This was also a benefit as it would be cheaper to travel into
Paris city from Orly' airport. The taxi fare from Orly airport to the Hotel
Victor Hugo, where we stayed cost €33 00 during the peak hour. Oh yes, two
days prior to the trip, Lufthansa released new flight pricing over the
Easter Break for London, Paris and some other cities for an all inclusive
return price of €110.00
We found the general nature of obnoxiously rude Paris
people (known as Parisians) of past experiences have changed to a people
that are more gentle in nature, more smiles and generally a pleasure to be
around. There was this one waiter at a restaurant in Notre Dame who took our
food and drinks order rather abruptly, but we quickly sorted him out.
English is widely spoken - perhaps much more than it is used in Munich.
Arriving in Paris
The Air Berlin
landed in Paris' Orly airport at around 8.30 in the morning. We
were surprised that there weren't any border controls, mainly because
we flew into Paris from Germany. Both countries are members of
the Schengen treaty, border
controls for these two countries have been abolished. Therefore,
our passports were missing those souvenir stamps - the vital proof that
we were actually in Paris.
By 9.30 we were already at the hotel reception in Paris. We decided
after being informed that our room is not ready, to take a tour on an
bus. We purchased a 2 day ticket for €28, which gives us the
possibility of touring 4 different circuits in Paris. We also
had the opportunity of stopping on any of the 51 stops and to return
to the next available L'Open Tour bus, continuing where you had left
off earlier. These options were certainly great value,
especially for those who want to see the most of Paris.
What wasn't great value was the ticket
itself - a simple thermal printed non-colour job which you have to
keep and show each time you board the bus. The ticket was
smashed each time we put into our pockets, so making it last 2 days
was challenging. When you alight the bus and pay your tickets, you
also get a discounts booklet and a very uncomfortable nuclear-green
headset that you can plug into listening points beside each seat to
listen to tour narrations in one of six languages. We were blessed with nice sunny weather at around 15ºC most of the time.
Getting around Paris
Paris is served by two rail
systems; the Métro and the
RER (Réseau Express Régional or the
Regional Express Network). The Métro is the rapid transit system
in Paris much like the Munich U-Bahn or London's Underground. Each journey costs
€1.40 although you can bulk
buy 10 journey packs of tickets for €10.90. Some Métro
stations are inter-linked with RER train stations. The RER lines
connect Paris into the region. Ticket prices are dependent on
distance traveled. Our trip to Disneyland from Charles de
Gaulle - Etoile station costs €6.25 per direction per person.
We are told from narrations during the tour that a
Métro station is never further than 500 meters from
any location although Métro stations are not always clearly marked -
one can be found with a red "M", the words "Metropolitan" or simply
just walk into a pedestrians underpass and hope that it is a Métro
We tried doing a little "Da Vinci Code"
trail thing by visiting all the sites where the "Da Vinci Code" was
filmed. Looking at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre was interesting, then
toddling off to the Saint Sulpice Church where some of the Church
scenes was filmed. We were still not able to find the "Rose Line" on
the grounds by the Louvre pyramids this time. Better luck next time.
Da Vinci Code Trail
Open Top Paris
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
just outside the Louvre
During the 5 day adventure, we must have
covered 30 - 35km on foot, spent time in the Louvre, Champs Elyseés, the
Magdaline Church, Saint Sulpice Church, Disney Movie Studios, Disneyland
Park, we toured all over Paris on an open top bus and finally, spent an
evening photographing the Eiffel tower in lights.
Although Paris is not an unsafe city, it pays to
always be aware of your surroundings. Like any large city, it can get
nasty if you are not careful.
We picked a nice 3 star hotel called
Hotel Victor Hugo over the internet via the
fastbooking.com people. It cost
us €480 in total for the 4 nights we stayed in Paris (€125 for the first
three nights and €105 for the last). Not the cheapest
hotel in the world, it was certainly in a very good location with Champs Elyseés
(Charles de Gaulle - Etoilé station) about 1.4km away and an excellent photo
point at Trocadéro also 1.4km away.
Look at this
map and locate the Trocadéro Métro station, marked with an "M" near the top left
corner and then you will be able to see it's line of sight to the Eiffel tower
down through the Champs de Mars park. From the Trocadéro area, we were
able to take nice evening pictures of the Eiffel tower which glitters every hour
on the hour after dusk. There were also many people, especially that of
African descent selling little Eiffel tower souvenirs although their goldfish
style memory can be rather annoying (five minutes after coming to ask you to buy
their souvenir, they ask you again!)
Cost of Living
Paris is by no means a cheap city, judging by the price of things above which
covers food, lodging, transportation and some entertainment. There were
several cabaret style shows on offer - the most famous being "Moulan Rouge" but
Nicole Kidman and Ewan "Obi-Wan Kenobi" McGregor was replaced by some lesser
known faces. This and some the "Can Can" shows attracted some pretty high
Breakfasts average from around
€12 per person but you do enjoy the European Café scene, very
much "to see and be seen", we see people sitting outside café's on the sidewalk
next to each other all facing the one direction - the street! It looked
like a nice experience though although I'm not too keen on sitting in the sun,
arm to arm with strangers with little possibility of communicating.... having
said this, a few did wave to us frantically when our L'Open Tour bus was going
We found menu's posted outside almost
every restaurant or brasserie (the latter being a restaurant that serves meals
faster), displaying what the restaurant serves and within these menus, you will
often find daily chef specials which can be reasonably priced. Be prepared
however to spend €15 and upwards per person per meal.
Cafe de Flore
made famous as Picasso's favourite cafe.
When in France, you just
have to try their specialties - Escargots (snails), Croissants, Crepes
(pancakes), French Onion Soup and Foie Gras d'Oie Entier (Goose Liver Paté).
Jeanette says that the Escargots' were fantastic and we can both attest to
the quality of the French Onion Soup and Crepes. The latter may be loaded
with sugar, Nutella or a mixture of just about anything savoury and sweet.
I enjoyed the ones with Nutella and Coconut shavings.
We would gladly place
Paris back on the map for any European trip as it has a lot to offer in
terms of sights, shopping, food and culture ... plus we must say now that
Parisians are nice people. We took a total of slightly over 700 pictures
that weekend - now this is a big task to catalogue and prepare for display
on the web. We hope you enjoy the article and pictures..
Jeanette and Raymond
6th to 10th April 2007