Since we already in Europe, it will be a waste if we didn’t spend it to traveling around Europe. Thus, my colleagues and I (20 of us, to be exact) decided to visit Paris on Saturday. To save money, we went to Europe by night bus. This is definitely cheaper than train and plane, more importantly, you don’t need to pay for the lodging.
We arranged the travel by using Flixbus and it only cost us around EUR 47.5 for round-trip from Den Haag to Paris. The bus was scheduled to depart at 10.45 pm in Den Haag Centraal Station. However, it was delayed for 30 minutes. The bus itself is quite decent. They provide toilet, coffee for EUR 1, water for EUR 1.5 and more importantly, the electronic plug which can be used to charge your electronic devices.
I’m not a big fan of traveling that spent the whole night time because I’m afraid that I might disturb other people due to my snoring. Thus, I decided to wore masker and scarf to manipulate the snoring less disturbing. However, it turned out that it didn’t really help :P. My deepest apologies for this :). After 5-6 hours, the bus finally arrived at Port Maillot, Paris, France at 06.45 am.
Basically, for only one day, it is very possible to enjoy major tourist sightseeing in Paris. However, if you really want to enjoy it to the fullest, I would suggest you to take at least 4 days to enjoy the beauty of Paris. Back in 2010, when I was backpacking around Europe, I spent 5 days in Paris and yes, it gave me more than enough time to enjoy every single part of tourist attractions in Paris.
Nevertheless, below are some highlights from my one day trip in Paris:
a. Arc de Triomphe
- As explained by Wikipedia, Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monument in Paris and it honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars.
- You can climb to the top of the triumphal arch by the stairs and I’m not really keen to do it since it will be so damn exhausted :P.
- From Port Maillot, it only need to take 1-2 Metro to go to Arc de Triomphe. We visited it in a very early morning and the sky was still dark. But, at least, we managed to capture some photos. From Arc de Triomphe you can continue your journey to Champs-Elysee by walking or by Metro.
- Champs-Elysee is one of the infamous boulevard in Paris due to its strategic location among many tourist attractions and monuments as well as host of many international brands and shops. Parisian usually celebrate the parade of Bastille Day in this beautiful boulevard. It connects Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, and the Place Charless de Gaulle (where Arc de Triomphe is seated).
- Don’t forget to visit Disney Store in Champs-Elysee to have a look on fascinating Disney merchandise (including Marvel and Star Wars, which are now under Disney). I got a very good offer for a Marvel Tumbler. The grim green tumbler with classic Marvel figures (Avengers, Blackbolt, Spiderman, BlackPanther, etc) for only EUR 3 (from the original price of EUR 16). From Champs-Elysee, you can continue your adventure to Eiffel Tower by walking towards Trocadero or taking a Metro and stop at Trocadero Station.
c. Eiffel Tower
- Eiffel Tower, as you already know, is the icon of Paris and Europe. The iron lattice tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel as the entrance arch of the 1889’s World Fair hosted by Paris, France. It is one of the most recognisable building around the world.
- The tower has three levels, which can be visited by tourist. The ticket can be purchased based on whether you want to go to the level by stairs or lift. I have visited the third level (the highest one) in 2010, so I decided not to visit it on this occasion.
- It is very easy to go to Eiffel. The best spot for photo session is in Trocadero building. It is reachable by Metro from Porte Maillot. The Trocadero is not that close from Eiffel tower, but taking picture in this area will give you full depiction of the tower which will be very interesting background for your picture.
- You may also wish to walk to the Tower and enjoy its beauty directly from its base. You can also meet the volunteer guide which will give you the explanation about Paris and Eiffel, especially. Feel free to ask the free map from them. The map is extremely useful for your journey.
- From Eiffel, you can continue to Place de La Concorde by walking for 20-30 minutes. In the middle of your journey, you may visit Hotel des Invalides and Musee de l’Armee (national military museum of France). It is a must visit for military and history enthusiast, indeed. P.s. you can visit Napoleon’s tomb in this museum. Fascinating, right?
d. Place de La Concorde
- The place de La Concorde is very close to Champs-Elysees and Louvre Museum. Just walk along the Elysee and you will find de la Concorde. Two major highlights of the Concorde are the Fountaines de La Concorde and the Obelisk of Luxor.
- Last time I visited Paris, the Concorde was still under construction and we could not have a clear look upon this monument. Fortunately, we managed to enjoy it on our second visit despite small construction was still ongoing.
- From de La Concorde, you can continue to go to Louvre Museum by walking as it is very close to the Museum. You only need to walk past the Jardin des Tuileries, the beautiful garden next to the Museum.
e. Louvre Museum
- Beside Eiffel, the Louvre Museum is placed second in your must-visit in Paris. It is one of the largest museum in the world with widely various collection from Greek Antiquities, Egyptian, Roman, Islamic Art to Near Eastern Antiquities and Sculpture, etc etc.
- Since the Da Vinci Code, the number of Museum’s visitor is increasing due to the portrayal of the Museum in the book and adapted-movie starred by Tom Hanks. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is the Museum’s most popular attraction and it takes one spacey rooms to gather the visitors only for Mona Lisa.
- It is always worth to visit Louvre as long as you have enough time to enjoy all the collections in the Museum. The best time to visit the Museum is in the morning to avoid the entrance queue. You will have to pay for EUR 15 for entrance tickets. Don’t forget to visit the Museum Shops as it sells various, interesting souvenirs about Museum.
f. Seine River
- I didn’t visited Louvre this time as I already had in 2010. So I decided to meet my junior from UGM Debating Society while the rest of my colleagues visited Louvre. Punjung, the French literature graduate is currently pursuing her Master Degree on Development in Universite Paris-Saclay since last three months. We met up at Louvre and continued to walk along Seine River towards the Cathedral of Notre Dame and had some lunch in McDonalds.
- Walking along the Seine River was surprisingly fun and felt classic. Along the river, you will meet the street vendors that sell used books, vintage collection of Paris (postcards, posters, comics, vinyl records), old statues, etc. I even found Marvel and Tintin Comics, all in French.
- The highlight from the Seine River is the lock of love in Pont des Arts bridge, the romantic bridge lined with padlocks. Since 2008, tourist have taken to attaching the padlocks with their names written or carved on them to the part of the bridge. All of this is done for the romantic gesture for the visitors. However, since June 2015, the original location of padlock bridges has been removed to the side part of Seine river and the bridge due to safety concerns. I managed to attached the padlock with my name and Naya’s name on it :).
- From Seine River, the Notre Dame is very close. Just continue your journey by walking.
g. Notre Dame
- Notre Dame or the Cathedral of Notre Dame is a historic Catholic cathedral in Paris and widely considered as one of finest example of French Gothic Architecture (ref: Wikipedia). The entrance fee is zero and the building is very beautiful. If you are Catholic, it would be very interesting since you can join the prayers.
- There is a square in front of Notre Dame that usually used to have some seats and take some pictures by tourists. Some street performers usually also shows their performance around here.
- The highlight from my visit to Notre Dame is the Cafe Panis, which is located next to Notre Dame (your right side, if you look at to the Cathedral). The Cafe offers various French local dishes and other nationalities cuisine with a fine taste and affordable price. I had my first escargot and confit (both are French’s traditional cuisine), and both of them tasted so damn delicious (I promised I will write separate review about this :D).
h. Moulin Rouge
- The last stop from one day trip in Paris is its nightlife, the Moulin Rouge. The Moulin Rouge itself is a Cabaret House in northern part of Paris. It is marked by the red windmill on its roof. The Moulin Rouge has been used and mentioned in many films and documentaries. The Holywood movie’s titled Moulin Rouge (Ewan McGregor, Nicole Kidman, John Leguizamo, etc) is one of the famous one.
- Of course I didn’t visit the Moulin Rouge as the ticket is fairly expensive (EUR 87-205). However, I managed to capture some pictures in front of the building to mark the visit to its place. You can visit this place by taking Metro and hop off at Blanche Metro Station. Or you may wish to walk along MontMartre hill until you find Moulin Rouge. There are many shops and cafes along the way (to reach MonMartre, take a Metro and stop at Montmartre Metro Station).