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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Paris in 7 days & food guide!



Place: Paris, France
Date: 16 - 22 December 2014 (early winter)
Suitable for: Solo/Group/Family
Duration: 7 days 6 nights

Paris is a beautiful city to visit all year round, although the best time to go is during the summer (June - September). Famous for its architectural landmarks, it’s a must-go vacation destination at least once in your lifetime.

The ideal duration to visit Paris would be 5-7 days. Within a week, you will be able to see the must-sees and do the must-dos in the city. It will also give you ample time to rub shoulders with the locals. 

Transportation

London - Paris: 7 hours by bus or 2 hours 16 minutes by train.

Bus:
National Express ( £40-80)
Megabus ( £25-70)

Train:
Eurostar ( £70-160)

Tips!
Always buy tickets at least 2 months before your travelling dates.

Getting around

The Paris Metro is a very well connected rail system that covers a 10-mile radius area of central Paris. You can basically get anywhere by jumping trains & switching metro lines. Ticket machines/counters are available at all train stations. There are two types of tickets recommended:
Carnet: aka “books of ten” consists of 10 single ride tickets (it also allows single continuous journeys) for 13.70€.
Mobilis: is a day ticket that offers unlimited rides. This ticket is available in various fare zone coverage.
Zones Price Area
1 - 2     7.00€ Central Paris
1 - 3       9.30€ Central Paris + La Défense
1 - 4     11.50€ Paris + Versailles
1 - 5     16.60€ Paris + Versailles + Parc Disneyland + Fontainebleau

Tips!
If you are only traveling & sightseeing within central Paris, I suggest getting the carnet. The carnet lasted me for 4 days. Use it sparingly. After all, the best way to discover beautiful Paris is on foot. But if you’re under time constraints, get the Mobilis.

Download Paris Metro map here and Extensive Paris Metro guide here.

Accommodation

Area: Place de la Republique
Hotel: Hotel Hibiscus Republique
Price: 50€ per night, Twin Room

The area:
This area is the best place to stay in Paris. Plenty of halal food in the area, vibrant nightlife, beautiful neighbourhood and nearby Republique Metro Station is well connected to other main metro routes.

The hotel:
Hotel Hibiscus Republique’s room is a little cramped but it’s clean and comfortable enough. Although the breakfast was basic continental and not worth the amount I paid, it gets bonus points for being a 2-minutes walk away from an entrance to the Republique Metro and having a famous bakery, Artisan Boulanger, right at the corner of the hotel and a few halal restaurants down the street.

Other suggested areas: 
The Marais, St. Germain, or Ile St. Louis.

Hello! I'm Maryam! This photo was taken at Place de la Republique where the hotel is located.

Itinerary

I walked everywhere and only took the train to and from the hotel. So I’ve grouped the attractions according to the walking distance.

Day 1

Eiffel Tower (Stop at Trocadero Station: Metro 6 or 9)

The ticket price to the Observation Deck is 15.5€ for adult and 13.5€ for youth between 12 - 24 of age. The tower has 3 levels and each floor has different attractions which you can explore right now by visiting their website. The lift starts at Level 1 to Level 2 and another separate lift connecting Level 2 to Level 3. If you are adventurous and prefer to use the stairs, you are able to do so from Level 1 to Level 2.

Tips!
It’s best to buy your tickets online from their website prior to the visit to avoid the long queue.

Different perspectives of Eiffel Tower.

View of Paris from Level 2 of Eiffel Tower. Flickr: Alexander Kachkaev

Arc de Triomphe (Kleber Station: Metro 6)

An arc that honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces, in the middle of what’s basically a huge roundabout. The normal entrance fee of 8€ and 5€ for student is not worth it to me. But taking a picture from afar is just as great.


Champs-Elysees Avenue

A boulevard that leads from Arc de Triomphe to Place de La Concorde. There are high-end shops along this road.

Champs-Elysees Avenue.

Museums near Champs-Elysees (Avenue Winston Churchill)

  • Grand Palais (historic exhibition hall & museum)
Flickr: Mathieu Lecarme
  • Petit Palais (art museum)
Statues at the entrance.

Pont Alexandre III

A deck arch bridge over the Seine river flanked by golden statues.

Flickr: Christian Hamacher

Les Invalides

A complex of buildings housing museums and monuments. The buildings house the Musee de l'Armee, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musee des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musee d'Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France's war heroes.


Musee du Louvre (Louvre-Rivoli Station: Metro 1)

Unless you’re an art enthusiast and speak French fluently, the entrance fee with audio guide ( 50.60€) is not worth it (plus the queue is really long). It took me an hour to get a ticket. This art museum is really huge and takes up almost 3-4 hours to tour. The art collections and exhibitions are quite impressive. Highlight of the tour (for non-artsies like me): the Mona Lisa.

Smile!

With my bestfriend/confidant/sister-from-another-mother Fuzzie. The places you travel to is only as great as the people you travel with.

Musee du Louvre at dawn.


Tuileries Garden

A public garden with few sculptures located near the Louvre Museum.

Flickr: twiga269

Place de la Concorde

One of the major public squares in Paris. There’s also a ferris wheel ( 8€) that lets you see along the stretch of Champs-Elysees Avenue and Tuileries Garden.

Fontaines de la Concorde. Flickr: Bertrand DUPERRIN

Seine River Cruise

Paris looks more beautiful from a boat, day or night. The cruise departs from Eiffel Tower and the price starts from 13.42€. Click here for suggested tour.


Centre Georges Pompidou (Rambuteau Station: Metro 11)

An architecturally avant-garde complex housing National Museum of Modern Art, library and music centre. There are unique, modern and hipster sculptures here.

Flickr: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Nearby: 
Le Potager du Marais. A famous vegetarian restaurant serving authentic French dishes.

Tips!
There’s never enough space in this shoebox of a restaurant so book a table so as to avoid disappointment. The food is delicious and worth the price ( 14-25€ per person).

Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris

A historic Catholic cathedral surrounded by beautiful sculptures and colorful stained glass inside.

Cathedrale Notre Dame

Nearby:
  • La Brasserie de I’le St. Louis. They sell homemade gelato ice-cream. Personal favourite - dark chocolate and nougat gelato.
  • Shakespeare & Company Bookshop. A quaint bookshop selling new and old books, and unique collectibles of Shakespeare’s work.
  • Amarino. They sell Italian gelato, waffles, and crepes that are to die for!
Shakespeare & Company Bookshop.

Pont des Arts


A pedestrian bridge famously know as the “love lock” bridge. There are souvenir shops nearby the bridge selling padlocks of all colours, shapes, and sizes.

Making a mark of our friendship in a sea of lovers' locks on Pont des Arts.

Pantheon

A mausoleum for the remains of distinguished French citizens. Entry fees is 7€ for adult,  4.50€ for 18 - 25 years old and free for under 17.

Flickr: Peder Skou

Nearby: 
Pantheon-Sorbonne University. This area is full of students and hipster cafes and eateries.

Luxembourg Gardens

The gardens have 106 statues spread throughout the park, the monumental Medici fountain (built in 1620), the Orangerie and the Pavillon Davioud.  It is beautiful with many flowers and a great place to relax.


Marche aux Puces (Porte de Clignancourt Station: Metro 4)

It’s an area with many flea markets. Enter from the main road Rue des Rosiers. Most merchants are open on Saturday and Sunday from 9.30am-6pm. A few are open on Friday and Monday by appointment. The different markets are:

  • Marché Biron, No. 85, Rue des Rosiers, is one of the most interesting markets of the Puces. It has French furniture with dealers in lighting, garden ornaments, some fine glass and silverware. Most of it is XVIII of XIX century. The restaurant Biron is at the very top.
  • Marché Dauphine, No. 140, Rue des Rosiers, is a handsome new building, all under glass which houses 300 stands mostly with decorative objects. This market also displays an overwhelming amount of antique merchandise, but it is well worth the browsing.
  • Marché Malassis, No. 142, Rue des Rosiers, is a handsome modern building fully equipped with escalators, coffee bars and excellent lighting. The market displays a broad mix of the better stuff and the amusing. It is not the quality level of the other markets.
  • Marché Paul Bert, No. 104, Rue des Rosiers, is one of the largest and the most typical with over 200 shops covering every imaginable specialty. Much of the market is outdoors so summertime browsing becomes a real pleasure.
  • Marche Serpette, No. 110, Rue des Rosiers, is one of the most fascinating markets. It is a marvellous place to explore at any time and especially in bad weather. The antiques, art and collectibles are excellent: some of the best you will find anywhere.
Flickr: Jori Avlis

Sacre-Coeur (Anvers Station: Metro 2)

A Roman catholic church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on a hill overlooking the Montmartre district which is also known as the art district. There are many artists selling paintings, sketches, and arts & crafts. There are also many quaint cafes.

Sacre-Coeur.

View of Paris from Sacre-Coeur. Flickr: MrOmega

Montmartre District.

Day 5

Outside of Central Paris:

Grande Arche de la Defense (La Defense Station: Metro 1)

A modern architectural arc monument in the business district located west of Central Paris.

Flickr: Guillaume Cattiaux

Chateau de Versailles (Versailles-Rive Gauche Station: RER C - 8.40€ return tickets)

Fancy 18th century palace and gardens famous as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the French’s ancient regime. This is located 40 minutes away from central Paris. Entrance fees from 15€ (tour of the palace)  to 18€ (tour to the palace, gardens and Marie-Antoinette's Estate). Click here for more information.

*the carnet tickets cannot be used on the RER train line.

Outside the Palace. Flickr: Dennis Jarvis

Inside the Palace. Flickr: brian_ytsu

The gardens. Flickr: Bhupal Adhikari

Day 6

Disneyland Parc (Marne-la-Vallee Station: RER A4)
  • Get to Gare du Nord station (Metro 4 or 5). 
  • On arrival, make your way to either the RER B in the direction of Robinson/St. Remy les Chevreuse or RER D to 'Melun/Malesherbes. Both lines will take you to Chatelet Les-Halles station (next stop).
  • From there, take the RER A4 to Marne-la-Vallee (Disneyland Paris) or MLV Chessy on some display screens.
  • Disneyland Parc is 45 minutes away from Central Paris.
Every child's and adult's dream.

Premium Outlet La Vallee Village (Val d’Europe Station: RER A4)

This premium shopping outlet is one train stop before Marne-la-Vallee (Disneyland Paris).

*Carnet tickets cannot be used on the RER train line. If you only want to go to Disneyland, buy Disneyland return ticket ( 15€). If you want to go to the Premium Outlet on the same day, buy Mobilis ticket Zone 1-5 ( 16.60€).

Day 7  

It’s a whole day of traipsing around Paris looking for local dishes and desserts. For this, I suggest getting the Mobilis ticket Zone 1-3 ( 9.30€

Dishes

L’As du Fallafel, a ddress: 34 rue des Rosiers (Saint-Paul Station: Metro 1)

Their falafel is famous to locals and tourists alike. I tried the falafel special and it was worth the price I paid. The portion is big and their falafel is delicious ( 5.50€)

Le Duc, a ddress: 243 boulevard Raspail (Raspail Station: Metro 4 or 6)

Suggested by the receptionist at my hotel, this restaurant serves fresh fish and mussels. The fish and chips’ portion was generous and the fish was fatty and delicious. ( 13€)

Le Reveil du 10e, a ddress: 35 rue du Château d’Eau (Château d’Eau Station: Metro 4)

If you’re a brave foodie (which sadly I am not), try their escargots that’s served traditionally with butter and bread. Go in the afternoon because apparently it’s cheaper. ( 10€)

L’Ecailler du Bistrot, a ddress: 22 rue Paul Bert (Rue des Boulets Station: Metro 9)

This is the best place to experience Paris’s famous seafood. Unless you’re willing to pay a bomb for oysters and mussels, you can skip it. ( 20-30€ per person)

Chez Nenesse, a ddress: 17 rue de Saintonge (Saint-Sebastien Station - Froissart: Metro 8)

I have to say that this is the best French fries served in Paris. ( 4€)

Desserts 

Les Enfants Perdus, a ddress: 9 rue des Recollets (Gare de l’Est Station: Metro 4, 5 or 7)

This restaurant is popular for its weekend brunch. I only tried their dessert, suggested by the waitress: pain perdu. This pudding is very sweet. ( 4€)

L’Avant Comptoir, a ddress: 3 Carrefour de l’Odeon (Odeon Station: Metro 4 or 10)

The French makes the best crepes. And I can never get enough of it. The crepes here were amazing. Crispy, soft and comes with whatever fillings you fancy (I had chocolate and whip cream). ( 5€)

Cafe Constant, a ddress: 139 rue Saint-Dominique (Ecole Militaire Station: Metro 8)

They have the best profiteroles. It’s huge, soft, creamy and just sweet enough without being overwhelming. Come as early as 8am if you want to dine in as it’s packed with locals. ( 7€)

Popelini,   a ddress: 29 rue Debelleyme (Filles du Calvaire Station: Metro 8)

This shop sells cream puffs and only cream puffs. Personal favourite: vanilla and praline. ( 5-7€)

L’eclair de Genie, address: 14 rue Pavee (Saint-Paul Station: Metro 1)

This shop sells eclairs: the boring chocolate kind and the fancier kind. Personal favourite: nougat eclair ( 7€)

Tips!
Pace yourself. Portions here are usually huge so it’s a good idea to share. And if you’re banked on trying everything (like I was), get them as takeaways.

Souvenirs

Being a tourist hotspot, there are plenty of souvenir shops and street vendors all around central Paris. When you walk around Eiffel Tower and its surrounding area, you will see many people selling keychains and fridge magnets on the streets. If you're thinking of buying in bulk, these are very cheap. There are also souvenir shops near Pont des Arts but I prefer the souvenir shops located on Rue d'Arcole right next to Notre Dame. There are plenty to choose from with a few cute cafes selling paninis and crepes along the street. The atmosphere here is more touristy and welcoming.

For souvenirs, I love sending postcards from the city I am in to my loved ones back home, buying a French cuisine/dessert cookbook for my mom, fridge magnets for the family, Paris tshirts for the nephews and dozens of caramel drops.

As for me, the only souvenirs I take with me are the photographs I took. I send them for printing and keep them in my memory box. To me, the most lasting souvenir for the traveller is to relive the moment through photographs.

Extra Tips
  • Paris is not wifi-friendly. To get free wifi, the best bet would be at McDonald’s or other big restaurant chains. Some main attractions such as Eiffel Tower do offer free wifi.
  • Get a map of Paris or of the places you want to visit, and metro map. It’s best to know roughly the layout of the land. Always study the map before leaving the hotel. Make notes (or better yet, memorise the names of stations/streets). The less you rely on your phone, the better (for safety reasons).
  • Make friends with the receptionist at the hotel/hostel you’re staying at. They’re the best person to ask for directions to anywhere.
Dangers

Paris (and every other big cities in Europe) has high crime rates.
  • Pickpockets, snatch thieves, cons, and the people on the street asking for your signature. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING if you don’t know what it is. These are scams.
  • Always be skeptical, stay vigilant of your surroundings, and wear an inner travel pouch (for your passport, phone, and money). It’s not fashionable but you are less likely to be victimise.
  • Also, unless they seem harmless, stay away from homeless people. If people are aggressive towards you, DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT. Just walk with purpose and get to a crowd of people.
Overall 

Every visit shows me something different and new. It is the kind of city that you grow to love. Stay vigilant and enjoy the city and culture to the fullest.

Written by  Maryam
Photographed by Maryam and courtesy of Flickr.

About the writer: Maryam is a journalist on a one-year break. When she's not busy 'saving the world', she enjoys travelling and toe-tapping to her life's background music. She secretly wish to be a superhero-slash-rockstar. She also wishes that she get paid for loving cakes.

6 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Terima Kasih Muhammad Khairuddin for sticking with us :)

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  2. Jalan cari pengalaman

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alhamdullilah ada rezeki Kak Mahh :)

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  3. thanks maryam..good tips & info :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kak An :). Our pleasure to publish as well. Kak An bila nk jd guest writer? traveller tegar nie

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