Paris is a place which needs no introduction. Once we booked our train tickets to Paris from London; we were really looking forward to this trip (traveled in August 2016)
One can either book a flight from London to Paris or can take Eurostar train from London to Paris. The flight usually takes around an hour but the total time to arrive in Paris could range between four to five hours considering the need to arrive at the airport early, get all the security checks done etc. The Eurostar takes around 2:15 hours from London to Paris but it is totally worth it if you are travelling with toddlers. We boarded Eurostar from St Pancras Station, London and the whole process for boarding took around 40 mins. In a nutshell, Eurostar would essentially entail overall lesser time and it is generally a more economical option!!! Bonus, you get nice views while travelling in the train.
Eurostar Train :Euro 150 ( London St Pancras Int’l – Paris Gare Du Nord )
Eurostar Train : Euro 140 ( Paris Gare Du Nor – London St Pancras Int’l)
Paris Gare Du Nord
Once we arrived at Paris Gare Du Nord, there are many people stationed at Station to help you with directions.
We bought the carnet (set of 10) tickets from the station for Euro 16 for each of us. This ticket can be used in metro as well as in bus transport and by the end of our visit to Paris, we realised one carnet each was enough for the 3-days travel in Paris.
Musee Du Louvre
From station, we went directly to the museum Musee Du Louvre. We paid a little extra to keep our luggage while we visited the museum. We bought the tickets on the counter. The museum is huge, and one can spend whole day (it is a treat for history buffs) here. We could check-out only one-fourth before our daughter got exhausted. Gladly, we did make it a point to visit the most famous painting of Mona Lisa!!! In fact, the moment we reached in the hall where the painting was clamped, more than the painting, we were astonished to see the swarm of bees, oops, I mean the plethora of people viewing the same in awe!!! We, as a family, watched the mesmerized audience while the mesmerized audience looked at the Painting!!! I was rather more interested to get closer and see if Mona Lisa’s eyes followed me when I move left & right. Sadly, crowd did not let us come any closer, gladly, we did not let Mona Lisa see us either!!! 😊
The Louvre Pyramid
So, after spending around three hours, we came out of Louvre to visit the Pyramid (this place is just outside the Louvre). Considering it was hot by now, we still managed to spend a lot of time here taking pictures, playing with water from the fountains and just roaming around. This place, the architecture, the vibe, beauty, pyramid, fountains, everything in this place is just awesome.
We roamed around Tuileries Garden for some more time (did not take pictures here) before we called it a day, hopped on a metro train and got to our stay at Rue du Montparnasse (Rue du stands for streets in French).
We started our day with the visit to Luxembourg Garden (we chose this place, because it was walking distance from our place of stay). The garden is by far very beautiful and we had fun looking at the beautifully cut treetops.
After spending some time here, we went to the designated stop of Big-Bus Tours near the garden. We had already booked the Big-Bus tour. We would definitely not recommend at all particularly if you are frugal on spending and one can do some research about all the hops these buses make.
Notre Dame Paris Cathedral
The next stop was Notre Dame Paris Cathedral. This place is beautiful, we spent an hour here just to marvel the beauty of it. Sadly, we did not book our tickets in advance and the long queue was certainly discouraging specially with our 2-year-old daughter, Smaira!!! Definitely would recommend purchasing the ticket in advance since this place is beautiful not just from exterior but interior as well as heard from many other tourists.
We hopped on the Big-Bus tours again and the next stop was Musée d’Orsay. This was an old railway station converted to a museum. We were not interested to go in, so we just took few pictures outside.
In a very short span, we realized that we did not like the Big-Bus tours and wanted to fly free like birds from one flower to another. We dumped the Big-Bus tours and went walking to the Pont Alexandre III bridge towards Arc de Triomphe via Champs-Élysées (world’s most famous commercial street). Sorry, just to slow down, basically, it was Musée d’Orsay –> Pont Alexandre III bridge –> Champs-Élysées ..> Arc de Triomphe.
The entire walk is full of fun and would recommend this to everyone. The whole Paris has a great architectural vibe and the best way to feel it is by walking on the streets and stopping as you please rather than visiting only tourist spots.
Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe honors soldiers who fought and sacrificed their lives in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and Generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. We, though Indians, still felt the emotional touch and respect for the soldiers who lost their lives.
Trocadero , Eiffel Tower
We moved to Trocadero by local bus. It is just a mile from Arc de Triomphe, but we were tired by now. So took a bus (with those carnet tickets). Trocadero is great spot to take iconic pictures of you/your family with Eiffel Tower in the background. Here are some pictures that we took.
One good thing about Big-Bus tours was the cruise tour over River Seine that come along. We took this tour at night (recommend taking this cruise trip at night). You will have a clandestine moment with love in air!!! With Smaira peacefully sleeping, we sat on the deck, held each other’s hands, and watched the brightly lit Eiffel Tower.
The cruise ended midnight (it was the last cruise), we had one last look at the twinkling Eiffel tower and felt lucky to be able to see this place in its full glory. We bid good bye and head back to our stay.
Big Bus Tours, cost: Euro 76 ( Do not recommend buying it)
Note: We did not purchase the Eiffel tower tickets to go up. They got sold advance. Book early if you want to go up the tower. I am sure it will be worth the money.
Having spent the most beautiful day yesterday, we lazily spent the time today and Minal dressed up in her best outfit and we took to the French streets for few poses with Smaira, our daughter.
We went to few local shops, bought memento and with happy memories returned to London in Evening train.
- Keep the below map handy and you can travel to all the spots by foot or local bus rather than buying Big-Bus tours. Paris is quite small.
- Do Seine cruise at night.
- Book tickets to Eiffel tower in advance.