Excuse my tardiness. Things have been rather hectic here. What with my sister’s wedding, a much needed vacation after that wedding and of course, watching the U.S. ruin a good thing (so, so not how I thought it would go!). Now that things have calmed down a bit, I can pick up where I left off on the Euro Trip biz.
Things were planned, we were packed and now it was time to set off on our adventure! Our first day/night was trekking to the bus terminal from Victoria Station. It’s a short walk actually, once we got out of the Underground with our bags. For this first leg of our trip, we opted to take the overnight bus from London to Paris. Sure there is the train, but with a limited budget for transportation the bus was the smartest way to go!
Having already done an overnight bus before, I knew what to expect. The trick is to try and sleep the whole way! Sandra and I chose to sit in the very front of the bus….it had a bit more leg room because it was a handicap spot. We made sure we weren’t stealing these seats from anyone who actually need them–don’t worry. The trip was very uninteresting. We had to go through customs first — get off the bus and line up with our passports. Get pushed through a door back onto the bus. Then we loaded onto the ferry. Again, disembark the bus and find a spot to sleep. This was the most difficult part of our trip. The lights were always on, and people were all over the place. I could barely catch any Z’s.
Back on the bus, off the ferry, onwards to Paris. We arrived in the city around 7am. I had no idea where were let off. It was a parking lot next to a building. Sandra and I had no clue if this is where we were to jump off the bus, but we did. We followed some people across the street to the office building. Luckily I spotted the sign for their metro, so down we went to figure it all out. We ended up purchasing a three-day metro pass because we would be in Paris that long. It was cheaper when you work it all out.
We get to the platform for where we thought we needed to be, but alas that wasn’t the case! Thankfully, a lovely Parisian woman asked us if we needed help and pointed us in the right direction! The metro was actually pretty easy to work out. Definitely easier than the Underground back in London. It wasn’t long before we found our hostel. When we arrived, a large group had just checked in and messed up the hostel’s bookings in terms of what room types guests had pre-booked. So when we got there, we were told that we had been upgraded from a mixed multi-bed dorm to a private 2 bed dorm. For no extra cost! They apologized for the ‘inconvenience.’ Pfff… are you kidding?! We were stoked!
This hostel was a bit off the beaten path, but it was dirt cheap and clean. We didn’t mind using the Metro to get to and from places. This hostel had an elevator that could fit exactly one person. We were on the fourth floor. One of us crammed ourselves into the elevator with our bag, then sent the elevator back down for the other person. Without bags, we just used the stairs. Our room was clean and small but it was nice. We had a tiny balcony to pop our heads out to check out the views.
We hit the ground running. The first thing we wanted to do was the Eiffel Tower. Tip: Get there first thing in the morning when it opens. The que is non-existent. We practically walked into the Tower without waiting. By the time we came down from the top, the que was insane! At the top of the Eiffel Tower, it was overly crowded. If you can get to the railing to oversee the entire city, it’s beyond incredible.
After the Tower, we just wandered the grounds a bit. The overnight trip caught up to us at this point. We sat on this bench and almost fell asleep just soaking in the sun and the views. I finally got up and said, ‘let’s go! We gotta get moving to stay awake!’ So we did. We made our way along the water towards the Louvre. Along the way we stopped for a bite to eat. Now fuelled, we continued our walk. The city is beautiful. It was sunny and hot, we were enjoying every minute of our wandering!
We made it to the Louvre, but didn’t go in. At this point in the day, the que was incredibly long. Neither of us were really set on going in because of the crowds in any case. So we kept on walking. We made our way along the Seine towards Notre Dame. Again, if you’re not here first thing in the morning for a tour, you’ll end up waiting a very long time. We opted out of the tour, and went inside the Cathedral. It is, as you can probably imagine, stunning. When we were there, it was the 850th anniversary of Notre Dame. They were holding a mini-exhibition on the inside with historical photos and references. It was great.
Sandra and I decided we’d call it a day after this. Our feet could not handle any more. It was a great start to our first day in Paris. If there is any tips I could offer up it would be this: 1) choose one major attraction to see everyday and get there first thing in the morning. Unless you’re on a limited time frame when vacationing, this is an easy thing to do. If your visit is a short one, you can try to see it all but the waiting is what kills ya. 2) opt out of Metro. Walking above ground is where the action is. You can’t see anything from a train under the city. Metro is great when needing to get to far off places in the city, but seriously, walk when you can and when it’s feasible. It’s a great way to see the city you’re visiting. 3) Have a plan for the day. Try not to pull out a map when walking around because it targets you as a tourist. I think I’ve mentioned this one before in previous posts, but it’s worth saying again. 4) ENJOY YOURSELVES!
Next up: Day two in Paris…a trip to Disneyland Paris! Stay tuned…