Our plane 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 flops. Is it that cold in summer in Paris? Aircraft’s doors open and people start getting off. 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 our 12 hour flight from Vietnam, we feel very tired. No wonder, till this moment we have already spent more than 30 hours at the airports and on the planes. And that’s only to get from from Langkawi island in Malaysia to Paris.
We collect our luggage and go to the metro.
It’s a very 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 only about +10 C and everything is wet. Luckily we have long sleeves. And Una also has long pants, brand new bought in Malaysia.
We dress up and start to feel a bit better. 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, we decided in the end.
Ticket to the central part of Paris from the airport costs 10 EUR. So the same as much as in Hong Kong. But with the difference that in Hong Kong metro is much 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 can 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.
Arriving to Paris we knew that we want to visit The Louvre and see world’s famous Eiffel tower. And that’s it. For the rest of the time we were planning just to wander around, like in other parts of the world. Without a guide book or a 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 and churches. You don’t really need to go to any museum there, because Paris itself is like huge museum of art.
And also a pretty expensive museum, haha. 7 – 10 EUR per meal seems so expensive after 9 months in Asia, where we almost never spent more than 2 EUR. Count in expenses for accommodation and transportation…
While walking through Paris it’s hard not to notice self-service bike rental stations. These stations are everywhere and they are widely used. To get a bike from there, all you need is a credit card with at least 150 EUR on it. No worries! This bicycle rental service is not expensive at all.
150 EUR is a security deposit, that is being reserved on your bank account when you start to use bicycle 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 2 EUR per day.
How is that possible? First 30 minutes are for free. If in 30 minutes you park it in some another rental station, it costs you nothing. But you can immediately pick up some another bicycle and continue the same way.
Did I say, that there is no need to visit any museum, because Paris itself is like one big museum? I said it, yes. But if you ask me, is it worth to visit the 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 for me. To see with my own eyes artwork previously seen only in books of art history, that’s something cool. In book you don’t see, how big is that painting, but there you understand, that so many of them are HUGE.
What about Mona Lisa? It’s a small painting 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 an EU citizen and you are under 26, Louvre is free for you. The only thing you need with you is either a passport or ID card. Otherwise ticket costs 12 EUR, and as I said, it’s totally worth that.
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 parts 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 a long queue for an hour or more? Don’t go to the main entrance. For more information and other tips about visiting Louvre look there.
So How Was Paris That 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 in some places, and not all of them feel nice to be there. There are really a lot of tourists in the central parts of Paris, and at least partly because of that – almost everything is either expensive or very expensive.
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.