This year (2018) we have decided to visit Switzerland, being expensive we have been planning to visit Switzerland for quite some time now. We usually visit one county in each trip, but this time we have decided to visit France as well. Since it was just a 5 hour train journey to Swiss , we really don’t want to miss Eiffel tower neither don’t want to make a separate trip to Paris alone, so finally we decided to visit Paris and Switzerland. Switzerland is very expensive country and hence I would provide some tips to do budget travel to Swiss in another blog.
As usual we have prepared our packing list and arranged air tickets, hotel bookings and site seeing packages thru Hammock tours. One day before the boarding we tried to login in airfrance website for web checkin and it gives us a big shock. Due to national scheduled strike , airfrance had rescheduled our tickets to 20th, April instead of 18th. We were so disappointed and panicked as our entire plans would get spoiled and we have booked non-refundable tickets in hotels, trains etc. Finally just 6 hrs before our departure our travel agent was able to pressurize the airlines and get alternate ticket for the same day. This time we got our tickets in JetAirways thru Mumbai. We really had a tough time at Mumbai as layover was just 1.5 hrs and we had to complete our emigration process in extremely busy Mumbai airport. Some how we jumped the queue and get our emigration done and rushed to the gate on time. After the series of tensions our fun starts and super excited about our trip.
Jetairways was good and they served Indian food , our flight to Paris took off at 2 am from Mumbai. We reached Paris at 8:15 am on 19th April. A cab was waiting there to drop us to hotel. We have booked a hotel named Virgina located at porte d’orleans . This hotel was located at a very convenient location near to metro station and bus stop. In Paris normally hotel check-in timing is 2 pm, we reach the hotel at 11 am, but we were lucky enough to get the room without waiting till 2 pm. Receptionist was friendly and he mentioned that we are lucky to get a room with balcony and all. We collected the key and got into the room and surprised to see the size of room and balcony. Rooms and balcony were so tiny but it was neatly maintained, we got to know that in Paris almost all hotels have such rooms as real estate is so costly.
Front view of hotel Virgina.
Lift in the hotel was too small for 2 persons and luggage, but it looks beautiful.
By around 12:30 pm we got fresh and decided to explore the city. We decided to take the metro , public transport is pretty good in Paris and Swiss. Initially when we looked at the metro map we got a bit confused but since we had prior experience with tube in London , it was ok to follow the map. One of my friend was waiting at Chatelet station, we got down at Chatelet metro station and met him and visited a newly opened mall where there was live performance and all. Chatelet is happening place in Paris and got a feel of the Paris city.
TIP: While buying train tickets, you should buy the bundle of 10 which is provided at a discount price , these tickets can be used in Metro and Bus. Also same ticket can be used multiple times within 1.5 hrs if you are not changing the lines.
Now it is time for us to visit Louvre museum , one of the famous and largest museums in the world. Louvre museum is famous for Mona lisa picture drawn by the great Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. This picture is kept in a bullet proof room with tight security. None of the insurance companies are willing to insure this picture as it is considered invaluable, so you can guess the importance. Louvre is pronounced as LOOV . All the European tours starts from a central location, in our case Louvre museum tour start from Arc de triomphe, which is just adjustment to tuileries garden.
Louvre museum with glass pyramid.
A snap of Louvre museum from Arc de triomphe
Arc de triomphe
We reach the meeting point by 4pm and our tour was starting at 6pm. We had a very nice refreshing walk around the glass pyramid , Arc de triomphe and Tuileries Garden. Tuileries Garden is having plenty of seats to rest and relax, garden is well maintained.
It is already 6PM and we moved towards Arc de triomphe and guide was waiting for us, we joined the group and it was a voice guided tour. It is worth to have voice guided tour so that each exhibits are explained in detail. Some of the world famous exhibits are invaluable and guide explained how these paintings and sculptures are commissioned by the king / rulers and what hardships those artists have gone thru. Many of the exhibits were handicapped as they were not able to get the remaining parts or lost during the wars.
We have clicked snaps of some of the famous exhibits including Mono Lisa .
Sculpture from Greece
There is an interesting story behind this sculpture, may be a separate blog for it 🙂
Hallway where crowns with diamonds are exhibited.
Great & Orignial Monalisa painting
Museum tour need atleast 4 hour , but by the time we finished Monalisa , decided to leave as it is already 9:30pm. Good thing about Paris is till 9pm sun will be shining . We took our train to hotel and had our dinner from subway near the hotel. By this time my pedometer was counting 15000+ steps and we were tired. It was a pleasant and exciting day. Day 2 excitements are recorded here.