Sunday, April 12, 2015

Visiting Paris

I had a chance to visit the most visited cities of the world, Paris. It is a city which attracts many people due to her physical charm (historical buildings, museums, boulevards, Eiffel tower, River Seine etc), her transportation, boutique shops and fashion, and of course the food that caters for different type of people.

I took a low cost carrier Ryanair from Manchester, England to Beauvais Airport, 50 km north of Paris. This airport is very small by international standard surrounded by a large agricultural land. However, many airlines operate from  here with destination all over Europe.

After passing the immigration counter, I took a bus from here to Paris, Porto Maillot with  cost of Euro 17.00 per pax. The travel time to Paris took 1 hr and 15 minutes.

Porto Maillot Bus Station, Paris.

At Porto Maillot bus station, passengers are connected with other modes of transport. A walking distance only, you can take a train, bus or Metro to your destination. For Metro, which is very convenient to me, you can take at Porto Maillot station with a ticket from the vending machine which cost only Euro 1.80 to your destination.

Porto Maillot Metro Station.

Paris has a number of must visit places such Eiffel Tower, Seine River Cruise, Cafes, Arc De Triomphe, Champs Ellysees, Musium, Notre Dame Cathedral, Grand Mosque of Paris, shopping streets of La Fayette etc.

Below are places that I visited and wish to share with the readers.

Eiffel Tower is the landmark of Paris where you can not miss.Actually if you have enough time, it is advisable to visit Eiffel tower both during the day and at night. I found it is  a very different atmosphere.
Eiffel Tower at night with laser light beaming to various directions. The tower has glittering lights at times.

Fun games at the tower vicinity.

Metro, subway train is one of the options you can take in order to bring you around Paris. It is fast and efficient too. Paris has many Metro lines. You must learn to read Metro maps in order to guide you to your favourite destinations.

Buses are good too. With buses, you can see Parisian buildings and activities while sitting on the bus. But, it moves at slower pace compare to Metro trains.

Buildings in Paris 
 Venturing or exploring Paris is best on foot where you learn about streets and people. However, if you are tired, just relax at benches nearby or sip coffee at many street cafes.

Building in Paris

Happy tourists posing for my camera

I found Paris offers many types of  food which caters for  " international taste ". Turn left you see turkish or moroccan kebab or labanese rice,  turn right, you see all sorts of ice-cream, breads, pastry, chocolate and cafes. So, you do not go hungry in Paris. Just spare some Euros will do.....

Pastry and bakery shop

Chocolate shop
 One of the places that I visited certainly is Pompidou Centre, which has a funny and peculiar design.
It is just a walking distance from the apartment that I rented at Rue De Clery. In front of this building, there are many souvenir shops (that sold many patented  t-shirts, key chains, fridge magnets), restaurants and boutique shops. If you follow your map, you can not go wrong......Nowadays, you can use google map application from your hand phone to show your location.

Pompidou Centre
 Besides looking at buildings and souvenirs shop, I  accidentally met small kids going back from school. What a lovely day! There is life in Paris.
School kids are being escorted by their teachers and parents.
 As I walked long enough, I stopped at the corner shop and ate this food. It is easy going exploring Paris on foot. Relax your feet.....
Food  that I bought to give me energy for walking......
 One of the cycles that crossed my path was this try-cycle, manned by a young man. There are other similar tri-cycles in different design which functions to carry goods.
This try-cycle attracted me. it was used as goods carrier. it is easier to move around and do not use petrol.
Tri-cycle that carry people.

The halal food are everywhere in Paris especially near the city centre, where many in-migrants from North Africa stay. It is also found near mosques.

Restaurant that offers Turkish dishes and delicacy.

Rented bicycles 
 If you are tired walking, you can rent this bicycle for an hour or so. Just pay and follow instruction,  you are free to move around at faster speed using this bicycle. But you have to be careful to park this bicycle at other designated destination after using it. Many world cities have this kind of facilities too.

Paris city centre

River Seine

While exploring Paris, you can hop on the river cruise at Euro 17.00 . You can see Paris from different view. Seine river cruise is also available at night.

Notre Dame  Cathedral
 Notre Dame Cathedal is one of the major attractions in Paris. It is located on small island in the middle of Seine River. This gothic building offers such a detailed architecture. You can go inside if you wish, however the queue is long especially on Sunday.

Benches are provided  near the Cathedal for visitors to sit.
 Vehicle operators are creative here. This blue coaches are meant to bring tourists around the city. You need to pay.

Coach for tourists

If you use the car which runs on battery power, you can re-charge your car battery for a fee here.There are kiosks here.

Car charging kiosk
 As I walk past the Cathedral, I moved south east to visit the Grand Mosque of Paris. This mosque has many gardens inside its compound,  Many North African people use this mosque as their praying place. Non Muslims can enter its premise. Some were given briefings by the mosque officers.

Grand Mosque

Green spaces or court yard within the mosque compound

After completed my visit to the mosque, I took  a Metro ride from Place Monge to George V metro station after  a change/transfer at Chatelet station.It was a very smooth ride. I noticed Line 1 has most beautiful stations.

As I came out of George V station, I entered the Louis Vutton which is located along Champs Ellysees. This outlet to me is not for the ordinary people as the products sold are meant for rich people.

Boutique shop in Paris

Champ  Ellysees
As I walk along this Champs Ellysees, I came across a concrete arch called Arc de Thriompe, which attract tourist all over the world to come and see this spectacular monument. Twelve avenues radiate from this Arc.

Arc De Thriompe , along Champs  Ellysees
Paris is pedestrian safe as the road and streets are equipped with traffic lights and even an infirm lady is seen free roaming the city on wheel chair without guide.
Paris lady on the electric wheel chair

Petrol Kiosk along the street
For buying the souvenirs, you can buy at the shop, kiosk or from the vendors that come to you. You can bargain the price with the vendors. I found products sold by vendors are cheaper than the kiosks.
Souvenirs kiosk

Parisian building
One's visit is not complete if she or he does not visit Galeries La Fayette oulet. It is located next to Metro La Fayette station, Boulevard Hausmann.The building has multiple storeys which houses branded products from watches, clothes, bags, perfumes to belts and purses.  You can claim tax rebate when you leave France. Do not forget your passport when you buy products if you intent to claim tax rebate at the airport. Only CDG and Orly airports have the tax rebate facilities. If you exit via Beauvais like me, there is no facilities.

Galeries Lafayette
Longchomp lady's handbags on display

La Fayette Metro Station, along Boulevard Hausmann

Boulevard Haussmann
If you want to go home via Beauvais airport, it is advisable to depart Porte Maillot 4 hours before your designated departure time. Traffic congestion in Paris suburban can be tricky.

Porte Maillot bus station

Development around Porte Maillot

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