Continuing the Paris Trip Report, if you missed it check out:
My Flight To Paris
Hotel Cardinal Rive Gauche
Just a note to preface this trip description – if you’re looking for the secrets to Paris, this isn’t it. This was your typical tourist trip, because I was a typical tourist. I had never been to Paris and had five days to see as much as I could. I realize there is much more to the city, country and culture. But if you’re interested in hearing about some of the popular sights, read on!
After settling in a little at our hotel, we headed out to explore Paris! We hopped on the metro at the stop near our hotel and got off at Trocadero. We had researched where all we wanted to go ahead of time, and decided a Zone 1-3 Paris Visite Pass for unlimited metro, RER and bus trips made sense for what we wanted to see. We were able to purchase a five day pass with my Citi Hilton Reserve card at the metro station near our hotel for €33,70 (~$44) each. The pass covered everything on our trip except for Versailles and the airport, as they are outside zone 3. Using our passes we arrived at Trocadero and were a little hungry at this point, so we grabbed a nutella crepe from a street vendor. It was the first thing we ate in Paris, and still one of my favorites of the trip!
Eiffel Tower In Springtime
It’s a very pretty walk to the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero. There were many people out enjoying the beautiful weather. I was slightly worried about lines for the Eiffel Tower, as I had read terrible things online. Luckily it wasn’t too bad on a Sunday night in April. We waited about a half hour to go up, if even that long. There are alternatives if you go during more crowded times.
You can take the stairs or make a reservation at one of the restaurants and use their private elevator. I didn’t really want to spend that much for food, and was just as happy waiting in line a little then walking around and taking pictures. The normal tickets to the top of the tower were $19 each.
Arc de Triomphe View From Eiffel Tower
We arrived an hour or two before sunset, and stayed up at the very top of the tower until the sun finally set. It was incredibly cold, but worth it! The views were amazing. It was a great introduction to Paris, and seeing all the sights from above was a good overview. I don’t care if it’s “touristy”, it was gorgeous and if you have nice weather I highly recommend it.
View From Eiffel Tower At Night
Eventually we started to freeze and descended down the Eiffel Tower. As we were exiting, we were able to watch the tower sparkle. It lights up every hour on the hour for five minutes each night. It was neat.
Eiffel Tower Light Show
We hadn’t eaten dinner at this point and had only had the crepe for lunch but didn’t want to stop exploring. So from in front of the Eiffel Tower (now 10:30 at night) we hopped on an hour long riverboat cruise. The cruise was interesting, it had an audio guide and was only €13 (~$17) each. It gave some great history as you passed under interesting bridges and past the historical monuments. However, in retrospect I would have waited and done this when it wasn’t as cold out so we could have fully enjoyed it. But it was still neat.After the cruise we finally noticed what time it was (11:30) and realized that neither of us knew where the closest metro station was and if the metro stopped running at 12 or 1 or maybe even 10! So we ran with a group of other tourists who were apparently thinking the same thing until we found the metro and made it back with about a half hour to spare before the last train. We were unfamiliar with the area around our hotel as we had just arrived, and since it was midnight our dinner choices were fairly limited. We had only eaten the crepe since breakfast on the flight though so we searched around to find something open.
We found a tiny pizza place that was open. This was the first language barrier we hit on our trip as none of the guys working at midnight spoke English and my high school French wasn’t quite cutting it. They were very friendly and willing to put up with our attempts to phrase questions though. We hadn’t had real food yet in Paris, but came into the trip expecting it to be pretty expensive. So when we ordered pizza and it said €7-8 (~$10), we were expecting a slice or two or personal pan pizzas or something. Especially since our crepes were roughly €4. We accidentally ordered two entire pizzas! Food does not necessarily have to be expensive in Paris!
Our Tiny Paris Meal
I ordered the pizza Roma, and the yellow blocks in the picture were potatoes. It was interesting. We took the leftovers and were hoping to pass someone who needed them on the street to give them to on the way back to our hotel, but of course did not. We passed plenty of people the following days when we had no pizza though. We made it back to the hotel around 1 am and were exhausted from not sleeping on the flight over, so we didn’t have much trouble due to jet lag. It was an amazing first day in Paris.