A dim sun shone above our heads as we marked the beginning of our journey in the entirety of the Western Europe, starting with the La ville-lumiere or the city of lights, Paris. The beautiful city is a treat for the eyes as well as the heart. Our two day trip in Paris started when we landed at the Charles de Gaulle airport on a June afternoon. The airport succeeded in overwhelming me by its magnanimous size and high-tech systems. We caught up with our group of travelers and soon our travel guide was drawling about Paris and our itinerary for the day. It wasn’t long before I found myself in the bus, on my way to the mighty Eiffel Tower. We went around the city once and saw all the major tourist attractions like the Palais Garnier, the Arc de Triomphe, the Opera house, Place de la concorde, Conciegerie, The Louvre and Les Invalids. Being a former student of French, my sixteen year old self was too excited and mesmerized by seeing all the things in front of my eyes on which I had traced my fingers in the textbooks a year or two ago.
Finally it was time to get off the bus and start our five minute walk from the parking lot to the entrance of the La Tour Eiffel. I giddily hopped with our group and reached the start of the line which led to the tower. The weather was pleasant, with chilly gusts of wind surrounding us. After walking down the line for fifteen or twenty minutes, we reached the entrance to the tower. Our tickets allowed us to go to the second level of the Eiffel tower. Gradually it was time for us to take the elevator which led to the second level (the lines are quite long!). The elevator itself can fit upto 10-15 people. To say that the view from the tower was beautiful would be an understatement. The tower overlooked the entire city of Paris and all the other attractions like The Arc de Triomphe, river Seine and the Tuileries Garden could be seen. It was very windy at that height but that did not stop the view from being exotic. We went around the level and bought a miniature replica (price was 14 Euros) of the Eiffel Tower as a souvenir. Then we made our way to the exit and met up with our group.
The exquisite thing about Europe is that people are very proud of their language. For example, in India we use English to talk to strangers but in France they will only speak French. I personally felt that you have to wear the ‘tourist’ tag quite persuasively in order for them to help you out in English. Language barrier might be a problem but the people are very polite so I don’t think anyone should have an issue. I was not fluent in French but I knew the basics so we did not face a lot of problems during our stay.
The day at the Eiffel Tower ended with a warm dinner at an Indian restaurant and we were off to our hotel. Upon asking our guide, I found out that most people preferred staying in the outskirts of the main city as it is cheaper there. There are lines and lines of hotels just outside the city. Our hotel was a four star hotel with spacious bedrooms and fully-equipped bathrooms. The hotel staff was very helpful and catered to our needs. A strange thing I found out was that in the west, people drank sparkling water or soda as drinking water. So we were asked to get the tap water as it was just like the normal mineral water.
It was our trip to Disneyland, Paris the next day. We were up and about by six thirty in the morning and by half-past seven we were done with our breakfast and were on our way to the destination. The bus-ride was lasted around thirty minutes and we were enlightened by the tour guide with some history about France and Paris as well.
The day was spent well with Disney Princesses, Mickey Mouse and his friends, rides and Disney themed food. Our second day in Paris ended with a dinner which left our taste buds tingling at another Indian restaurant.
I would recommend everyone who is planning a trip to Paris to go to Disney land as it has no age barriers. Adults as well as kids will enjoy a fun-filled day there. The Avenue des Champs–Élysées is a must for every shopper and watching a show at the Paris Opera House (which has been in the plot for many stories, The Phantom of the Opera being one of them) should be on everyone’s to-do list.
Paris can be enjoyed by any one and every one – from couples, to families and to friends.
As a lover of history and culture, this two-day trip was too short for me as I did not get the chance to visit the various museums, historical locations, etc. So, if you are just like me and want to visit Paris to let some of its history seep into to your bones, make sure you have enough time in hand to visit the Louvre, the Pantheon, the palace at Versailles and attractions like that. A week in La ville-lumiere is like a week in heaven!
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