First step into Schengen region
So after an overnight journey in Etihad Airbus 388 having a capacity of 415, I was in CDG Airport Paris. I couldn’t believe at that moment that I have covered more than 4000 miles crossing Asia and much of Europe in a flash. I was so amazed by the journey that I couldn’t resist myself calling home.
At CDG Airport Paris, you undergo an international check-in. That’s the last hiccup you face. It totally depends on them to allow to you proceed further. If they find anything suspicious they might deport you. So I would advise you to remain calm and answer their queries very confidently.
They asked me few questions like “Do you have hotel reservations and what is the purpose of your visit?” After giving replies very casually, soon my passport got stamped with entry into the Schengen region. I was filled with enthusiasm and excitement and told myself Alas Well Done! Mission accomplished!
With that stamp you can visit 26 countries in EU.
|At Charles De Gaulle Airport|
From airport to reach Paris City best option is to go via Metro. You will see directive boards to reach to the CDG Metro Station. Paris Metro is one of the oldest metro system in the world. Near station you would see automatic vending machines, you can take out the ticket quickly if you know how to read french and easily work on the machine 😛. Don’t waste your time there, get into the queue and take tickets from counters (It costed 5 Euros). You may find large waiting there but one benefit of going to counter is that, they will explain you about which metro lines you have to take and where to change lines. It’s very helpful for first timer because Metro map of Paris City is quite complex (not as simple as Delhi Metro). You can also take hard copy of the map from help desk for free.
|Innumerable stations and so many lines and zones “The Paris Metro Map”|
Amazing journey of Red Big Bus
I had a booking of Big Bus Tours that I did online for 33 Euros (Because it was first time for me, next time I will travel by feet and metro only, as metro is pretty cheap 1.9 Euros from anywhere to anywhere in city) it would give Hop-On-Hop-Off tour of the city on very famous routes. This was my bus route ⤵
So What’s the first thing come into your mind when you hear about Paris, Think! Obviously Eiffel Tower. Which you see in many hollywood and bollywood movies. You can start your Big Bus journey from any of the stops on the route, I decided to start with Tour De Eiffel Station and boarded first time in the Paris Metro. You can hear the noise produced by the wheels on tracks inside the metro as being the oldest metro and old technology which you don’t hear in Delhi Metro if you have been to.
|Paris Metro from CDG Airport to Paris City|
After changing 2 metro lines I reached Tour De Eiffel metro and I stepped out of metro in search of Big Bus stop of Eiffel Tower. And what I see after getting out of the metro station, the sky kissing Eiffel Tower, clouded sky and greenery. And amazing weather, cool breeze welcoming me in the city like nothing. From 35 degree in Mumbai to 17 degree in Paris Wao !!! Although it was good that I put on a sweat shirt at the airport.
|First look of Eiffel Tower from outside of Tour De Eiffel Metro|
After querying from some people about where I will get the Big Bus I finally reached the bus stop. In the picture below you can memorize the scene from Tanu Weds Manu Returns in which Pappi bhaiyya enjoyed with her English girl friend(But they were in London). Enthusiasm was at peak, I took the seat at rooftop of bus and the journey started from Eiffel Tower. I couldn’t get the Eiffel tower pass online because of high demand and it was good for me because it was taking approx 2 hours in the queue to get into the lift of the Tower. I was thinking that there should be some other point in Paris from where I could take a look of whole Paris City that Eiffel Tower gives. Good thing about Big Bus was getting on-board wifi. I did a video call to my cousin to make him feel jealous 😀. And updated my status on fb.
|Hop on Hop off Big Bus|
As the journey starts in the bus you get to see the very beautiful city, no skyscrappers that destroys the beauty of the place. All the buildings so beautiful, beautiful landscapes and neat and clean roads.
If you haven’t been there you will feel like a big dream coming true. Below pictures will give you a awesome buildings view of the Paris City.
|Beautiful and antique buildings|
|Buildings near Louvre Museum|
After having some dry fruits and indian mathri on rooftop of bus and stepped down on the next stop i.e. Louvre and entered the below restaurant. I asked for vegetarian food, I got a small dish but it’s good to travel light.
After 5 minutes walking you will see this building which contains the world’s largest collection of ancient European Art and Antiques. But you will be thinking of where is the famous pyramid from Da Vinci Code? That is in the back side of it. You can book tickets of Louvre from museum entry.
|The world’s largest Museum for European Antiques “The Louvre Museum”|
|Pyramid at Louvre|
|Taken from one of the windows in the Museum|
Where was Monalisa looking
I had booking for Louvre museum that I did online for 17 Euros. I entered the museum with so much excitement. There you can see ultimate collection of European art, pictures, antiques and world famous paintings. As I don’t have much knowledge about ancient history and culture, I was just curious about the most famous painting which you would be familiar with “The MONALISA”. I queried how to reach to Monalisa and the museum staff person told me that have patience, walk a mile you will get there and by that info I understood that for thoroughly viewing the museum a day can be very less. I had only few hours. After walking more than a kilometer I finally witnessed the painting and I was surprised, a small painting on a large wall that’s it Oh Man!! And people are missing very fine artwork and paintings for it. And so many people waiting for long time for taking a pic of Monalisa or selfie with Monalisa. I managed to take the following pic after zooming a little bit from my redminote4. And still couldn’t recognize where She is looking. Phew!! So for me it was kind of waste of little money because I had to go to other places and clock was ticking as in evening around 4 p.m. I had bus booking to Brussels.
So if you are an art and history lover then start from the early morning and I am not sure whether you will be able to complete it till closing. You can try. But you will definitely get to see the masterpiece antiques that will amaze you.
After spending two and a half hour in Louvre I stepped into the Big Bus again and reached to the next destination the famous cathedral in Paris “Notre-Dame”. It is the one of the largest church building in the world. Entry into the church is free. It was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress.
After spending some peaceful time in church, I felt hungry and had a swiss cheese sandwich at a local road side restaurant just near the church. That was delicious and filled my tummy. An average meal would cost you around 5-7 Euros without drinks. Because of less time I boarded the bus soon and reached Palais de Chaillot. That was the last stop of Big Bus for me.
From Palais de Chaillot you can have an awesome view of Eiffel Tower. It’s a nice place to hangout and photography. There you can visit also Musee National de La Marine (National Navy Museum) which I skipped.
|Palais De Challot|
This was the end of the big bus tour in Paris for me, But had to come again to Paris for chasing my biggest dream French Open 2017 and RAFA. I had tickets for Quarterfinals after 2 days.
I then reached to Porte Mallot Metro which is not far from Palais De Challot( It costs 1.9 Euros from anywhere to anywhere in Paris City), and it is the hub for bus services(FlixBus) to various European cities.