Geo: 48.8566, 2.35097
First, if you want to view all of my photos from my trip, here's the link:
Paris is an amazing city full of history, culture and beautiful scenery. We saw a ton of stuff in 5 short days. If you don't want to do as much walking as we did, you would need more days or would need to see less. I am surprised at what we did manage to fit in and that I did not give up earlier each day. I certainly could travel to Paris on my own, but I would not have pushed myself as hard and would have missed out on many sites and sounds.
The Museum Pass is a must if you are planning to see all the big sites. Their website is : http://en.parismuseumpass.com/. We got the 6 day pass as it has to be used on consecutive days and we were there for 5. We used it every day and it more than paid for itself. The pass doesn't include extras like audio guides (if they aren't already free like Versailles) or some admission to certain areas (like the bell tower at Notre Dame) but you can go into any site even if you just want to use a restroom. The only big attraction I can think of that is not part of the Pass is the Eiffel Tower, but you have to go there when in Paris and it is 15 euros to go to the top so no big deal.
The Metro is super easy to navigate and has a variety of ticket options. We started with a book of ten tickets (which isn't a book but 10 loose tickets) and bought extra individual tickets or an extra book as we needed. The vending machines are easy to use, but only take coins or credit card and your card has to have a chip, not just a strip. There are day passes and week passes. There is also a fancy pass aimed at tourists, but that seems like a big rip off and I wouldn't suggest it unless you are using the Metro non-stop. Stations are usually easy to find and the signs inside are very good and make finding the right train at a stop with multiple lines easy and finding the right direction if there are different platforms easy. As long as you don't go out of the metro, you can transfer as many times as you need without an extra ticket. You do want to make sure to keep your current ticket in your pocket as we did have to show them at certain stations or put them through a machine in order to exit. I for sure remember having to do this at the Eiffel Tower stop and I think on the way back from Versailles. Versailles is reached using the RER C line which is a separate train from the Metro and costs a little more, but is the best way to get out there.
Paris is also very walkable, as you know from all of my posts about how many miles we went each day. Streets do change names and go at all different angles so sometimes it's tricky to know where you are, but if you can see the Eiffel Tower, that is a good reference point.
Our hotel was the Hotel Kleber. It was about halfway between the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe just off Avenue Kleber which is one of the spokes coming off the circle around the Arc. The price was reasonable, there was an elevator, it was quiet, clean and the staff were all very friendly. They do have breakfast, but we did not pay to eat there when there were cafes and little stands all over the place for cheaper. If I go to Paris again, I will for sure be staying here.
There are lots of dogs and most are not on a leash and they pay no attention to the people walking past. I think one dog looked up at us, but the rest just keep walking. Apparently Parisian dogs are very well trained!
We found everyone we met to be very friendly and helpful. No one was rude or pretended they could not understand us. We also made the effort to order our meals in French and try to ask as much as we could in French. Everyone pretty much just spoke English right away. We felt safe everywhere we went and had no issues with attempts at pickpocketing. The area around the Eiffel Tower has a lot of people trying to get you to sign things or buy their metal replicas but we just walked past and ignored them. So no problems of any kind!
We flew SAS, or Scandinavian Airlines, and it was very nice. They had a sale of an $800 round trip fare, which was great! We had to connect in Copenhagen, but did not have enough time to go out of the airport and see the city. Both the Copenhagen and Paris airports were very easy to navigate due to the abundance of signs. We only got our passport stamped in Copenhagen so next time we'll have to go direct in order to get a Paris stamp.
If you like history or art or beautiful buildings or walking cobblestone streets or big cities or quiet parks or good food or really anything, Paris is probably a good place for you to visit. It's easy to get around, easy to fly in and out of and full of friendly people. I would certainly love to go back!
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