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ELT in Paris Perfect
Ever since aamchi Bollywood introduced the concept of honeymoon to me, I just knew for me it is going be “Paris Perfect”! The thought of kissing my love in front of the glittering Eiffel in the pleasant Paris weather was my idea of a perfect honeymoon ;). So finally when “The Day” was fixed (17th October 2016), I put all my heart and soul into making my trip as memorable and romantic as it could be!
The plan was to cover 13 cities across 7 countries in 21 days (phewwwww!) and we started planning/booking for the trip in June (4 months in advance). My love for the city of love and lights made me liberally give away 4 days to Paris. On the 4th night we were supposed to take a train to Nice and after covering Nice, Monaco and Cannes (in 3 days) board a flight to Zurich. The worst decision was not booking the Eurail tickets from Paris to Nice in advance because of which we ended up paying triple the amount 🙁 .
Flight: We always go for the lowest price available and so our fate made us book a “Saudi Arabia” airlines flight from Delhi to Paris, which costed us 24k (INR) one way per person (we did not book a roundtrip as we had our return planned from Istanbul). But BE-AWARE because though there was nothing wrong with the flight, I must say there was nothing right with the Jeddah airport.
Hotels: Hotels in Paris cost a bomb! Also, through the numerous reviews on TripAdvisor, I realized that most of the hotels in Paris have extremely petite rooms (at least the ones in our budget of 7K INR a night!) and some did not even have an elevator which is not a problem if you are a backpacker but a huge problem if you are an “Indian Honeymooner” with one huge luggage per person ;). Since my fiancé had already stayed in France for 3 months during his student years, we both knew that commuting is not a problem in Paris. There is an excellent network of tramps, metro and buses that will take you to every nook and corner of the city in no time. Also, since we both are not the chic and classy types rather we are more wild and boisterous types, we wanted to stay close to Oberkampf which is one of the areas in Paris known for its boisterous nightlife;). Finally, we zeroed down to “Hotel du Chemin vert Paris” (6K INR per night without breakfast). The room had a balcony and the hotel was at a walking distance from Rue Oberkampf and Voltaire metro station. Also, there was a bus stop very close to the hotel. We realized at check-in that though there was nothing wrong with the hotel but still the room was way too small for a couple so I believe we could have opted for Ibis Hotel in Voltaire which was in the same budget. Anyways, we were not here to stay in the room, we were in Paris baybayhhhh 😉
Why we did not opt for AirBnB: We did not opt for AirBnB simply because of these two reasons:
- First, since we were on our honeymoon, we did not want the owner (host) to intrude
- Secondly, the good ones were quoting a security amount (35-45K INR) which was huge and we were not comfortable blocking that much money with a stranger
Visa: We applied for Schengen visa a month prior to our departure from VFS Delhi. Since we opted for Premium Lounge Service (costed us INR 1250 extra per person), the process was smooth and believe it or not we got our visas in just one working day (one of the happiest day of my life J).
At 7 am on 17th October I set my foot on this city of dreams and my dream turned into reality! After the Immigration and baggage claim, we headed straight to the enquiry counter to purchase City Travel Pass along with Disneyland tickets (they offer the best deals at the airport). We decided since we are in Europe we will take the metro and not the cab (one more bad decision). There were 2 line changes and let me tell you at some of the stations there are no escalators/elevators so we ended up pulling and pushing our luggage down and up the flight of stairs, not a simple task after a long flight. So I recommend you shell out those extra Euros and travel in style which we did in the rest of the cities in Europe (Lesson Learned!).
Our Hotel was just a 5 min walk away from Voltaire station but they are strict about their check-in timings which is 2 PM. Since we landed at the hotel gate at 9 am, the room was not yet ready but let me tell you Paris air is magical, by now all our tiredness and jetlag was gone and instead of waiting in the lobby we decided to just step out and begin our Paris Day. We headed straight to the central station “Gare Du Nord” (remember we were supposed to book those tickets to Nice). We booked our tickets (3x more expensive than what we saw 3 months back). After a bigg ‘Oh Noooo!’ we decided to let go and enjoy a hearty Parisian breakfast in an open air café “Café du Nord” just outside the station. Never ever in my life a simple bread and egg along with tea tasted so amazing. No wonder I was living my dream!
Dinner Cruise: All set for the first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower
Yes, after searching for a while, I made up my mind that I am gonna have my first glimpse of Eiffel while cruising in the Seine River with a champagne in my hand and my love by my side! I settled for a three course dinner meal along with champagne package for two offered by “Marina de Paris” which costed me approx. 12K (INR) and I booked it instantly for our first night in Paris. From our hotel, there was a straight bus which dropped us at the Seine River cruise point. The dinner cruise was supposed to start at 6 PM but we reached there at 4 as we wanted to explore the area in daylight as well. You will see people jogging, exercising, shopping, cuddling, kissing or simply sitting by the many open cafés in the busy street nearby. There are many bridges where you cannot miss to notice thousands of locks hanging from the railings and an Asian guy would be standing right there offering you a good bargain for a “Love Lock”. Since, it was our honeymoon we decided to do the cheesy love lock thingy and threw one of the keys in Seine while we still have the other with us J The boat was simply beautiful, completely made out of glass so you could engulf the Paris beauty while cruising and boozing! There was a photographer too on board but mind it one picture will cost you 20 Euros. Nevertheless, we decided to get one clicked and developed as a souvenir of our first night in this city of love! Oh! That view of the glittering Eiffel towards the end of the cruise did bring out tears of joy in my eyes (I know too dramatic but it’s true) and at that very moment my husband’s sudden kiss made everything just so perfect and memorable, that feeling is ineffable J
Exploring the city
After the cruise, we decided to walk towards the Eiffel. It took us a good 25 mins to reach Champ de Mars (the garden area around Eiffel tower where you may opt to sit and gaze the enchanting, glittering beauty but BE-AWARE of the hawkers around as they will hardly leave you alone!). There are restaurants too inside the Eiffel, so you may experience dining inside the tower while looking outside at the city from a good height but we were already full so we just bought the usual entry tickets to the top (I recommend you buy tickets online prior to coming as It would save a lot of time)! The air was cold and the view was breathtaking from the top, we exchanged a few kisses and sealed our love while I thanked God (and of course my darling hubby) for granting me this unforgettable experience; “Love in the City of Love” J (Check!). We visited Eiffel again on our last day in Paris and had a proper Parisian lunch (not my glass of beer!) at this quaint little Parisian café called “Bistrot Le Champ de Mars” just a stone throw away from Eiffel!
The remaining 3 days just vanished in experiencing the many other wonders scattered all across the city!
Disneyland – Whosoever said you cannot be a child again must have never visited Dineyland! There is always a fun loving kid caged inside each one of us and this place called “Disneyland” certainly unchains it so that it will once again run wild and free. Since we were in Paris close to Halloween, everything was decorated in Halloween Theme in Disneyland. There was a vibrant Halloween Parade which was a complete energy booster! My favorite was dining in the Pirate restaurant, Haunted Hotel and the Virtual Reality ride. This place needs a full day, so plan accordingly.
Moulin Rouge – It was time to be adults again 😉 So after the Disneyland we directly took the metro to reach “Blanche” which is the closest station to this legend. The street was lively and was flooded with many adult oriented stores and other cheaper cabaret shows. Though we did not see the show (it was way too expensive), we just enjoyed our stroll around with a tasty Doner Kebab, bought from one of the many Moroccan joints here!
Party in Oberkampf – All 3 nights that we spent in Paris, we never missed a chance to loiter around the boisterous streets of Oberkampf (remember this is why we chose to stay in Voltaire) which gets livelier by the night. We strolled across many bars and pubs on this street and my favorite picks here are Café Charbon (one of the oldest bar in Paris), MizMiz (this has got a dim light set up and that Lebanese touch!) and Le Coq (chic and classy with amazing cocktails). A few streets get pretty silent and dark at night so avoid walking. Instead go for a cab while getting back to your hotel after that vivacious and wild Oberkampf night-out!
Louvre Museum – How could I not visit the largest museum in the whole wide world (though just from outside, for that epic and mandatory pic in front of the glass pyramid you see ;p) . Please don’t judge, I am not at all an art/museum oriented person and neither was I interested in Monalisa; just happy looking at the fake hanging on my drawing room wall (No offence!). But, I enjoyed shopping at the street just outside the museum and a few Macs, Guess and Zara later we ended up at this nice little café called “Louise” where once again we opted to sit outside and cuddle in the chilly Paris weather with a glass of red wine (I know too much cuddling and kissing but remember we are the “honeymooner”;p)! Notre-dame is close by so don’t forget to pay a visit after a hearty meal for another round of wine here J
Champ Elysees – Avoid sitting in a pub/café here, rates are exorbitant! I just headed straight to Sephora and 2 lipsticks later we were out exploring the street. Keeping in mind the pleasant Paris weather, I recommend you walk from Louvre to Champ Elysees and on your way you will encounter the famous “Arche de Triomphe” (Paris’ s India gate 😉 ) and the beautiful “Tuilerie Gardens”
Lastly, ladies please let go of those pretty but uncomfortable stilettoes and wear a sturdy, smart pair of sneakers because Paris is no fun without a hearty walk! Do not forget to grab a big baguette (I loved the burnt sesame ones) and some macarons during your Paris Promenade!
What are you waiting for?? My lovelies you are now all set for Paris Perfect so rock on and stay tuned for more Earned Leaves Traveler’s travelogues!
Ciao for now 🙂
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