and while getting out you will see the futuristic building of this center/ museum.
In general, we knew exactly what we want to visit and we walked in a crazy pace in order to be able to see everything we planned to. So let’s take them one by one.
- La Tour Eiffel
I saw it for the first time in my life, for Marius was the second, but he also went to the top for the first time now, with me. We visited it in 14th of July, we were lucky because it was not very crowded and we waited less than 30 minutes at the cue. Even if on the website they announced a discount for those who study in France, they did not provided it to Marius. On the other hand, I received a discount because I am younger than 25. Yey…thumbs up for that!
The tower is impressive and the view from up there is amazing. You can chose the way you want to visit it: either you take the stairs and in this case the ticket is cheaper, or you can take the elevator up to the desired level. Of course, you can reach the top only by the elevator and you take it at the second floor. If you want to go up directly by the elevator you can, but anyways you will have to leave it at the second floor and take the other one to the top.
As I already mentioned, we visited the tower on the National Day of France and we were on the top when the army planes show started. It was simply great to be a bit closer to them!
For more details about the tower, you can visit the following website: http://www.toureiffel.paris/en.html
- The National Residence of the Invalids (Hotel des Invalides)
In case you did not know, this is a complex of museums and monuments related to the military history and background of France. One of the meanings of the world ‘’hotel’’ in French is hospital and this was the place where all the veterans of war, all the injured people were able to stay in order to recover.
More details can be read here: http://www.musee-armee.fr/en/coming-to-the-museum/opening-times-and-prices.html
When we visited it, the cue was short and we got inside the yard in less than 10 minutes after a security check. Then, we went to the reception to find out how much does it cost to visit the museum and Napoleon’s tomb and to buy tickets. Surprise! Because it was 14th July, you could visit everything for free. Thumbs up again!!!
It took us around 2 hours to visit the museum and to see the tomb but it worth. Everything is well organized and presented in a very logical manner and easy to follow. Thanks to the technology means included, the visit is also interactive and the youth is even more interested in discovering history by the help of modern devices.
When you think about Paris you think firstly about two important symbols: The Tower and the Louvre Museum. As 14th July was the busiest day for us, we also managed to visit the beautiful Place de la Concorde with its amazing fountains and green places, where everybody is so relaxed and happy. From there we went to see the Pyramid of Louvre Museum and see if we could get inside. Guess what? We did! It was not very crowded and again, it was for free. Lucky day for us!
The museum is great, many things to see and art at the highest level. It was not surprising to see that Joconda’s hall was the most crowded one. Everybody was so impressed to see the painting that seems to look exactly at you in any angle or position you might be.
More about the museum, here: http://www.louvre.fr/en
The Versailles Castle is outside Paris, but you can get there very simple. You can buy your round trip tickets from any tickets machine which can be found in every station. Then, you have to go to any metro station which has a connection with the RER (Train), line C, marked with a bold yellow line on this map. Then, you have to reach the Versailles Rive Gauche station, which is also the end of the recommended line. A round trip ticket costs 7 euro.
I won’t lie, the cue here was way longer than any cue I have seen before. But everything advanced quickly and we waited around 40 minutes to get in.
The Castle is simply amazing and the Gardens are like Paradise. You can visit everything is the Castle and you won’t get bored. Again, me and Marius we did not pay for visiting the Castle because I am younger than 26 and he is not yet 26. Lucky again! We only paid for the Gardens: I paid 8 euro and Marius paid 7 euro because he had a discount for being student in France.
- The monument of Bastille
Very easy to get there as the metro station is called exactly the same. We took some pictures and then we went further on to visit Place de Vosges and the street where Victor Hugo lived. Very close to there is Palais of Marais and the Opera of Bastille. A nice area for a pleasant walk. More about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastille
- Moulin Rouge
Well, we were just curious to see the building because for a show you have to pay a lot and I do not think that it was something we really wanted to do. At the entrance the cheapest ticket was indicated as 190 euro which is a lot. The neighborhood where this place is situated in, is…different let’s say: sex shops everywhere and not very elegant if we could say so.
More details about Moulin Rouge, here: http://www.moulinrouge.fr
- Notre Dame de Paris
In our first day in Paris we went to see it but the cue was very long and the square was very crowded. After 2 days and the attack in Nice it was almost empty. In order to visit the cathedral you had to pass 2 different security checks and nobody was allowed to enter the square in front of it. The cathedral is amazing and impressive. You can see the evolution of the building in some pictures very nice presented and you can admire the architecture. Is free for everybody to visit the cathedral. If you want to visit the towers where Quasimodo lived, you can. As European Citizen or as student in Europe and under 26 you can visit them for free. I really loved the fact that French Government encourages and helps young people to travel, visit and learn new things. Thus, you have to know that the visit of the towers is not recommended for pregnant women and persons with cardiac problems.
Notre Dame de Paris: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre_Dame_de_Paris
- La Defense
The most modern neighborhood of Paris, business center and futuristic area is interesting and worth to be discovered. You can easily get there by a train marked in any local map. Not many things to do there thus, excepting shopping in a very cute little market that you can see just after you get out from the train station.
More about La Defense here: http://www.ladefense.fr/
- Sacre Coeur
I will honestly say that I loved more Sacre Coeur Cathedral than Notre Dame. If you ask me why, I cannot tell. Is just a feeling. Marius for instance loved the other one more. I really love the place where the cathedral was built, on the hill and the view you can have from there. Breathtaking. Well, the neighborhoods you have to cross to get there aren’t very nice and you can find many people trying to fool the tourists (very sad to say this but most of them were Romanians or Gypsies born in Romania). You can visit the basement of the cathedral or go up and have a panoramic view (you have to pay for it but honestly I think you will see the same things you can see from the stairs of the cathedral). Behind the cathedral there is a small neighborhood called the Painters Neighborhood. This spirit is still there because you can see paintings and painters everywhere. Very cute and…well, expensive.
- Grevin Museum
This was the funniest museum I have ever visited. Is a wax museum and I had the opportunity to meet great ‘’people’’ there. There were also many actors and singers who asked me for a picture and I couldn’t say no J. The visit begins with a lights show which is very nice and worth to see. The entrance costs 25 euros for an adult, but Marius paid 20 euro having a student discount. I strongly recommend it. We discovered it in a commercial that was printed on our map:
More about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mus%C3%A9e_Gr%C3%A9vin
- Georges Pompidou Art Center
The building hosts the Modern Art Museum, but the reason we went there was Brancusi’s Art Galleries. If you did not know it, Constantin Brancusi was born in Romania but he spent most of his life in France. His Art Gallery is very interesting, it can be visited every day from 14:00 to 18:00 and the entrance is free. You can see his sculptures exactly in the position he has put them in his working area. For me, the most impressive thing was a piece of his testament, telling that he wants all his sculptures to be inherited by France. What I did not like was the fact that there was no mention of the fact that some of the most important sculptures he realized are in Romania, at Targu Jiu, near the village he was born in.
More about Constantin Brancusi, here: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-brancusi-constantin.htm
This are the most important places we visited and we thought is worth telling about. Of course, in Paris at every step you can see something nice and interesting in terms of art, architecture or monuments. Don’t miss a walk along the Seine, add a padlock on love bridge, discover the parks and some of the museums that are not very well known. You may be surprised!
Some of the negative aspects I did not like in Paris is the fact that the city is in most of the neighborhoods dirty even if in France they have a very nice system for gathering the trash and to support recycling.
I did not like the fact that every metro station we have been in (and believe us, we saw almost every single one) the smell of urine was so strong that you can easily could get confused and think you are in a big toilet.
I also did not like the fact that even if French people blame beggary, most of them stop and give a coin to all those who ask for. If you want it to stop, then do something for it!
And to end in a positive note, I would like to say that I did not observe any negative attitude towards me or Marius when we said we are Romanians, which was cool. If we would take in consideration only what we hear at TV, then nobody from Romania would have the courage to visit France.
French people were polite and interact in a very nice manner with us. I remember we were in a restaurant and a homeless came and asked Marius to give her a slice of his pizza. He gave her almost half, she was so happy and impressed that she almost cried. Immediately the owner came and offered Marius a free pizza which he denied. Still, I admired his attitude and heart because he was impressed by Marius’s behavior.
All in all it was great to visit Paris, to discover new things, to learn more and to spend quality time with my husband. Below you can see some of the leaflets you may look for while visiting Paris and France and the link to a short video summarizing our holiday in Paris!!!