Have you ever been on a 14 hour journey to visit a city then stayed there fewer hours than your travel time? Unbelievable it may seem but, we did it once in Paris! It might sound pathetic or crazy but we kind of like doing this short city tours. We started off our journey at Leeds city coach station. Two bus companies namely; Megabus and National Express operate bringing tourists to the romantic city of France. International buses are equipped with power sockets so you can plug-in and charge your electronic devices. Also, most of them have FREE WIFI. In my opinion, all long distance buses should have these basic necessities so that passengers wouldn’t get bored. Though it took us an awful lot of hours to arrive there, it was undeniably the best 14 hours bus ride of my life. Thanks to the +The Big Bang Theory for entertaining us through the whole journey. Indeed, it made it easier for me not to notice the passing of time. Enough with the introduction, let’s get to the point!
So, what did we do in Paris for 12 hours???
Here was our travel itinerary
8 AM: Arrival in PARIS
Opposite to our drop off point was a towering hotel (which I can’t recall the name) and there we asked for a map which was by the way FREE of charge. Then our tour began… Based on our map, we were at Charles de Gaulle Avenue. The closest landmark was the Arch of Triumph so then we followed the path leading to the famous structure.
8:30 AM-9:00 AM: Arch of Triumph
An enormous monument situated at the center of Charles de Gaulle, the Arch of Triumph is the locus point of the avenue attracting loads of walking tourists and motorists passing by. I wouldn’t bore you with its history so you can just search about it if you wish to go into details about its existence.
9:00-11:00: Avenue de Champs Elysees and Shopping
Don’t think for one second that I went inside the LV store! Window shopping was enough for me. People were literally queuing outside this luxurious brand’s shop. Because I was already in Paris, I didn’t miss the chance to shop at the attractive stores in the fashion capital. After one hour of checking one store to another, I went out from H&M with a huge paper bag full of trousers and blouses (They were on sale and a lot cheaper than in the UK!) It was a bargain indeed!
11:00 AM-2:00 PM: Louvre Museum & Lunch
The most beautiful fountain in Paris can be found at Place de la Concorde Main Square which is also the largest square in the capital. Likewise, a familiar figure in the name of obelisk can be found in the same spot.
We were already some minutes late for our next destination, so we left the square with much regret. However, when we arrived at the park where the Louvre is, I couldn’t believe my eyes of what I was actually seeing. A dream come true! Every bit of me was clapping and rejoicing because in front of me stood the magnificent glass pyramid. My husband entered the establishment through the glass revolving door. We had to take an escalator to get to the ground floor where you could purchase tickets for the museum. He got them very quick so we headed to the first room; The Napoleon hall under the Pyramid.
There was a huge crowd especially at the room where the Mona Lisa is exhibited. People were pushing each other to have a glance at the famous painting. Small as I am, I was able to go through the multitude of individuals. Finally, another tick on my bucket list!
The whole tour and the overwhelming number of collections made me utterly knackered and hungry (It was half past one anyway). Personally, I don’t mind walking or standing for two or more hours but, to be in a room packed with human beings and the heat that every single one of them radiates then taking into consideration that it was particularly hot on that day was just unbearable. Actually, I couldn’t believe myself surviving from there. We couldn’t have picked a busier day than that time! =))
An Italian restaurant close to the Tuileries Garden saved my growling stomach. Out of so much hunger maybe, we didn’t bother to look for a proper French restaurant to satisfy our tummy. That was a bad move I’ve realized after eating. We should have tasted a fine Escargots de Bourgogne (snails baked in their shells with parsley butter) and some macaroons for desert! Next time I am in Paris, I am definitely gonna eat like a Frenchwoman!!!
2:30 PM-5:30 PM: Cathedral of Notre Dame + Eiffel Tower Tour
As we were passing by the Seine, we noticed that there were padlocks clamped to the sides of the bridge. I couldn’t help myself but wonder what happened to the other padlocks we’ve clasped to the love lock places in Pecs and Prague.
We totally forgot that there is also love lock area in Paris! I felt like a loser of not being able to follow the tradition. Better luck next time!!!
After a disappointing moment at the bridge, our feet took us to the famous cathedral of Notre Dame. I was wondering if Quasimodo would ring the bell for our arrival. LOL!!! Our schedule was so hectic that we just stayed outside and sat down for a minute in one of the benches in front of the church. The queue was long anyway so it would have taken us ages to get tickets then complete the tour. Honestly, my hubby wasn’t interested to see the interior so I didn’t push him to do it. The highlight of our visit was definitely the Eiffel Tower tour. Chanting…
Same as the scenario in every tourist attraction in Paris, the line of people at the ticket both for the Eiffel tower tour was immense. Good thing though the queue was moving so fast that in an hour we were able to get tickets. We purchased the full tour which included a lift up to the top floor. My knees were trembling while we were caged in the elevator. I’m not acrophobic but that flight gave me a slight heart attack. However, the feeling of fear subsided when we reached our first destination- the second floor. The view of Paris from the tower was remarkably impressive.
I was more astonished when we arrived at the top floor. There was a mini museum up there composed of three wax human figures including Eiffel himself, Thomas Edison and Eiffel’s daughter. Also on the same floor, you could vividly see the Arch of Triumph in the center of Charles de Gaulle.
5:30 PM-7:00 PM Champs Elysees Once More
Three hours to go and our time in Paris would have ended. We headed to the shopping district and for the last time checked the stores for some memorabilia de Paris. Time was running fast so after buying some posters from a small souvenir shop, our next stop was at McDonald’s. I ordered Big Mac and my husband settled for a chicken sandwich. Keeping in mind the long journey ahead of us, we ordered extra burgers and drinks to eat on the bus.
7:00 PM -8:00 PM Waiting in Vain at the bus station
Exhausted! Exhausted! Exhausted! Eleven hours of non-stop walking and sightseeing- I didn’t mind my aching feet for I saw Paris. If I have to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have second thoughts. Maybe not very soon.
At the moment, we are saving for our 5 days trip to Barcelona. VIVA ESPANYA!
8:00 PM Departure
As we bade goodbye, I felt so proud of myself and very grateful to my husband for organizing the craziest Parisian trip ever! 14 hours bus+ferry travel awaited us…Bon voyage!