Le Grand Paris Trip
We travelled to Paris, France from the UK where we were staying in the Birmingham area. This time we flew out of Birmingham rather than flying out of London like some of our other trips.
We made it to Paris okay and once we got to the airport we had to figure out how to get the train to our hotel. We did look it up on Google maps ahead of time. We just had to line up for a train ticket and then catch the train from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Gare du Nord and then a metro train to Estación de Oberkampf. From there we walked.
We checked in to our hotel and we were impressed with our windows. It's not often that we have the luxury of windows!
We were excited to see Paris so we got out there and walked around. We got a map from our hotel to help guide us. We walked past city hall or Hôtel de Ville.
Then we crossed the bridge to go to Île de la Cité.
We found the famous Notre Dame Cathedral and waited in line to go inside. Check out the gargoyles on the side of the cathedral. Very cool.
The entry line was huge but fast moving. We were in after about a 10-minute wait.
It's hard to get a good picture in a church because you aren't supposed to use flash and the lighting is low. There was a service going on when we were in there as well.
After our visit to the cathedral, we walked around some more and ended up going on a river cruise along the Seine River which is the big river that runs through Paris.
Check out the post we did on our River Cruise and watch the video we made as well.
After the cruise, we saw some street performers while we were walking around.
We called it a night and the next day we went out on a walk. The plan was to make our way towards the Catacombs of Paris.
We crossed the river and walked through the Latin Quarter.
We walked past the Cluny museum, national museum of middle ages. We spotted a mosaic by the French street artist Invader. We saw a bunch of Invader's work around the city.
We walked along Boulevard Saint-Michel on our way to the Catacombs.
We made it to Jardin des Grands Explorateurs and took a picture in front of Fontaine de l'Observatoire.
We arrived at the Catacombs where we waited in line for 3.5 hours before getting in. We should have planned ahead but we are still glad we stuck it out in the line so we could see the Catacombs.
Afterwards, we walked back towards the neighbourhood where our hotel was called Le Marais.
We spotted more of Invader's artwork.
Walked through the busy side streets was fun.
We made it to Hank Burger which was one of the restaurants on our list. They have two different combo sizes for their meals, a petit menu and a grand menu. We went for the grand menu.
The burgers were delicious, especially the sauce.
We explored around some more and then the next day we got up at the crack of noon and walked to Aujourd H'ui Demain for breakfast.
The girl that served us at the counter told us she had been to Vancouver and some places in Alberta before. She really liked Vancouver. The food we had at Aujourd H'ui Demain was tasty.
It felt good to have some real coffee rather than instant coffee and the vegan yogurt with granola and fruit was really nice.
Everything at Aujourd H'ui Demain is vegan.
We walked around some more and went to a park called Place des Vosges where there is a bunch of art galleries you can go into for free.
We did a lot of souvenir shopping as well and checked out a big shopping mall called LE BHV MARAIS which is a cool shopping centre. They have a lookout point on one of the levels but it was closed when we went to check it out. It reminded us of a shopping centre we went to when we visited Madrid. It also had a lookout point.
In order to keep costs as low as possible we at most of our food on this trip from the grocery store. Either having a picnic in the park or eating in our hotel. We did go out to eat a few times though but eating out can really start to add up.
The next day we set out on our planned trip to walk along the Seine and see the Eiffel Tower. The weather was excellent pretty much the entire time we were in Paris but it was also a bit of the hot side.
We stopped by the Louvre to see the Louvre Pyramid.
We did not go inside the Louvre as we wanted to enjoy the sunshine and we felt like we had already had our fill of waiting in lines on this trip.
It was really busy. Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world. You could tell there were people visiting from all over the world just listening to all the different languages being spoken in the big tourist areas.
The garden near the Louvre, Tuileries Garden, is nice for a walk.
We crossed to the other side of the Seine and walked along the water going under the bridges. There were water stations to fill up water bottles all along the Seine and there were free public toilets too which can sometimes be hard to find.
Well, we made it to the Eiffel Tower.
It was bizarre seeing such a famous building close up. We didn't go up it though. We were all done with lines and didn't care to spend the money on it. Maybe next time.
We got some food at the grocery store and ate a picnic in the grass near the Eiffel Tower. There were lots of people around doing the same thing.
We made sure to get a ton of pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower.
We had a nice walk back along the river.
The next day we set out to go to a park not too far away called Parc de Belleville which has deceptively good reviews online. In retrospect, we should have tried Parc des Buttes-Chaumont instead as our trip to Parc de Bellville was a bit of a bust.
For Lunch, we went to Hank Pizza which is the sister restaurant of Hank Burger. It has the same sort of system where you can get a meal combo with a side and a drink either a petit menu or a grand menu. They had 4 types of pizza and we tried them all. The pizza was similar to the style we had when we visited Amsterdam.
On our walk to Belleville, we got to see some more of Paris.
It was a lot less touristy and we didn't end up taking a lot of pictures. It definitely felt like we were headed into a poorer and less touristy part of town. We really didn't want to stick out as tourists. The sunglasses didn't help with that. We made it to the park which was supposed to have a nice view. The view wasn't bad but it also wasn't really worth visiting in a city with so many great spots to visit. All the big buildings were pretty far away. We did plan on hanging out in the park but it wasn't all that nice. It was a bit surprising that the reviews online were so positive.
There wasn't a lot of people in the park aside from homeless people, day drinkers and groups of guys in their 20s just hanging around. We didn't really like having to squeeze past a bunch of young dudes hanging out on the stairs in order to get to the top. We went to the top took a couple of pictures. The vibe felt like we should probably go somewhere else so we started heading back down to find the street again. The paths were a bit of a maze. We turned a corner and all of a sudden there is like 10 dudes just standing there. We really had no choice but to walk past them in order to get out of the park. It was a bit intimidating as a tourist. The park is probably a better place to visit if there is an event going on or something.
On the way back towards our hotel we happened to go past the Bataclan which is the theatre where 90 people were shot and killed by terrorists on 13th November 2015. We saw that there was a memorial plaque for the victim of the Bataclan attack on the side.
We made it back to our hotel and we pretty well just hung out in there reading our books the rest of the day since it was so hot out. We had walked quite a long way and we were tired so we wanted to rest up to be able to get up in the morning to catch our plane.
In the morning we did have some trouble getting to the airport as our train was delayed. It looked like it was going to be a close one but we managed to make it on time and arrived back safely in the UK. Here is a video we made on what we ate in Paris. You can also see our Vegan Guide to Paris to help plan your own trip.
If you enjoyed this post then check out our other posts about our time in Paris France. Have you been to Paris? What was your favourite Part of Paris? Where did you stay? What you recommend we check out if we go back again?