We left Abuja on Thursday and arrived Paris Friday Afternoon by Emirates airline. It was a smooth flight and the food was okay. We had a layover of about four hours which wasn’t so bad. We already kept some money aside to buy some food at the Dubai airport.
As I stated earlier, flying with Emirates was a long route, because it was like going backwards and then forward. We actually got a Turkish airline ticket but something went wrong along the way. That’s gist for another day. So we got an Emirates ticket for about N220,000 each.
We arrived Paris Friday evening and took a cab to our hotel. We stayed at “ibis Paris Gare du Nord Chateau Landon 10th” for 5 nights. The hotel was very good in terms of location (it is very close to the train station, which is about 5 to 10 minutes from the city), it was clean and the staff were helpful (except that one time we were going into the hotel after a long day of touring and someone asked us if we were guests….mchewwwwww having stayed three nights already?! seriously!!!). My friend felt it wasn’t too spacious, but I think it was good value for money.
We didn’t do anything on the arrival day, we only went around the hotel to see where we could eat and know more about our surrounding. The following day, we embarked on the “free walking tour”. Note that it is not free, you book a tour online and tip your tour guide at the end of the tour depending on how good the service was; our tour guide was really good. The tour was so informative, we were told about the history of the kings (King Louis the XIV who rarely had his bath and is actually rumored to have had his bath only 3 times in his entire life, king Louis the 16th; husband of Marie Antoinette), the city, the stories behind each building, walls, sculpture and we went to the famous love lock bridge and so on. It was really the best way to start the Paris adventures. After our tour we went back to some of the places we had passed through earlier and walked around the city of Paris.
Side note: In Paris we were three friends on an adventure (two from Nigeria and one Nigerian from America). We synced our vacation plans late so the only agenda that fitted was Paris.
The next day was set aside for the “Louvre” (Brief history of louvre; it was actually a palace which was the main residence of French kings till king louis XIV decided not to live there. It housed the royal collections till it became a museum in 1793). You need to set a whole day aside for it, as it’s huge and there is a lot to see. We booked earlier online (booking earlier for your tours online saves you a lot of time queuing up). We opted for the audio tour guide rather that an actual tour guide. It was such a beautiful experience with so many art works, paintings, sculptures and OMG we also saw the Mona Lisa! It’s actually a bit under whelming, there is too much security around the picture. We were told that it became famous after it was stolen for years from the museum due to a conflict over which country actually owns it. Ever since it was recovered, millions of people started trooping to the louvre to see the painting.
The “Notre dame cathedral, Eiffel tower, Seine river cruise and lunch at le Bistro” were on our schedule for the next day. We had seen the Notre Dame Cathedral on our walking tour day, so we went straight to the Eiffel tower. On getting to the Eiffel tower it was closed for the day #tears. It was closed because the euro cup ended the day before and they were clearing/cleaning up the fan zone which was beneath the Eiffel tower. We were quite sad. We really came prepared because our plan was to actually use the stairs #fitnessgoals to the first step and take the lift to the top. We had on our sneakers, bottles of water, shorts and all. To be honest the reason we decided to use the stairs was that the Eiffel towers ticket get sold out the moment they open (three months before) and the lines for the elevator are usually so long.
So we skipped the Eiffel tower and went for our lunch at the “le Bistro” (it is a restaurant on a boat) were we had an amazing time with a fairly nice meal. After our lunch we went for the “Seine river cruise” (it was for an hour), it was so lovely. We took the Seine River Cruise in the afternoon and had lunch rather than dinner because it was cheaper in the afternoon than in the evening #coversface. After this we walked around Paris using our paper maps and ended up seeing more of what we did not plan. We saw the site/tunnel were princess Diana died and The Champ de Elysee which is a shopping area with a huge arch at the end. We entered a perfume shop where a perfume cost almost as much as our budget for the entire trip (you actually get your own unique scent and all).
The last and final day was for the “Palace of Versailles”, we however combined it with the Eiffel tower. So early in the morning we started our train ride to the Versailles. My friend’s phone was stolen on this fateful day at the train station #sadmuch. Getting to the palace is not so difficult, I won’t advise paying for a tour to get there. We stood on such a long queue, it was way too long. After some hours we were in #yaay. The ground consist of the main palace, the grand trianon and the musical gardens. The tour at the palace was a nice experience, we felt like we went back in time to the 16th century. The musical garden was huge and beautiful, it had fountains dancing to the beats of different musical sounds.
After the Palace we went to the Eiffel tower. We got there by past 9pm and had to queue. After some hours we got our ticket took the elevator and went up. It was such an amazing view. We couldn’t make it to the summit because it start drizzling and it was getting really cold #sadmuch. However, we made the most of our stay and were back at our hotel really late that night.
The next day, we bade farewell to Paris and found our way to the airport to embark on the next phase ITALY.
Things to note:
• Someone told us that Paris should have been our last stop because we might get a bit disappointed with the other cities after seeing Paris and he was not wrong.
• Start your adventures with a “walking tour”.
• Be very careful. There are a lot of scammers, conmen and pick pockets around
• Be ready to walk and stand on queues.
• Do not spend a lot of money on tour buses. Navigating through Paris is not so hard. The subway is very efficient.
• Please do not eat, seat or touch any item in the museums and palace.
Stay tuned for the next phase #ITALY
Editor: Sowumi Modupe and Ude Nnenne