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Old 16th June 2016, 12:33   #1
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Default A Day in Paris

"The most Romantic City in the world ", "The city of light", "World fashion capital" are some of the titles it has received. Founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the "Parisii" the city of Paris had grown into the largest city of the western world " by the 12th Century. By 18th century the "revolution" which started here gave the idea of modern democracy to the world. Well, one thing is certain: it has really too many places to visit, each more beautiful and than the other. This maybe the reason why, in 2014, Paris became the most visited tourist destination welcoming more than 20 million tourists.

With places too many, each more beautiful than the others it will take weeks to explore the City. Maybe more if you are a thorough art lover and would be visiting the many museums.

But, for an average working class person like me, I hardly get a day or two in Paris, that too, mostly when we are going or returning from work. During my most recent visit to France I decided to spend one day, yes, just a day, in Paris and see how many places can be covered during the course of a day. Here is my blog mentioning places than can be /maybe covered in "A day in Paris".

To begin with, choosing the right place of stay is very important. Not just the Hotel itself but also the location of the Hotel. Some of the preferred location "in the city" are :- Gare du Nord, Châtelet – Les Halles, St-Michel – Notre-Dame, Luxembourg or Port-Royal

The main advantages of choosing these locations are:-
1. Metro can be availed conveniently to visit any place
2. RER-B train can be availed from these stations to Paris CDG airport
3. Being towards the "centre" these places are closer to many tourist destination and the Les Halles shopping area

It is better to stay near Les-Halles or St Michel. These places are in the center and many tourist places are in walking distance from here. In my case I chose to stay near Strasbourg because I wanted to see the new Thalapakatti Biriyani centre which has recently opened in Paris and also because I had to catch the early morning RER_B train the next day.

To cover the city in one day, I mean to cover the "main attractions" its important to start the day early. So I booked the taxi in the morning and in two hours was in the Paris Hotel. Travelling in taxi in France is fun. With their limited English and my limited French we try to exchange notes. If the driver is from Maghreb you can utter two magic names to make the journey pleasant. The two magic names are :-
1. Amitabh Bachchan
2. Shah Rukh Khan.

Upon hearing the magic names the taxi driver nodded happily sang the song "Apni Tho Jaisa Taise". He sang complete sentences with very good pronunciation.

Dropping the luggage in the Hotel is the first thing I did.

The second thing to do is to purchase a "metro pass". Depending on the duration we can purchase a day pass, 2 day pass etc. But its better to always purchase the pass because it entitles us to travel by Metro, Bus and to use the Montmartre Funiculaire.

Here is a link which gives information on Metro pass :
http://www.parismetro.com/
For a day visit purchasing "Paris center" pass worth 10E is enough which can be purchased from any Metro station.

The third thing is to have some maps.
A Paris metro map and a detailed Paris map can be easily availed in hotels, Stations etc.

Additionally I also use a pictorial map denoting the tourist attraction and their locations. This will give an idea to plan the sequence of visit. I used the one below which is available freely over the internet.

A Day in Paris-paris-tour-map.jpg

And now its time to explore.
Please note: the numbers written below on the attractions are not in order of precedence or ranking but simply the sequence of my visit.

1. Montmartre
After purchasing the pass, I went to see "Montmartre". This is actually a large hill on the north part of Paris. Reaching here is possible by Metro and by Bus. Metro is fast but if we travel by bus we can also "see the city". If we take bus we can reach the top of the hill directly. If we take Metro we have to choose whether to alight at "Anvers" or "Chateau Rouge" stations. Anvers can be preferred, both by bus and Metro, because to reach the Hill we can use the "funiculaire" which by itself is an experience. I took the metro to Barbes and then instead of changing the Metro I decided to walk towards Mantmartre on foot. This street, called as Boulevard de Rochecouart is full of shops in addition to the famed TATI market. Things here are really cheap but quality wise we need to chose carefully if we decide to buy. While walking idly I decided to have some groundnuts being sold by a desi. He explained that its grown locally!
A Day in Paris-paris-ki-phalli.jpg

To take the Funiculaire we have to turn right just after the Anvers station / bus stop into the Rue de Steinkerque. This street is full of people doing "ball is in which of the three cups trick" and card tricks. Previously I thought its easy to make money here, tried to gamble and kept losing the money until I realized not only it is a "Trick" but even the other people who are "betting" are part of the same group. This time I kept poker face, avoided the temptation and kept walking on. A left turn and I reached Funiculaire.

A Day in Paris-0funicular.jpg

The Montmartre is an interesting part because on the very top we have the imposing "Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur" which is the symbol of French Catholicism and on the bottom we have the most famous and notorious night clubs including Moulin Rouge.

The "Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur" itself is a beautiful building with finely crafted Frescoes.

A Day in Paris-montmartre.jpg

A Day in Paris-frescoes.jpg

The area just outside the Basilica is hugely popular. From here we can see a panoramic view of the city. This is also a reason to start Paris tour from Montmartre, because we have a mental map of what is where.

The Montmartre was the place where the greats like Dali, Renoir, Henri Matisse, Van Gogh and the master Pablo Picasso had their studios. The tradition has been maintained and even today the area surrounding the Basilica is full of Impressionist artists. They make very precise sketches of people and at times I wonder at the details in the sketches.

2. Pantheon
First of all, YES, there is a Pantheon in Paris also.
After spending ample time at the Montmartre it was time to start again. I started towards Place Monge. I had arranged to meet my long lost colleague and an extremely nice gentle men this afternoon. For ease we had decided to meet in the Grand Mosque near Place Monge. To be there by afternoon I will have sufficient time to cover Pantheon in morning and still be on time. Pantheon is in the southern part of Paris or in other words "the other side from Montmartre". So its best to take Metro from near Montmartre to Luxembourg station or Place Monge station to save time. The best is to take Metro to Luxembourg, walk through the Luxembourg Gardens and arrive at the Pantheon. The area is full of universities and museums located in the many ancient and architecturally rich buildings.

If we are on a two day visit we can take time to admire the "Luxembourg Palace". Pantheon has been sometimes a church and sometimes a meeting place of intellectuals. It was here that the physicist Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the Earth. The Pantheon is the burial place of the "National Heroes" as opposed to the "Les Invalides" which is the burial ground for historical military leaders like Napoleon.

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Voltaire, Rousseau, Hugo, Marie Curie among others have been interred here. What made me really excited was to learn that Alexander Dumas has been buried here, or rather his remains were shifted here from another cemetery. All in all, this place is rich in history and architecture.

3. Paris Grand Mosque
Time was running fast. The time to meet my friend was almost up. The Metro station "Place Monge" is quite nearby and its not difficult to walk from Pantheon to the "Paris Grand mosque". The mosque is famous for sheltering and saving thousands of Jews during World War -II by providing them Fake Muslim birth certificates. The building is quite big and is architecturally rich.
A Day in Paris-mosque-1.jpg

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The area behind the mosque has many gardens and museums. Chiefly the Natural history Museum, the Evolution gallery, botanical garden.. Keep walking and you hit the Seine.

It was nice to catch up with my long last friend Adil. Instead of the original plan to walk through the gardens behind the mosque to reach the Seine, he insisted I accompany him for lunch to eat Couscous in the Belleville area. And I must admit it was rather delicious and heavy lunch.
A Day in Paris-couscous.jpg

Compared to what I used to eat in the hotel [below part in the photo] this couscous was indeed more authentic and heavy.

4. Notre Dame
Situated on an Island in the River Seine, without doubt, this is one of the top tourist destinations in Paris. Considered to be a "Pure French Gothic" architecture this may well be the most well known church in the world. This also contains a number of holy relics. A steep and narrow climb up the stairs will bring you in view of the famous bells and the Gargoyles. It is possible to have panoramic view of the City along the Seine from the top. But be prepared for a long Queue outside the Notre Dame to enter and climb up to the top.

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It is possible to spend quite an amount of time just sitting opposite to Notre Dame and admiring the beauty. We can use Metro to reach from Montmartre to Pantheon and then another Metro to reach Notre Dame and then we can keep Notre Dame as the starting point of "Walk Along The Seine" where you can cover many important tourist places like Louvre Palace/Museum, Concorde, Champs Elyssee shopping area, Arc De Triomphe, Palais Des Congres etc.
Please remember, either we walk or take bus but never go underground for the metro. This way we will "see" all the monuments.

5. Bridges on the Seine
As we walk along the Seine we will come across the many beautiful and famous bridges of Paris which are themselves major tourist attractions.
The bridge we see right near the Notre Dame cathedral is the "Pont au double". This is not a double decker bridge but actually named so because a "double denier" or something like "two penny" was collected during the construction of the bridge.

When we walk on the left bank of the Saint-Michel island we see the two most famous bridges called as "Pont Saint-Michel" and the more famous "Pont Neuf". Pont Neuf or the "The new bridge" is also the literal end or tip of the Saint Michel island. From here we need to take a left or right to enter main river bank. It is also the place where the boat jetty for the Seine cruise is located. There is a small but beautiful garden situated just below the bridge. For quick reach, there is a metro station at Pont Neuf"

Paris has still may more bridges which are beautiful. The one that is called as "Pont Alexandre III" has intricate carvings in Golden theme [see below also]
A Day in Paris-pont-alexandre-iii.jpg.

The walkway from Notre Dame to Louvre is also a treasure trove of book shops and trinkets.

5. Louvre
As we keep walking, next we come to the Louvre. Originally built as a fortress, then converted into a palace and finally taking the Avatar of the "Musée du Louvre" since 1793, this is perhaps the largest and the most famous Art museum in the world.

The museum located on Four levels will take atleast one full day to complete even if you do an "express walk" to just "see" the artifacts. Exploring, understanding and appreciating the Artifacts may take few days atleast. Because the total length of the display corridor is a mind boggling 8 miles. So, if we are on "one day Paris visit"
what do we do?

Either spend some time on the "surface" which itself is quite spectacular.
A Day in Paris-louvre-1.jpg

A Day in Paris-louvre-2.jpg

Or get in for Quick run to the Richelieu, the Sully, and the Denon wings of the Louvre to see Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory. We can also take an English language 90 minute 12 Euro tour to complete the "important" displays.

I try hard not to be intimidated by the cameara clicking and jostling heavy crowd near Mona Lisa. Some may feel disappointed by the small scale of the Mona Lisa painting. In fact the painting is just about 30 inch by 20 inch. The panting does look beautiful at close range but a point to note is that Louvre has many more artifacts to wonder than merely Mona Lisa.

On the exterior, the large Louvre Pyramid surrounded by three smaller pyramids built by I.M.Pie serve as the entrance to the museum. Though the pyramids have their own fans and cynics, for me it looks like an aberration in between the fine Gothic architecture.
And, yes, unlike Dan Brown I really don't believe that Jesus and Family are interred here.

PS: Don't forget, there will be a Queue to Enter the museum.

6. Towards Concorde

As we exit the Louvre area and cross the Place Du Carroussel we enter the "gardens". A beautiful place to walk. On left we have two more bridges - Pont Du Carroussel and Pont Royal. As we enter the gardens we come to a small pond surrounded by Chairs. After the walk its a relief to sit here and rest the aching feet.

A Day in Paris-0elegant1.jpg

As we rest here and try to catch up on what happened in the last few years, an elegant French family decided to come over and have a look at us closely.

A Day in Paris-elegant.jpg

We exit the gardens and arrive at Place Concorde. Below is a snap of the "Luxor Obelisk" with the Eiffel peeping around.

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This place has few "autos" or "Tuktuks" for joy rides.

A Day in Paris-paris-tuktuk.jpg

7. Les Invalides

From here we take a diversion, cross the Pont De La Concorde to the other side [left bank] of the Seine and visit Les Invalides. Famous as the resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte ,this is a multipurpose building containing three museums: the Army museum, the Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération, and the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, all related to the military history of France. This also contains a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans. The Dôme des Invalides is a large church with the burial site for some of France's war heroes, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte. After a quick view we cross the beautiful and ornate Pont Alexander III and arrive back to the right canal of Seine to Champs Elyssee.

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8. Champs Elyssee - Towards Arc De Triomphe

The Arc De Triomphe situated at the one end of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées where as the Luxor Obelisk at the Concorde is at the other end. The Arc is at the center of Place de l’Étoile or Place du Général Charles de Gaulle which is a junction of 12 roads. If tired, then take a metro or a bus. The "Champs Elysse Clemenceau" metro comes in the centre of Champs Elysse and the "Franklin Roosevelt Metro" is directly near the arc.

The Arc was built in honor of the French Imperial army of Napoleon. Even though Napoleon started the construction, it was Louis Philippe who inaugurated this.
The Arc de Triomphe honours the soldiers who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. In the ground beneath the arch, the tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Soldat inconnu) of the First World War is interred. The eternal Flame of Remembrance is placed on the grave. It is a token for the soldiers killed in the war who were never identified. Since 1923, the flame has been rekindled every evening at 6.30pm by associations of war veterans.

The Arc de Triomphe is certainly a symbolic monument with a strong historic connotation, and its alignment along the Historical Axis has been meticulously calculated to have the sun setting under the arches on some particular days. Twice a year, around the 10th May and the 1st August, the sun sets on the Historical Axis. The sun rises towards the East under the arch around the 7th February and the 4th November.

This here is a photo of Champs Elyssee with view of the Arc De Triouphe from a previous visit and below that the Arc itself.

A Day in Paris-0bus-arc.jpg

A Day in Paris-0arc-de-trioph.jpg

Champs Elyssee is the place where we do high end shopping.

9. Tour Eiffel
Named after the architect of the tower, the Eiffel tower was built between 1887 and 1889 to mark the centenary of the French Revolution. Even though the tower is named after him, Gustave Eiffel himself had the 72 names of French engineers, mathematicians, and scientists inscribed all around the first platform of the tower. The tower has three platforms open for visitors: the first level is 57 m high and the second stands at 115 m. The last level reaches 276 m. Please remember to buy the tickets in advance by online booking. The queue will be genrally long for the "lift entrance" than the "stair entrance".

A Day in Paris-0eiffel-1.jpg

Every hour for 5 minutes in the evening the special lighting of the tower will be lit on Eiffel. Be sure to check the timings to check this out.

A Day in Paris-0eiffel-2.jpg

Here is a view from the tower with the Montparnesse standing tall in the other end.

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Opposite to the Tower, on the other bank of the Seine there is the beautiful Garden Trocadero.

View from tower.
A Day in Paris-0trocadero1.jpg

Close up view.
A Day in Paris-0trocadero.jpg

10. Night in Paris
OK. So we are done. All "important" location are covered in a day.
Now its time to go to hotel and sleep... but is it needed?
Why not spend more time "out", enjoy the Paris night life [with care] and then sleep in the flight next day? After all what else is there to do inside the flight
A Day in Paris-0anvers.jpg

Shopping in Paris
1. TATI market and the complete area between Barbes and Anvers - very cheap but quality compromised
2. Place monge - better than TATI
3. Les halles : A good and big market close to Notre Dame
4. Champs Elyssee : high end shopping

Eating in Paris
1. Gare Du Nord area is full of "Indian" restaurants
2. Belleville area for Maghreb food
3. Many eateries in many places
4. High end restaurants on Montmartre.
5. Seine Cruise

Alternate Ways of visiting Paris in a day

An alternate way to both walking and Metro are the various Paris open roof tour buses. We can avail a one day pass or a two day pass on these buses for sightseeing. This is a kind of Hop On Hop Off service where we can alight at one tourist place and after seeing the place we can take another bus to another tourist destination. However we have to use the same company bus for which we have the pass. Here is a view of Pont Alexander III and Opera from the roof top bus taken during my previous visits.

Click image for larger version

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A Day in Paris-opera.jpg

PS: Special thanks to MPB and XB whose expert advise over the course of my visits has helped me to explore Paris intricately.

Last edited by Bakash4u : 23rd June 2016 at 14:22.
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Old 24th June 2016, 11:12   #2
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by GTO : 24th June 2016 at 11:13. Reason: Bump
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Old 24th June 2016, 12:46   #3
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Dear Bakash4u,

Nice.
I have been to Paris in 2009. In half a day I could only do the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum (partly only).
I am impressed that you have covered so much.

I was there last month too. Unfortunately, due to rains, flooding and railway strike my customer visits were a mess and sightseeing went out of the window.
I have given you a well deserved 5 stars!

Girish Mahajan
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Old 24th June 2016, 12:58   #4
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Thank you Girish Saab for the stars.
Its possible to cover many places if we start early and use Metro.

But you are right, its not possible to cover both "Inside Louvre" and "climbing the Eiffel" in same day. We will have choose between either climbing the Tower or "Going inside" the Louvre. Mainly because of the long queues.

Its unfortunate you were caught in the floods. My colleague had same problem and simply had to stay in Hotel for the day.
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Old 24th June 2016, 14:48   #5
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I had been to Paris in 2012. Stayed there for 2 nights and 3 days. I didn't even visit places that you covered in a single day. Actually i had gone to Palace of Versailles.
The only unfortunate thing happened to me was that I lost my camera on the last day of my trip in a metro.
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Old 24th June 2016, 15:18   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redcruiser View Post
I had been to Paris in 2012. Stayed there for 2 nights and 3 days. I didn't even visit places that you covered in a single day. Actually i had gone to Palace of Versailles.
The only unfortunate thing happened to me was that I lost my camera on the last day of my trip in a metro.
Thanks redcruiser.
I hope you will do it next time. It is possible if we concentrate on "city center" and start early.
I have not seen Versailles.
If we go to Versailles do we will lose one whole day?
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Old 24th June 2016, 15:27   #7
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Thanks redcruiser.

If we go to Versailles do we will lose one whole day?
yes true.if you start early say by 7 AM you would be done visiting and photographing by 6PM. It is really worth to see that place.
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Old 24th June 2016, 20:53   #8
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Damn so many places in one day really commendable sir. I guess it took 3-4 weekends for me to cover half of these places last year, though at my own pace esp with the museums. Next time do add Musee d Orsay, climbing up the stairs of Notre Dame and the boat cruise on the Seine in the evening with Tour eiffel lighting up the entire city, to your list.A visit to Latin quarters,Colosseum & Bastille is equally worthwhile.And the thing I adore about Paris is the art crazy junta. Every month first sunday all museums are free entry so just plan accordingly and park yourselves in front of a Picasso or a Vinci and dream. Metros are the best ways to travel, just beware of some conmen who stand near vending machines to cheat first timers quite often by trying to help purchase tickets. The cost factor aside, one just cant help going crazy in love with Paris.

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Old 25th June 2016, 19:22   #9
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Well, I just returned from Paris today morning and took the two day Bus tour including the one hour boat cruise. I am going to put up a seperate post for my 13 day trip to Italy & France. Did you see the supercars parked on champs elysees? I drove the Ferrari California. A 30 minute ride along with my wife for 89 €. A teaser image 😃

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Old 27th June 2016, 09:02   #10
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Well, I just returned from Paris today morning and took the two day Bus tour including the one hour boat cruise. I am going to put up a seperate post for my 13 day trip to Italy & France. Did you see the supercars parked on champs elysees? I drove the Ferrari California. A 30 minute ride along with my wife for 89 €. A teaser image 😃

Attachment 1521335
That's great.
Eagerly looking forward to see your post.
Yes, during my first two visits I took the open bus tour. But during ,my second trip it rained .

No, I didnt know we could drive some supercars.
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Old 27th June 2016, 09:06   #11
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Damn so many places in one day really commendable sir. I guess it took 3-4 weekends for me to cover half of these places last year, though at my own pace esp with the museums. Next time do add Musee d Orsay, climbing up the stairs of Notre Dame and the boat cruise on the Seine in the evening with Tour eiffel lighting up the entire city, to your list.A visit to Latin quarters,Colosseum & Bastille is equally worthwhile..
Thank you.
Some of these places I have covered and the remaining I will check next time.
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