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Old 16th February 2011, 03:36   #1
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Cool Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland

If we could afford it, we would take a year off to go backpacking across Europe. Unfortunately we could not afford to, so we took the next best option - accepted an onsite job offer in Europe.

Considering budgetary limitations, we had to prioritise a few places in Western Europe. As neither I nor my wife were comfortable driving on the other side of the road, we used only public transport.

I will attempt to share details on our travels to this neck of the woods with the hope that some of you may be able to use the info

Who - me, wifey & 4 year old son (all parts) + relatives for a section
When - Summer ‘09 and Spring ‘10
How - Rail & Bus (occasional taxis within town)
Where - The city of lights
Where next - Black Forest, Bavaria, Switzerland
What - all trips were budget trips; while no compromises were made on food or stay, there were no luxuries either!
Disclaimer - Some of the places we visited are known tourist traps, but we thought they were worth a visit (most of them)

Starting point & base - Paris
The city that receives the most tourists in the world. While most cities can be seen, Paris has to be experienced.

Right from the outdoor cafes with tables spilling onto pavements to musicians strumming on streets and from the stylishly dressed Parisiens/ Parisiennes to the tricksters and pickpockets, every stereotype abounds and thrives in full eastmancolor.

If one ignored the cars and mobiles and only looked at the buildings or people, there is no way to tell which era this is.
One might as well be in the 50s

Some pictures to begin with
Attached Thumbnails
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-mayparis-372.jpg  

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-mayparis-384.jpg  

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-dscf5668.jpg  


Last edited by selfdrive : 16th February 2011 at 03:39. Reason: formatting
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Old 16th February 2011, 08:29   #2
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Default Re: Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland

Selfdrive, i was wondering - staying in paris and no TLs from you ?

I knew something was up your sleeve - this confirms it !


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Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
If we could afford it, we would take a year off to go backpacking across Europe. Unfortunately we could not afford to, so we took the next best option - accepted an onsite job offer in Europe.



Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
The city that receives the most tourists in the world. While most cities can be seen, Paris has to be experienced.
Right from the outdoor cafes with tables spilling onto pavements to musicians strumming on streets and from the stylishly dressed Parisiens/ Parisiennes to the tricksters and pickpockets, every stereotype abounds and thrives in full eastmancolor.
All the makings of a mega movie ! Please bring it on !!
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Old 16th February 2011, 10:20   #3
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Default Re: Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland

NICE!!! Well yours comes at a perfect time as my friends planning his honeymoon and wanted to work things out himself. They were planning on poland and i pushed their plan towards spain. Will be watching your travellogue to understand how things work.

By the way i thought pickpockets and thieves were italian speciality on trains and fashion was what paris had!! Lol
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Old 16th February 2011, 10:24   #4
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Default Re: Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland

Hi Selfdrive,

Really cool teaser pics. This looks a promising TL. Waiting for more pics and updates. Cheers.
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Old 16th February 2011, 12:43   #5
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Default Re: Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland

Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post
Selfdrive, i was wondering - staying in paris and no TLs from you ? I knew something was up your sleeve - this confirms it !
All the makings of a mega movie ! Please bring it on !!
saar, I was busy imbibing from your fabulous write ups; hardly had any time to do anything else. Aapne itna bola, mera thread creation saarthak ho gaya
Can you please tell me how to add captions to the photos? I thought I will be able to do that by editing the post, but doesnt allow me anywhere near the pics!

Quote:
Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post
NICE!!! Well yours comes at a perfect time as my friends planning his honeymoon and wanted to work things out himself. They were planning on poland and i pushed their plan towards spain. Will be watching your travellogue to understand how things work.
By the way i thought pickpockets and thieves were italian speciality on trains and fashion was what paris had!! Lol
Spain is good, but if they are more into mountains, you shuld send them in the other direction - Germany! Dont hesitate to send a PM if you need anything
Ooh, pickpockets & tricksters have their finishing school here -more trickster area though. I voluntarily tricked myself once just to see how they do it. You will have to wait to hear that one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sami316 View Post
Hi Selfdrive,
Really cool teaser pics. This looks a promising TL. Waiting for more pics and updates. Cheers.
Thanks sami, a bit unusual for Paris pics, but then the subjects of the otehr pics may have already been seen. There will be more travel tips too, so more a case of pick and choose what one likes!

Arrival in Paris:
Normally, arrival in Paris would be by air or rail. The airports Charles de Gaulle - Roissy (CDG) and Orly (ORY) are well connected to Paris by train & road. Beauvais-Tille (BVA) is connected by road. Shuttle bus services are the cheapest option (15 EUR) in case of single travellers. For more than 2 travellers a taxi may be reasonable depending on tiredness/ budget/ luggage/ hotel location/ mood/ too many to add.
Train arrivals are at either Gare du Nord or Gare de l’Est. Both stations are 5 mins walk away from each other and excellently connected by metro/ RER rail & bus/ taxi.
Metro/ bus travel can be done by buying an unlimited pass (around 35 EUR) for 3 days, a local pass is either weekly (17 EUR) or monthly (60 EUR) depending on the zones. The best way for shorter trips is to buy a carnet (block) of 10 tickets for 12 EUR. One ticket can be used for 1 ongoing journey upto an hour from the first time the ticket is validated (not allowed fro return tripson the same route). For public transport in Paris check ratp.fr - Accueil
A couple of days in Paris would be enough to squeeze in most of the sights & monuments.
However, to really enjoy the experience I would recommend a longer stay here (if you are a museum freak, you might as well move here for a few months).

Accomodation:
Hotels can be expensive, short term apartment rentals turn out to be cheaper.See Paris Apartments : Apartment & Flat Rentals in Paris or Lodgis.com, Paris & New York apartments rentals & sale for options. Hotels around the periphery aare definitely cheaper, but there is a call to be taken between the time it takes to central Paris and the number of days on the itinerary..

Food (can talk about the drink):
This topic could be an entire thread/ blog by itself. I will only say that all options are available.
Must be eaten:
- Crepes: with chocolate/ nutella or honey or muhsrooms & cheese. Multiple crepe stands available but better eaten at a creperie
- Baguettes, pastries & cheese: multiple options available, please buy at a boulangerie (bakery), not at a supermarket.
- Seafood: for those who love it, its great (and a bit expensive). After arriving here, I have included seafood on the things that I dont eat. As fish is only considered a sub section of sea food here!
- Macarons: full of butter, but what the heck. Must eat at Laduree (a chain)

People, language & basic words:
Legend has it that French people are rude, dont speak English, dont help, have bad breath, etc. All of it is true, but only for tourists. Since living here, I can see the difference in how people behave with me now. They are polite, humorous (they find their jokes funny,not me!), and speak English. My opinion about the unhelping and bad breath parts still stay. I also realised that during this time, my tolerance for tourists has reduced - perhaps I am becoming French; hopefully except the unhelping & bad breath!
Jokes apart, try to start a conversation with broken French, and it will open many doors.
Some basic words:
Please - s’il vous plait (sil voo play)
Thanks - merci
Excuse me - Excusez moi (excusay moaa)
Feel free to PM me if you need any further info

Suggested itinerary:
I have visited Paris once before and been able to cover the major sights in a day without using the hop on hop off bus tour. The bus tours are also very useful (especially for people who cannot or dont want to walk), the most popular company being the L’Open bus tour Paris - Accueil L'OpenTour
Warning: Weekends in summer is busy time and it could be an issue to get good seats on the bus. So please finish the entire tour once,and then start hopping on/ off. Start early, but be the bird. remember that the early bird gets the worm,but the early worm is eaten! :stupid

What we liked and would recommend as an itinerary:
- Begin at Notre Dame cathedral and the St. Michel area
One can arrive here by reaching the metro stops of Cite or St. Michel. The Notre Dame (Our Lady) cathedral is well worth a look. If interested, one can go upstairs to see statues of the ‘gargoyles’. After admiring the architecture, a visit to the St. Michel food street across the river is a must. This street is full of restaurants offering different cuisines. Shawarma and falafel here are mouth watering and very light on the pocket. 13 EUR for 2 shawarmas with fries and beer! The food can also be taken away to eat while sitting at the river banks. This is very enjoyable especially in summers as the boats pass by
From here, the Louvre is a short walk or a quick bus ride away.
Attached Thumbnails
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0391.jpg  

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0394.jpg  

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0392.jpg  

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0395.jpg  

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0397.jpg  

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0420.jpg  

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0408.jpg  

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0414.jpg  

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0415.jpg  

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0403.jpg  


Last edited by selfdrive : 16th February 2011 at 12:47. Reason: added question about comments for photos
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Old 16th February 2011, 13:27   #6
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Default Re: Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland

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Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
Can you please tell me how to add captions to the photos? I thought I will be able to do that by editing the post, but doesnt allow me anywhere near the pics!
Selfdrive,

First, upload all the photographs you wish to post using ' manage attachments ' under additional options box which is below the reply box.
Next, as and when you type, paste / insert the relevant photograph by clicking the attachment clip which is above the reply box. ( select the photograph from the drop down box of the hosted attachments )

Preview the same before posting !



tip for easy usage : rename the photographs ( for convienience ) so that it is easy to attach below the relevant line / caption
It is also important to post the photographs within 10 minutes of hosting the same.

Links :

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...-team-bhp.html (Uploading photographs directly to Team-BHP)

Team-BHP - Team-BHP FAQ: Troubleshooting


Hope this helps..

Last edited by roamingrao : 16th February 2011 at 13:37.
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Old 16th February 2011, 13:33   #7
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Default Re: Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland

Thanks sir for the quick answer to my SOS, it definitely helps! I will try this later in the evening. Gotta run now, late for work. well normally I would be late, here I am fashionably late - not the only one either
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Old 16th February 2011, 13:52   #8
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Default Re: Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland

Wow, you have been 10/10 with details. This log will surely help alot of people to plan so i know whom to ping when confused.

PS: Friends have changed plans to a convenient location in the states but thats for another day.
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Old 16th February 2011, 14:01   #9
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Default Re: Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland

@selfdrive, nice pictures and good write-up. Please post more of them.

Looking forward for your Bavarian and Swiss pictures. Which places did you visit in Swiss ?
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Old 17th February 2011, 01:20   #10
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Default Re: Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland

Wonderful write up and amazing pictures.

Waiting for black forest pics, please have them uploaded soon.
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Old 17th February 2011, 02:54   #11
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Default Re: Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland

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Wow, you have been 10/10 with details. This log will surely help alot of people to plan so i know whom to ping when confused.
PS: Friends have changed plans to a convenient location in the states but thats for another day.
Thanks maddy, as I keep saying feel free to ping anytime. If your friends are going to the West coast I may have some recommendations for them to visit there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ride_4_Fortune View Post
@selfdrive, nice pictures and good write-up. Please post more of them. Looking forward for your Bavarian and Swiss pictures. Which places did you visit in Swiss ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by camchennai View Post
Wonderful write up and amazing pictures.
Waiting for black forest pics, please have them uploaded soon.
Thanks Ride_4_Fortune & camchennai, we are still in Paris and will take some time to reach the Black Forest, Bavaria and Switzerland - in that order.
It doesnt help that most of the pics are in my laptop in India, will try to figure out something soon!

At St. Michel, you will pass a statue/ fountain

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-hpim0338.jpg

The conciergerie (on the other side of the Notre Dame cathedral)

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-hpim0322.jpg

One of the bridges to the Louvre

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-hpim0323.jpg

- Try to visit the Louvre on a weekday to beat the crowds.
Apparently the entire museum is never open at the same time, but the main sections usually are.
Along the most popular artwork here is the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper.
After seeing the Louvre, head to the glass pyramid and walk in the direction of the place de la Concorde (the obelisk).

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-mayparis-447.jpg

This may not be immediately visible, so walk in the direction of the arch right opposite the glass pyramid.

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-hpim0357.jpg

The Tuileries garden is a beautiful place to visit during spring to autumn as there are many chairs laid around the fountains.
For people with kids, there is a welcome break in the form of a play area, merry go round (on which you can stand to support your kid at no extra price ) and the pink sugar candy.

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-mayparis-393.jpg
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-mayparis-408.jpg

While walking through the gardens, one can get a good view of the Eiffel tower to the left.
In this picture, the Seine flows just behind the line of trees.

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-mayparis-391.jpg

The Seine flows to the immediate left of the gardens
I was drenched while cycling on this stretch by a speeding bus that splashed what seemed like 20 buckets of rain water from a puddle onto me within a flash. my friend following behind me was very amused as half a metre on either side of my bicycle there wasnt a drop of water!
Nevertheless, moving on; the obelisk is in a big traffic island after crossing the gardens.

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-mayparis-392.jpg

To the right of the traffic island once can see the Madeleine church.
The place de la Concorde is where most of the executions by guillotine were held (King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette included). The obelisk once marked the entrance to the Luxor temple in Egypt and has been given to France by Egypt.
Apparently early one morning in December 1993, the French AIDS fighting society Act Up Paris carried out a fast and unwarned commando-style operation. A giant pink condom was unrolled over the whole monument!

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-mayparis-390.jpg

About the two fountains at this place (courtesy wiki - the pedia not the leaks!!)


Both fountains had the same form: a stone basin; six figures of tritons or naiads holding fish spouting water; six seated allegorical figures, their feet on the prows of ships, supporting the pedestal, of the circular vasque; four statues of different forms of genius in arts or crafts supporting the upper inverted upper vasque; whose water shot up and then cascaded down to the lower vasque and then the basin.
The north fountain was devoted to the Rivers, with allegorical figures representing the Rhone and the Rhine, the arts of the harvesting of flowers and fruits, harvesting and grape growing; and the geniuses of river navigation, industry, and agriculture.
The south fountain, closer to the Seine, represented the seas, with figures representing the Atlantic and the Mediterranean; harvesting coral; harvesting fish; collecting shellfish; collecting pearls; and the geniuses of astronomy, navigation and commerce.

Thanks to roamingrao, I have finally managed to add comments to the pictures!

Last edited by selfdrive : 17th February 2011 at 03:01. Reason: formatting
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Old 17th February 2011, 07:55   #12
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@seldrive - You surely took a long time to post the TL considering that this journey was done in 2009-2010. But i know why you were busy getting the details right and sorting out all the snaps of the trip

Keep it coming.
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Old 17th February 2011, 11:58   #13
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@seldrive - You surely took a long time to post the TL considering that this journey was done in 2009-2010. But i know why you were busy getting the details right and sorting out all the snaps of the trip
Keep it coming.
Yes sir! There has been too much of travel due to some family commitments (will tell you when we meet) and of course work. Better late than never I guess!
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Old 20th February 2011, 16:30   #14
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To the right, one can see the Madeleine church

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0647.jpg
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0644.jpg

In the direction originally taken, the Arc de Triomphe is visible at a distance.

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-mayparis-409.jpg

The street between the place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe is the Champs Elysees. The Champs Elysees is a 2km avenue between the place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. It is characterised by the wide walking areas, trimmed chestnut trees and luxury specialty shops.

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0674.jpg

A little further up the Champs Elysees, to the left of the next signal there are two buildings to the left. These are the Petit Palais and Grand Palais.
The City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts (musée des beaux-arts de la ville de Paris) is in the Petit Palais (little palace). The Grand Palais (large/ big palace) is currently an exhibition hall and museum complex. There is a major police station in the basement of this palace to protect the exhibits on display here

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-mayparis-384.jpg

A walk on the Champs Elysees is highly recommended, mainly to see the car showrooms (Toyota, Renault, Mercedes)

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0609.jpg
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0614.jpg

On Bastille day (14 July), there is a military parade down the Champs Elysees reviewed by the President of France. The Indian prime minister was the guest of honour in 2009. The last stage of the Tour de France finished on the Champs Elysees, with the cyclists making around six sprints of the avenue in front of a cheering crowd. This year, efforts at a Mexican wave did not succeed.
Overall the restaurants here are avoidable, but it is interesting to sit outdoors at one of the cafes. Laduree is a fine exception and gave us a lot of guilt over their melt in the mouth macarons and lemon tarts.

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-img_0672.jpg

It is possible to use the toilets in one of the burger restaurants as the portaloos are only available in one of the side streets near the place Charles de Gaulle (the Arc)
While arriving towards the Arc de triomphe, it is possible to use the centre of one of the zebra crossings for pictures. However, utmost care should be taken to remain in the are designated for pedestrians to stand.
There is a fee to go up the Arc de Triomphe, but it is free to go upto the traffic island on which this monument stands. Beneath the vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown soldier from WWI.
Watching the traffic from this vantage point is quite interesting.

Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-dscf5703.jpg

There is a lift on the Arc de Tromphe to the top, but available only for people with babies/ small children, old people or differently abled people. All others are encouraged to climb 284 steps to the top. There is an excellent view from here as it is close enough to the ground to identify and locate monuments. This place was known place d’Etoile (star). When viewed from above, the road design looks like the sun with 12 roads emanating from/ joining this roundabout.

The Arc de Triomphe is the lynchpin of the historic axis; a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares beginning from the glass pyramid at the Louvre - place de la Concorde - Arc de Triomphe - Grande Arche
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Old 24th February 2011, 12:11   #15
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- For the Eiffel tower, the ideal viewing point is from Trocadero
(bus route no. 30 or Metro M6 from Arc de Triomphe).
From Trocadero, walk down the steps of the Palais de Chaillot towards the tower.
Cross the river and then take the lift to the top stage of the tower.

Arriving at Trocadero
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-166.jpg

First view of the tower
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-168.jpg

From the viewing terrace of the Palais de Chaillot
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-mayparis-311.jpg

Going down the steps; a view of the Hotel des Invalides
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-170.jpg

From the base of the tower
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-hpim0377.jpg

To save time queuing up, please book online in advance.
Warning: lifts to the top stage are closed during inclement weather,
so please check before you go.
The lift to the top level is recommended, but adequate time needs
to be budgeted as there are serpentine queues at each level.
Also advisable to carry ear/ head protection
as it can be a bit windy at the top.
After sunset, the Eiffel tower is lit up normally in a golden/ copper light.
At every hour from then, the twinkling lights go off for a few minutes.
There are fireworks at the tower on 14th July.

Views from the top
La Seine
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-dscf5760.jpg

Champs de Mars
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-dscf5802.jpg

Hotel des Invalides
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-dscf5803.jpg

from the mother ship? no, just the flashlight moving around
Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland-dscf5816.jpg
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