Airplane has landed. People around us start to put on their jackets, scarfs, hats. And there are we standing together with them – wearing only t-shirts, shorts and flip flps. “Is it that cold in summer in Paris?”
Aircraft’s doors open and people start to go out. We go out from the airplane into corridor connected to the airport and then at one moment we feel it. It’s really cold there. And as it looks it had been raining recently. And everything looks so grey.
Despite the fact, that we have had a good sleep during 12 hour flight from Vietnam, we feel very tired. No wonder, till this moment we have already spent more than 30 hours in airports and on aircraft’s. And that’s only to get from from Langkawi island in Malaysia to Paris.
We collect our luggage and go to the metro.
Strange feeling to step on Europe’s land after 9 months in Asia. And cool as well, haha. Especially if you as me are wearing shorts and flip flops, but outside it’s some +10 C and wet. Luckily we have long sleeves and bandanas in our bags for whom it’s the right time to be taken out. And Una also has long trousers, brand new bought in Malaysia.
We dress up and start to feel a bit better with all that on, though. Were we thinking about buying something like sneakers? Yes. But who needs sneakers, when it’s hot summer? Let’s buy new flip flops instead.
Ticket to central part of Paris from airport costs 10 euro. So the same as much as in Hong Kong. But with the difference that in Hong Kong metro is more modern than in Paris. But do you know, that Paris metro is more than 100 years old? That means, that just using it is quite an interesting experience.
You see these old style metro stations and tunnels between the lines. And as Paris metro is one of the busiest in Europe, no wonder, that at the beginning you may wander around for some time and feel lost while searching for the right stop and the right line. That may be exhausting. Single trip metro ticket within Paris costs 1,7 euros.
When arriving to Paris we knew that we want to visit The Louvre and see world’s famous Eiffel tower. And that’s it. To see other parts of city, we planned to use the same method as in many different cities – just go and explore. Without guide book or map.
And you know what – in Paris that works JUST PERFECT. Paris is beautiful wherever you go. All around you will see a lot of nice looking historical buildings, monuments, churches and so on. You don’t really need to go to any musem as Paris itself is like huge museum of art.
And also expensive musem, heh. 7 – 10 euro per meal seems so expensive after 9 months in Asia, where we almost never spent more than 2 euro. Count in expenses for accomodation and transportation and you will see, how quickly your money is going away.
While going through Paris you can’t miss self-service bike rental stations. These stations are everywhere and they are wide used. To get a bike from there, all you need is credit card with at least 150 euro on it. No worries! This bicycle rental service is not expensive at all.
150 euro is security deposit, that is being reserved on your bank account when you start to use rental service. And the same amount is returned to your account, when you put bicycle back. But otherwise your expenses could be as low as some 2 euro per day.
How it is possible? First 30 minutes of bicycle use are for free. If in 30 minutes you park it in some another rental station, it costs you nothing. But you can immediatly pick up some new bicycle and continue the same way. So after all your only expenses are one daily ticket.
Does I said, that there is no need to visit any museum, because Paris itself is like one big museum? I said. But if you ask me, is it worth to visit Louvre, I will say – yes, it’s totally worth it.
And the same I can say to people like me, who are not so interested in art in general. Going to Louvre was really interesting also to me. To see in life artwork previously seen only in books of art history. In book you don’t see, how big is that painting, but there you understand, that so many of them are HUGE.
That may sound childish, but while being there in Louvre I was not able to stop thinking about that, how real all these paintings looked. Like photography. Good photography. And that made me stop a lot of times. Just to look again, how real was that scene on the wall.
What about Mona Lisa? It’s small and with a lot of people around willing to see it. So we just passed by, taking just a short look on it. But my favorites were paintings with all kind of daily scenes. I thought about them as my chance to see, how it was then. How people lived, how they dressed and what they were doing.
If you are from country of EU and you are under 26, Louvre is free for you. The only thing you need with you is either passport or ID card. Otherwise ticket costs 12 euro, and as I said, it’s totally worth that. Thousands and thousands of artwork.
I can totally understand those people, who can walk there also for many days. Despite the fact, that there are so many tourists, even more than artwork, it’s still possible to find some more peaceful part of the museum. If you are willing to see something specific better do your homework and find information about it’s location in the museum on louvre.fr.
Don’t want to stay in big line for hour or more? Don’t go to the main entrance. For more information and other tips about visiting Louvre look there.
So how was that Paris we saw?
Very beautiful for walks. Tiresome, if you are willing to use a lot of different metro lines and trains. There are just too much of these tunnels sometimes and not all of them are nice to be. Full with tourists and at least partly also because of that – expensive or very expensive.
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they are traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On WeAreFromLatvia.com they share their experience and things learned along the way.