Spending a day in one of the world’s historically important, architecturally beautiful and fabled cities of the world- Paris, the cost effective way. The best way to discover Paris is by walking. The city is friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. As you walk, you will see thousands of restaurants with Parisians making most of the sun. Even if you have less money in your pocket the city will open its heart to you.
Walking on the banks of river Seine
River Seine deserves a full day. The Seine banks are always full of people – couples, painters, musicians, friends, families and of course tourists who are in love with the place. The river has many bridges, each having a history of its own. So before you step out, do read about the city. Only then will the real significance of the city come out to bloom.
If you love photography, you will love the river. There are boat parties every night. Many Parisians, in fact, have spent their entire life on the small boats they have bought. The boats remain anchored on the banks. They do not have to pay property tax as they live on water!
One place that remains all charged up until the wee hours is Bastille, situated near banks of River Seine. It is unlike any other place in Paris. It was the place of the French Revolution (1789-99) and the establishment of Democracy. With this fall of monarchy came the three words that led to foundation of modern politics- liberty, equality and fraternity. People across all ages do salsa, jazz, and ballroom dance at nights at the banks. Do sit in
the crowds and who knows, some body might just ask for your hand!
If you are hungry, the restaurants are not far away. The food will usually start from 5-6 Euros for stuffed baguettes (long breads). You might just develop a paunch after surrendering to those delicious crispy deserts and pies. The budget for a good filling meal will go beyond 8 Euros. If money is a limiting factor or if you had the craving for your junk food, you have McDonald’s, its French brother Quick and other take away shops. Do taste the roadside pancakes. Must-tastes are their delicacies like escargots (snails), oysters, duck and regulars like salads and French cheese.
Traveling in Paris
Paris is like Swiss cheese, with lots of metros running beneath the ground. That is the lifeline here. The best way is to buy a monthly metro card which costs around 60 Euros for unlimited travel in metro for fifteen days. For the first couple of days, traveling can be confusing. But after that, it’s smooth sailing.
Seeing Typical Paris
Not for a minute will you take your eyes off the buildings. Notre Dame, built in 12th century near Seine, is probably the most famous cathedral in the world. It is in this church that coronations of most of the kings used to take place. The Musée du Louvre – or officially Louvre Museum – is the most visited museum in the world, and a historic monument. It used to be the palace of the royals. The paintings and carvings on the ceilings are breathtaking. The palace is home to Mona Lisa by Italian artist Leonardo Da Vinci. Visiting on the first Sunday of the month is free. For students, entry is free one particular day in a week. Invalides museum is the burial place for many great French soldiers, including Napoleon. A place or a historical monument has more to offer to you if you know about its history and the significance.
Eiffel – Finally
The Eiffel Tower is an iron tower built during 1887-1889 and named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel. It is the tallest building in the city. Go to the top of Eiffel for 10 Euros and stay there for as long as you want. It is very common in Paris to propose your loved one on top of the Eiffel and make him / her feel on the top of the world. On top of the tower sits the personal room of Gustave, where he had meetings with Thomas Edison. Grab a cup of coffee or bottle of wine and set your camera to record the sunset. The sun has a unique way of calling it a day here. The tints, shades and hues of yellow, red and orange are splashed over the canvas of the sky. The Eiffel tower seems to have no challenges from any of buildings in the city.
Do visit Montmartre, a hill in North of Paris. Montmartre is primarily known for the white-domed church. It is perhaps the oldest part of the city and has been able to preserve some fragrance of typical Paris. Musicians playing near the Church, people having their sketches drawn by artists on easels and, of course, Moulin Rouge – it is typical Paris, yet hard to describe.
The right time in Paris
An appropriate time to visit Paris is May to August. The weather is pleasant, though sometimes erratic. It will be pouring really hard one day and extremely cold the next day. In June comes the great shopping season where sale actually means sale. Witness the Music Day involves live music performances on the streets and complexes across the city. The artists come from all over the world.
And came the French wines
In Paris, you have to taste wines- pink, white and red. For ladies, you have the sweet wines. A glass of wine starts from four Euros at the restaurants. At the shops you will get a full bottle for four Euros. To carry back, get a lot of French chocolates, perfumes and wines. None are costly. The problem will be the weight that you have to carry back home.
The city shops close down by 7pm. But the city does not sleep. In summers the sun usually sets around 9. After a lot of partying and dancing- it is time to call it a day. Go to Bastille near Seine, sit at the street restaurant, enjoy the wine and salad with baguette as you see the sight- its still day time. Meanwhile you can personally feed the uninvited guests – the birds… Look forward to a rocking night life. Cheers or Santé as they call it.