Where: Paris, France
Who: Mr & Mrs Wanderlust
When: April 2019
What: The Finale of our EU Trip Series and our final stop..Paris, France
Thank you for reading our EU Trip Series Finale in Paris, if you want to back read, you can go back to our previous destination which was Brussels..
Or you can also begin with our first of our series which has all the necessary general tips and guides that is applicable for the whole EU Trip that may not be mentioned anymore such as Internet Access abroad pocket WiFi, train reservation etc.
Now on to the final part of our EU trip series. It was just like yesterday as we are writing this, 2 months after our trip (We know, sorry it took a while as we were busy). It is a bittersweet feeling to be ending our dream Euro trip that started in Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Luzern, Amsterdam, Brussels and now Paris. We have planned it for a very long time and now it has come to our last stop, Paris. So instead of sobbing around, we better experience what we can for just 3 days, imagine that. In hindsight we should've really added more days, but whats done is done. Check out below what we did:
Coming from the beautiful city of Brussels, we now are on to the last leg of our EU Trip in Paris. Only in Hollywood movies and academic subjects on certain topics like history and literature can we hear and see Paris, we have totally imagined it as really beautiful and has its charm, and we are not disappointed.
Very pleasant weather 24C at hottest and 14C at early morning a bit cold but tolerable. This was on April 2019 Spring time almost summer though.
How To Get There:
Getting there was really easy as we have booked everything prior to our trip via online tickets so just arriving on time for our trains with our luggages was the challenge but we survived, was early for our train so we got through alright. 3 hours of drive according to google maps, and hella expensive we can imagine, as opposed to 1hr and 30 min train ride which is straightforward and really easy.
Protip: When riding on train with luggages, be early so you would have space to put your luggages especially if they don't fit on the overhead compartments. There are spaces for luggages for each trains, but sometimes they get full and you'd have to put your big luggage on the next coach which is a really long walk and hard to visually guard against thieves.
Getting around the city was a bit hard for walking as Paris has really wide spaces, from gardens, parks around attractions like Eiffel and Arc Triumph so getting there would really be a long walk especially if you checked in from hotels a bit further from the area, (we chose Champs-Elysses area near the Arc).
Many Parisians and tourists alike use a electric scooter which is provided for by most likely a startup company that you have to download their app, then use your phone to electronically activate the e-scooter then off you go. The app is called "Lime"
Then ofcourse for further distances but still within the city limits, it is advisable to use their Metro trains, as Paris has a pretty good grid of connections and stations, just make sure you plan ahead to avoid getting lost
Taxis are also the way to go if it is too much of a walk for you guys but be warned because we got trapped in traffic, but to their defence, there was a yellowvest protest going on and police has blocked some roads therefore causing traffic.
Also since this is our last stop as we have planned it to be because our planned exit to EU and also to the ticket we bougt was from CDG airport, Paris flight back to Manila.
So really it is kinda melancholic to be leaving beautiful Europe, but we also miss our kids so much that we also have to go back, also no to miss the birthday of our dear little miss.
Where To Stay:
Hotel Mercure Opera Garnier
Mr & Mrs Wanderlust's Review
+ Nice and spacious and classy hotel lobby, also easy to find
+ Just a few walks away from the metro station
+ Many shops and bars outside the hotel
+ Love the rooms especially with the small terrace and courtyard for authentic Parisian feels.
+ Clean and has comfortable bed and pillows, even under bed and corners were clean.
+ Free WiFi and reliable connection
+ Breakfast was nice and lots of food to choose from and just also in the lobby
+ Was able to easily order champagne bottle at the lobby that we plan to bring to Eiffel.
+ Bathroom was alright, not too spacious but still able to take bath and has everything we need
+ Staff were all friendly and helpful
+ Our room was always cleaned, very good housekeeping staff we must say.
+ Paris being famous city really has high rates but really good value for money
- Room was not as spacious, but the fresh air from terrace and the lovely style makes up for it
Price: €€€ 170- 220 EUR / night for a room
Service: 5 star - Staff were all helpful and housekeeping kept our rooms clean
Facilities & Amenities: 4.5 star - Location great, amenities lovely, just room a bit smaller
Restaurant (foods): 4.5 star - Breakfast was great some choices but always satisfied after
Bar: 5 star - Actually not a bar, but they do serve wine and champagne on the lobby, and also many bars just a few steps outside
Really great value for money and stay was really nice and authentic Parisian feel with our rooms and terrace, just a bit less spacious compared to others but we enjoyed our stay.
Thanks Accor group of hotels, why accor? Because most of the hotels we stayed in from previous trips Ibis Styles in Luzern, Hotel Ibis in Amsterdam, Pullman in Brussels, and Mercure in France, with the exception in Italy as somehow we have stayed on old family run businesses.
What To Do:
1. Eiffel Tower
Upon arriving at France, we immediately went to see the Eiffel Tower. Well, actually, honestly not... As Mrs immediately went to shopping (see below).. But going back to Eiffel tower, it was pretty easy going there as there are many vantage points around the city to be able to see or have a glimpse of the tower.. We chose Trocadero exit from their Metro train, and sure enough we knew the reason why it was the view spot that the hotel staff recomended because it was lovely view from there.
You just stop and awe and want to slap yourself, are we really here?! I mean we already are in Europe for 2 weeks now but still upon seeing the tower with your own eyes personally, is really a different thing. This is why people from hollywood always try to recreate the city in love stories and romance films, is because it is truly romantic.
2. Check the Shopping Scene in Paris
We all know that Paris is the home of fashion, and with that, Parisians has an exemplary taste for fashion. From the modest not known brands that Parisian youth seems to be able to carry well, and they seem to know how to pull it off altogether and be effortless in looking good with their fashion. And of course, the home of many luxury fashion houses like the world famous, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Hermes, Gucci, Chanel, Givenchy, Louboutin, and so many more unmentioned that I am committing a mortal sin for fashion guru's and enthusiasts that we'd probably deserve a slap, but seriously speaking, Mr is not a fan of said brands but of course, its always the Mrs. The mister though is fond of authentic looking up and coming brands that probably no one heard of, such hipsterness! :D
3. The Louvre Museum
Louvre is the world's largest museum and historic monument with vast collections ranging from different periods in time and different art medium. The famous and most valuable paintings with so much historical and cultural significance, to sculptures and the building itself we must say is truly a work of art. With the modern glass pyramid in the middle of the building is like a statement for modern meets past.
The Louvre is massive that you may literally get lost and spend more than a day looking at the beautiful yet vast galleries. For those reasons we decided to have a guide and we decided to book through an app (you may read more about these travel booking apps and how they compare to each other on our first of the series in Rome)
This is where the world famous Mona Lisa is housed at and definitely have to see it. Lucky us we booked early before summer as if it was summertime the crowds would be a lot more massive, and temperature is a bit hotter.
4. Eiffel at Night
As discussed earlier, eiffel has so many vantage points, but Trocadero was our favorite as it has lovely views and the one nearest and easiest to get to from our hotel.. Also having only 3 days we waste no time after all shopping and roaming in the city, we chillout for the night having our own picnic at the grasses and fields of Trocadero like the locals and tourists alike, so many selling beers and champagne around, but we decided to just buy from our hotel, it may be a bit more expensive but it was definitely an authentic bottle Brut champagne . Not sure about these sellers roaming around, as we actually saw one of these sellers open the sewer where he was hiding the bottles as his stash box. It was a nope.
Going back to Eiffel, it lights up every hour at night until midnight?(niot really sure) but we made sure we stayed to see it flashing, and it was idyllic and amorous to see and all the more be thankful to share it with your special someone. It was one for the books. Drinking champagne and having a bit of a picnic with your love with a great view of Eiffel tower in the most romantic city in the world, Paris.
5. Mont St. Michel
Mont St. (pronounce as San) Michel which is french of Michael which was referring to St. Michael the Archangel where legend has it that one of the bishops in the 9th century St. Aubert, kept having a recurring dream of St. Michael telling him to build a church on top of the hill in the rocky island along the coast of Normandy. It rapidly became a pilgrimage site where many people who were catholics visited, and in the year 966 a Benedictine abbey was built on top of it. So it has been almost more than a thousand year old which has became a fortress and a stronghold over the centuries, and grew into a small town with a few of its villagers opening businesses for the pilgrims and visitors.
It is also to note that Mont St. Michel was the home of the Culinary genious of a woman named Madame Poulard in the 18th century who invented the egg dish we all know as "Omelette" with her famous recipe that is still being used today was the one she was serving when she opened up a shop. Which is by the way, still open and operating to this day. You can have a taste of history there at a restaurant called La Mere Poulard which is inside the small town of Mont St. Michel.
Going up to the castle/abbey you would see and also wonder how the people was able to build there with no heavy equipment just brain and brawns to build massive and majestic structures that stands up to this day and overcame the test of time and weather. Even the abbey itself is full of colorful history and stories ranging from scary creepy to historical happenings within its walls. Even Napoleon Bonaparte has a share of its stories with
6. Louvre at Night
Same with Eiffel, the louvre and its symbolic glass pyramid is also another topic at night as it was also another astonishing view.
7. Have a Parisian Meal & Try Random Cafe
France is also known to take pride with their culinary arts. From many terms in the culinary world, the word 'chef' is actually a French word meaning literally head, and so many words, and most likely different ways to cook, so you can definitely expect that they do have high standards when it comes to serving food, especially when in a restaurant and not fast food.
We tried out a random restaurant that happened to be our meeting place with a local guide that we have scheduled thru an online booking app (WithLocals). So while we were waiting for our guide, figuring out that we would be roaming around the streets we needed to take our lunch and what better suggestion it was when we tried out the food in the restaurant near Eiffel tower, but still away from crowds.
Also, on our way to Arc de Triumph, we also decided to try out a random cafe and hangout a little bit there to have our Creme Brulee, and also a coffee, which is an aftermeal ritual of most Europeans that we have somehow learned and adapted, and guilty of bringin that same habit of an aftermeal coffee months after the trip back in the Philippines. Oh Europe, made us more sophisticated :O
8. Arc de Triomphe
Another symbol of Paris and the whole country of France itself is Arc de Triomphe. Standing at the western end of Champs-Élysées, 12 long avenues from different parts of the city converge to the monument to like a roundabout as well.
On our way there, we were checked by police, and you can see so much anti riot police and many mobiles around as there was an on going 'yellow vest' protest where there have been cases of damaging stores around the area, good thing it was relatively peaceful the particular weekend we were there, however stores around the Champs-Élysées area are closed, and you can even see them reinforce their stores by covering the glass walls with wood or other material just to avoid any damages if in case another riot starts on its streets, while a select few stores has employed so many guards yet ready to closew any time to avoid any incidents.
* $100 USD = €89 EUROS (as of April 2019)
Accommodation - High End - 1,000€+++
Accommodation - Mid - €170 - €300
Accommodation - Budget - €150 but may be lower depending on haw far area from center
Transport - Taxi - €10 if nearby up to €20 from train station to our hotel
Transport - Regional Rail tickets, €15/per person up to €60 depending on time, and trip etc.
Transport - Sightseeing Tour - €50 - €200 tour with private guide car and driver etc.
Food - Snacks - €5 - €10
Food - Restaurant (set meal for 2) - €25 - €40 per head
Food - Fastfood Meal - €10 - €15 per head
Drinks - Hotel Beer €10 - €20
Drinks - Bottled Water - €3 - €5
Drinks - Espresso Coffee - €1 - €5 (really depending on the place if touristy more expensive)
Drinks - Coffee Cappuccino - €2 - €5
Others - Toilet Use / WC - €1 - €2
Souvenir - T-Shirt - €10 €20
Souvenir - Magnets / Keychain = €5 - €10
Souvenir - Premium items, Chocolates etc, - €20 - €50
Souvenir Football Jersey - €15 - €20 (Reproduction/Copy) €50 - €100 (Authentic)
**Protip: book earlier online thru their websites, or thru official booking apps to avoid queue at ticket counter and sometimes even get discounts & better prices just show the barcode/qrcode on your phone, paperless!
This in the end of our Europe Trip Series... If you want to back read you can always start on the first part of the Eu Trip Series in Rome and you can see how we started and our route and a whole lot more of information about our travel, tips, guides, etc.
WATCH our video montage of our trip in Paris
Sony A6, Samsung s8, DJI Pocket. So many nice footages but from phone and was taken by Mrs as portrait mode which kinda looks bad on these widescreen videos with black bars on each sides. So yeah, have to stick with some of our footages from camera is always reliable, and always remember to take videos on the phone on landscape mode or horizontally.
Music Credits: Chainsmokers - Paris
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