The next leg of the 3-week Europe trip was to Paris. From London, we took Eurostar’s high-speed train straight into the city centre of Paris. The rail journey only took about 2.5-hour to arrive at Gare du Nord, one of the busiest railway stations in Europe that serves connections from Paris to Northern France and other European countries including Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Gare du Nord also serves city transportation lines run by Paris Metro, RER and buses, so it’s convenient for travellers to get to their destinations.
Before you begin the journey on the Metro line in Paris, consider buying a book of 10 tickets at 13.30€ (based on 2013). A single ticket costs 1.70€, so it’s cheaper if you make more than 7 trips within the designated zones. Both Kelly and I bought 2 books of tickets at Gare du Nord before we set off to our hotel.
STA Travel recommended us to stay at Absolute Hotel that’s centrally located within a few minutes walk from Republique; the Metro station is only three stops away (~5-min) on the same line to Gare du Nord, which is really convenient for Eurail travellers like us when we travel out of Paris and to other European countries. The budget hotel is just opposite the 24-hour MacDonald’s along the main road, at a very good location close by plenty of eateries, bakeries, supermarkets, Monoprix departmental store and boutiques. Walk further up towards the area near Goncourt station to find more shops. There’s an open air market selling fruits, vegetables and foodstuff. It was very crowded when we were there so we just bought a big bunch of bananas at only 1€!
The helpful front desk staff at Absolute Hotel checked us in promptly and provided city maps. We stayed at room 57 on the 5th floor. The room was decent with basic amenities, apparently recently refurbished – the polished wooden floor and the ensuite bathroom was equipped with pretty new fixtures. We had a comfortable bed with clean linen to snuggle in for four nights in Paris. Other features included a wall-mounted flat screen TV, a small study area and the free WiFi was working very well. (Address: 1 rue de la Fontaine au Roi 75011 PARIS / Web: www.absolute-paris.com/)
Our room has Bob Marley mural! That’s the street view from the room window.
Daily breakfast is provided free for guests.
We dined at Le Phare Du Canal twice. Good ambience with free WiFi and a variety of delectable dishes at reasonable prices (10++ Euro). The French restaurant is just next door of Absolute Hotel.
We were slacker-tourists in Paris, only to leave the hotel around noon for sightseeing. The list of famous Paris attractions below are all covered within four days and easily accessible by the Metro. Montmarte and Eiffel Tower are only 15 to 20-minute from Republique, the nearest station from Absolute Hotel.
On the second day, we left early for the Louvre, a historic monument and one of the world’s largest museums that houses the famous Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo among a vast collection of masterpieces. Be there early to beat the queue. I was glad to be back in the Louvre for the second time since my first trip to Paris years ago. The museum is just too big to cover in a day! You may check out the older post on Louvre.
Free admission to the Louvre on the first Sunday of every month and July 14. Admission ticket (adult) from €11. The Louvre is open daily (except Tuesday) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Métro: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre
A glimpse of Eiffel Tower from the Louvre museum.
Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk around the old city of Paris as many attractions are close by. After the Louvre, we strolled past the lovely Tuileries Garden to Champs-Élysées avenue for dinner and continued our way to Arc de Triomphe, a historic monument too famous to be missed. Sun sets in the backdrop so our photos turned out to be quite dark.
By the way, I used iPhone4S to take these photos.
It was still early evening so we decided to walk to Eiffel Tower from Arc de Triomphe. On the way, we came across a group of students walking towards the direction of Eiffel but later turned uphill. We followed them, thinking that maybe they were on the right path to the tower.
Then, we saw the magnificent structure right in front of our eyes. It’s been the view I wanted to see but not knowing the exact location to get this view. Now we know to get there, take the metro to Trocadero station.
Stay a little longer after sunset to see the Eiffel Tower light up and glitter at night. A sight to behold! (Taken with iPhone4S)
Still not enough of Eiffel Tower. Kelly had not been up to the tower before so we went together the following day at noon. To beat the lines, try to book your admission tickets online early. It was too late for us to do so; fortunately, there wasn’t long queue and we managed to get up to the mid-level of the tower within half an hour. By the elevator, of ‘cos!
A breathtaking bird’s-eye view from the mid-level of Eiffel. We didn’t go up to the summit ‘cos we thought the view would be too tiny (for us to appreciate).
The Seine river from the Eiffel Tower.
The old city of Paris.
No patience to queue up for the elevator again, we descended the metal stairs for 20-minute to leave the tower. It’s easy.
Notre-Dame de Paris is a must-visit, a classic example of French Gothic architecture and one of the most notable religious buildings in the world, with beautiful stained glasses and intricate carvings. The imposing cathedral overlooks the Seine River, a picturesque surrounding to enjoy.
Remember the Disney movie ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”?
Montmarte is a lovely place. Been there once and I suggested we should go there before leaving Paris. Take the metro to Abbesses station and walk uphill on cobblestones to the summit where the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart) is situated. Here you are on the highest hill of Paris, overlooking the city.
Enjoy the pretty views from Montmarte. If you have time, walk downhill to the red light district where the Moulin Rouge is located.
Up next, Amsterdam for the tulip fields and windmills!
Read all posts on Paris.