We then took a train to Paris. Due to the ash storm we had we were not able to plan our train journey. Tip: When traveling in Europe make sure that you make your reservation for your train travel way in advance. We paid 400 US Dollars for 3 of us. When I was checking 2 weeks before it was around 200 $ for all 3 of us. Basically the fares Shoot up 100% if you book your travel in the last minute.
I should say that the Train journey in Europe is the most comfortable one that any one can experience. Even if you travel in a private airline you will not feel that luxury of going in Train in Europe. The seats are so comfortable and they are super fast trains. The journey time from London to Paris is 2 hours and they have lots of storage where you can put your suit case. The best part is the railway station in Europe is like a full fledged Airport in US. They have everything from Immigration to Customs in airport. We checked into a super fast train from London to Paris. The exciting part about the trip is that the train goes through English Channel under the water. You don’t even feel it. The tubes out there are very well organized and most of the people take the train to go from one city to another in Europe.
The other option for you is to take a EURAIL pass. They have a 3 Country pass, 4 Country pass etc. If you decide that you want to visit 3 or 4 county in Europe in a trip that that will work out pretty cheap for you. Last time when we did the Switzerland trip we did get EURAIL pass. There is other cheap option flying which I will discuss later. We landed in PARIS central railway station. When you enter into Paris the city is too crowded. The neighborhood out there looks like India. The train station is packed as it’s the primary mode of transportation for the people in Paris. You come out of railway station there is a big surprise for you. All the taxis in Paris are either BMW or Benz. The taxi’s charge in Euro’s. So it’s better to book a hotel room right in the center of the city. Paris has the one of the best public transport in the world. But with 2 kids and 2 huge luggages you are better of taking a taxi. Our hotel was about a 15 minute drive from the railway station. The taxi was not all that bad. It was around 20 Euro (25 Dollars).
Tip: I booked my hotel using Priceline. Always use priceline or Kayak when booking hotels. The destination does not matter. You always find a better deal when you use this website. In Priceline there is an option where you can name your own price. You always get a deal when you book hotels using priceline. I got a very good deal for 120$ a night. The hotel was located 3 Kilo meters from Eiffel tower.
Booking hotel rooms in Europe is tricky. If you are booking the hotel in center of the city it’s expensive and you will pay big for the hotel. Flip side to it is Cabs are expensive out in Europe. So it’s better to stay in center of the city. We checked into the hotel and we went to Eiffel tower area which is the center of the city. The best way to move around in the city of Paris is take the Green or Red bus. They are open air bus which will take you around the various attractions in the city. The cost per person is 24 Euro per day or 30 Euro for 2 Days. After spending on taxi you will not even think of paying 30 Euros for the bus. The bus stops in each and every major attraction in the city and the frequency of the bus is really good. Every 20 minutes you have the bus till 8 PM in the night. All these bus originate from the Eiffel tower area. Here are the main attractions that I will list out when it comes to Paris.
(a) Eiffel Tower
(b) River Boat Cruise (Paris By Night)
(c) Champs Elysses
(d) Luvre Museum
(e) Notre Dame Paris (Cathedral)
(f) Palace of Versailles
(g) Disney Land Paris
Tip: Before going to France please take a look at the following web site.
I think the best part of any travel is planning. The guy who is planning the trip has the most fun. I think reading about countries is a good hobby. You get to know lot of things when you visit such website. I did a very good research of the place before going to France. But you will be surprised. In France they speak French. It’s very difficult for us to communicate there. Every one talk and replies in French.
Tip: Take a look at the following web site for detail list of attractions in Paris
Paris is one of a very well constructed city. There is a lot of Roman influence in the city and most of the city looks alike. The Center of city is Eiffel Tower. Its one of the wonder of the world and no wonder it is a wonder. All the buildings in Paris are “PI” Shaped. Basically you have 10 PI shaped building in a circle and Eiffel towers being the center of the city. You will really appreciate the city when you are on top of the Eiffel Towers. The cost to go up the tower is 13 Euros. Trust me it will take a good 2 hours to stand in line and reach the elevator. There are 4 Ticket counter to get ticket to go up the tower. You basically take one lift to go half way which goes in a 45 Degree angle. Then you take one more lift to go up to the top of the tower. It’s truly an unbelievable experience and its unique experience when compared to going on top of other tall structure in the world.
The best part about Eiffel tower is the whole structure is made out of Steel in early 1900’s. There is no bricks used and once you go up the city view is amazing. You really appreciate Paris when you are on top of the tower and looking at all those PI shaped building. I am not sure who planned the city in such an organized way.
Tip: Go to Eiffel tower when it’s dark. Paris is called as “City of Lights”. You truly will appreciate if you are there at night. From 9 PM to 12 PM everyday they change do a flashing light show for about 10 minutes. It’s really good. It’s on the top of the hour. The one thing that I was not impressed was the park near by. Construction was going on so there was a lot of mud and stuff.
River Boat Cruise (Paris by Night):
This is probably one of the most important attractions of Paris. There are river boats that take you for a one hour cruise in the river which is located right next to Eiffel tower. Please plan to go to Cruise at night time. Also one more thing you want to consider is go to all the attractions before going on the cruise. The cruise takes you to multiple attractions and if you don’t know the place it’s kind of weird. The cruise cost 13 Euro per person and it’s a nice one hour ride in the river.
The biggest museum in the world is too much to digest to start with. You will get lost for sure. Once upon a time this was the palace and now it’s converted into a museum. The most famous Michel Angelo’s Monoliza’s painting is in this museum. The paintings in the top of the building are amazing and truly overwalming. If you are an artistic person you can spend days in this museum. There are 4 parts to this museum and everything is written in French. Make sure that you get an audio guide so that you will understand what you are looking at. There are paintings all over the museum which are very old and worth millions. The cost to enter the museum is 9 Euros but its worth it. You can enjoy the architecture of France in this one spot. Outside the museum are various photo spots, fountains. It’s a nice place for people who enjoy museum and who are artistic in nature.
Champs Elysees is a street full of action and people. If you go to Paris you should go there. Paris is known to the world for its fashion and Perfumes. You have everything from Louis Viton, Channel and what not in one street. They are the original shops which stated Fashion industry in Paris and they branched all over the world now. Remember if you see a Louis Viton the father or the grand father store is in Champs Elysees in Paris. To me I have seen all these shops in Vegas. Its was ok for me. But for some one touring from India it will be great. People go nuts there to buy stuff from these stores. Right there in the Champs Elysees is Lido a very famous hang out place in night.
Tip: For more information please visit www.champselysees.org
One of the most attractive cathedrals in the world is Noterdame Cathedral in Paris. Located 3 miles away from Eiffel towers. You can catch one of those Green or Red bus to go there. I am not sure about the story behind the cathedral but truly it’s an amazing place. After going here and there in Paris that place really made me to sit for few minutes. Europe is famous for cathedral and you have to see the size of them. It’s truly amazing how they have built all these years ago.
Things we did not do in Paris:
We didn’t do Disney land in Paris and Palace of Versailles. I have read about the Palace of Versailles. It’s huge and a good place to be. But after being to Luvre museum we thought that we will skip it. Paris is an overwalming city. Everything is huge. To digest what is there takes 2 days. We were there only for 2 days and we got a glimpse of what is there.
Food in Paris:
I need to mention about the food. If you are a typical desi guy like me there is no scope for rice or any desi style food in Paris. There are Indian restaurants around if you are ready to spend 15 Euros for a small dish anywhere near the main attractions. The restaurants out there are for fine dining and it really means fine dining. If you sit outside the restaurant and eat the cost is twice of what you pay compared to sitting inside. There are Mc Donald’s and you pay a premium to eat there. A Burger and coke costs 10 euros and 6 Piece nuggets costs 8 Euro with Coke. I am not sure how you can over come this. I tried my best. Plan for a 40 to 50 Euro mean for a family when you are there. We went to Sub way and a 12 Inch chicken sub with coke cost us 13 Euros. Crazy. We are so used to buying food for cheap here in the US. We have lots and lots of deals which we can never use. Forget it. The only option for you is to spend and there is no other choice.