After years of dreaming about France, Swarada Patankar finally set foot on the magical destination. Was it love at first sight or a bitter-sweet rendezvous? Maybe both? Read on to find out what to do in Paris in four days.
Four Days in Paris I was introduced to the French language and culture at the young age of 17 when I had to take up a foreign language for 3 years during my years in college. Thanks to my French Prof, I became fixated with learning the language and understanding the culture as if it’s my own. I am an adult studying in Germany right now, but back then the teenage me was only interested in France! Europe didn’t matter, Germany did not matter. All that mattered was speaking fluent French and visiting France – at least once!
And finally, this month, after years of dreaming, irritating my friends and family by teaching them (not that they ever asked) the right way to pronounce gateaux, monsieur, au revoir, few years of having doubts about visiting Paris – I finally visited France! Paris to be specific. And here’s my take on this incredible city:
First things first – Paris is a lot of things, it’s grand, expensive, beautiful, full of history, full of culture and art but at the same time a little scary and shady if you aren’t careful.
Accommodation In Paris
I booked a hotel online, and got a good deal for 3 nights and 4 days at the Hotel Avenir. I was living near the metro station of “Anvers” which was closest to “Sacre Coeur – The Sacred Heart Church”. One thing is for sure that Paris is an expensive city and maybe I got this rate only because I was travelling off-season in February.
Local Transport In Paris
If you want to know what to do in Paris, you should be well versed with the local transport. Paris has one of the most extensive and efficient public transport system amongst the big European cities I have visited till now. You also have the option to buy a bunch of 10 single journey tickets but make sure to wait for all the 10 tickets to be printed out from the machine!
When I talked about Paris also being shady if you are not careful is because there are lot of strange people waiting to fool you with your money or belongings if you do not have your guards up. I took a train from Stuttgart to Paris and tried buying this 3 day pass of Paris from one of the ticket machines but somehow couldn’t manage to do it.
Whilst standing in the line to buy the tickets from the ticket counter a guy with an identity badge asked me and the others standing in line if he could help us with the tickets and offered us to buy the tickets from the machine on our behalf. Even after standing right next to him and watching what he is doing I later found out that somehow he had managed to dupe me and the others as well. He had not only bought only a single journey ticket for me but that too a single journey ticket for infants. This I found out only after I tried getting inside another train station and the door wouldn’t open. So yeah next time I will try and be patient and stand in the line rather than taking help from a stranger (even if he has an identity badge on his chest) :
Food In Paris
Food is expensive in Paris, no matter where you go unless you have some local friends and they know where to find not so expensive food. Drinks are also expensive. All the cafes I visited I was surprised to see that beer was even costlier than wine. Being used to the alcohol prices in Germany this was a shock for me. But there is this train station called La Chapelle where there is a street filled with Indian and Sri Lankan restaurants where one dish will cost you around 7-8 euros i.e if you are in the mood for Indian.
Also buying pre-made sandwiches or rolls from roadside bakeries or cafes and fast food was also cheaper compared to the restaurants.
What To Do In Paris In 4 Days
Paris is in the truest sense what every man wants his woman to be – sexy! This city has something to offer to absolutely everyone. Here’s what I did, in my four days in Paris.
What To Do In Paris – Day 1
I reached Paris by noon. After dropping off my bags at the hotel and having lunch, I spent the afternoon and evening walking the whole stretch of Champs Elysees; starting from Arc de Triomphe right upto the giant ferris wheel which looks like the London Eye and back.
The Champs Elysees is one of the most famous streets in the world full of expensive cafes and high-end brands. The Arc de Triomphe is a triumphal arch originally sanctioned by and built for Napoleon for him to pass under after every victory.
I loved the fact that I started walking in daylight and by the time I was back, the Arc de Triomphe was spectacularly lit up. I consider the Parisians so lucky to drive past such important and beautiful historical monuments every day.
What To Do In Paris – Day 2
I had read and heard a little bit about this neighbourhood in Paris called Montmartre, and I was living 2 metro stops away from it. So I decided to take a free walking tour of Montmartre on the second day. The tour started with our tour guide showing us the famous Moulin Rouge and telling us about the history of Montmartre, and some of the artists who became famous in this neighbourhood. Personally, I would have loved to see at least one show at the Moulin Rouge – the famous Cabaret House of Paris. However, being a student, the shows were way above my budget, but I will definitely go someday 🙂
Then we passed over the famous cafe from the movie Amelie, and the Egyptian singer Dalida’s house. Story goes that she could sing in more than 10 languages during her time, and had an alleged affair with one of the French Presidents. We also saw the 3 remaining windmills of Montmartre, and the last remaining vineyard of Paris.
The tour ended with us climbing the back of the Sacre Coeur instead of the famous (but immensely crowded) steps in the front. The Sacre Coeur is the second most visited monument in Paris after the Eiffel Tower. Besides being absolutely beautiful with its self-washing white rocks, it offers a great view of Paris from the top!
After the Montmartre walking tour, I took the metro to the Eiffel Tower. I was extremely lucky with the line for the tickets, and was in the elevator to go up the tower in 20 minutes. The ticket is free for students upto 25 years of age.
My timing to visit the Eiffel Tower was just perfect. It was a sunny day and the skies were clear. So I was on top an hour before sunset, and made the most the incredible view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower. I came down after the sunset, and by then they had slowly started lighting the tower. I have no words to describe how beautiful the Eiffel looks when lit up. It was just magical. The Eiffel tower is hands down the best tourist attraction in France.
Don’t forget to peek into the small living quarter of Gustave Eiffel at the top of the tower. It’s absolutely crazy to imagine that the man who designed the 324 metre high tower had his own apartment where he could entertain guests and have parties at the top!
What To Do In Paris – Day 3
It was a rainy and a windy day, but nothing lowered my spirits from getting to know more about this city. I took the Paris Free Walking Tour offered by Sandeman to visit all the historical places and monuments I hadn’t explored in the first 2 days. The tour guide was just incredible and attracted a huge crowd. He told stories of all the important kings (the good and the bad ones) who ruled France, and about the Bread Wars and the French Revolution.
I thoroughly enjoyed this unconventional history lesson, and would definitely recommend everyone to take this tour. Few of the important monuments that we discovered during this tour were the Notre Dame Cathedral, banks of the River Seine, Grand and Petit Palace, Louvre Museum and Pont Neuf.
I ended the day with a boat ride on the River Seine. It was a 30 minute tour. The boat ride is nice, but only if you get to stand at the deck and feel the breeze on your face.
As I was there in the month of February, it was extremely cold and I couldn’t stand in the open the whole time, which made the ride a little boring. But there was a wedding celebration happening on the boat, and I got to enjoy some cake while I was seated inside 😉
What To Do In Paris – Day 4
As I had a train to catch in the evening, I decided to take it slow this day. Woke up and had breakfast at a cute little bakery called “Pain Pain” suggested by a French waiter the earlier night. God bless him for that because it turned out to be great.
Later I visited the Père Lachaise Cemetery, which is beautiful with its numerous gardens and tombs that it makes you feel at peace. It hosts the graves of famous people, including Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. So many people want to get buried at this cemetery that the city council had to set up some conditions that have to be fulfilled for the same. By the time I got out of the cemetery it was time to go home.
Paris is everything I thought it would be, but it was also something else. As beautiful and as fancy as it is, there is also a lot of delinquency. You need to be alert, and try and figure out things by yourself. Asking locals for help may be futile as there is a high chance they won’t know English.
Yes, I would have liked to see more and do more like visiting all the museums, trying some more French delicacies and going to Versailles, but this certainly was not my last trip to Paris, there will definitely be a next time…
Interested in touring Paris?
About The Author
I am just a regular girl studying in Germany, exploring Europe and making unforgettable memories in the process. I am a business student by choice and a travel blogger to escape the everyday humdrum life. I am always trying to make the best of a budget trip and finding ways to discover the road less travelled.
Check out my blog http://mindwhichwanders.blogspot.in/