Paris - For the first time traveller!
February 6, 2019
by Alankrita Amarnath
Hello! Let’s start this off with a quick question, What does the word ‘travel’ mean to you? No, and I don’t mean the definition in the Oxford dictionary. Everyone has a different understanding of what travelling is to them, and that’s why everyone has a different way to travel. So while you think about what I’ve asked you, let me tell you what ‘travelling’ is to me. Travelling or to travel is freedom, it’s an opportunity for one to get lost, get scared and maybe even find themselves in a new city, at the top of a mountain or while sitting in a crowded train. But the one thing all of us travellers have in common is the constant urge to experience something new!
Talking about new experiences, let me tell you about my first travel, in my favourite city in the world, PARIS. Just a heads-up I will keep breaking into bouts of quick and easy travel tips, so hopefully, it will be of some help to all you first-time travellers out there!
Don’t get me wrong, fortunately, I was blessed to grow up in a family where we used to travel around the world quite often. But this was our first time in France, without any travel guides or tour packages. Just us and the city, on our first date with so much to explore.
It was late April, and there was still a slight nip in the air, also travelling from India we were just not prepared for the cold. Landing into Paris, the city already had very high expectations to live up to. We reached in the night and my first glimpses of the city were the street lights, the traffic and the wet roads.
Rates to fly into Europe change drastically depending on the season.
Expect higher flight rates from Mid June – September (Summer) and the Festive season (November to January)
Make sure you book flights in advance to get the best deals!
Track flights on Google flights to make sure you are notified for the best deals.
It is always cheaper to book tickets to fly in and out of a city during the weekdays, as compared to the weekends.
Stay – Hostels and Hotels :
We were put up in a slightly upscale hostel called the Generator (linked below) located in Colonel Fabien. (Not recommended for budget stay)
The hostel was ideally located in a safe and quaint neighbourhood, close to bus stops, underground metro, cafes and grocery stores. As there are a few parts in Paris that aren’t as safe as the rest. Areas like Montmartre are popularly known to be notorious, so heads up before you make any reservations.
Looking for budget-friendly Hostels? Try, Hostelworld, their website has a wide variety of hostels for different users!
Airbnb is a great option if you are staying in the city for a couple of days. Book a private room or the entire home and you can cook your own food and it is almost like having your own home in a completely new city!
Budget-friendly hotels like Ibis are also a viable option
Generator Hostel. Colonel Fabien, Paris.
The next morning, we were up bright and early. We were on the streets by 9 am after a quick breakfast.
While your travelling on your own, always try to carry some snacks and water that can fuel you through the day! Buying water in Europe can be ridiculously expensive, so always carry a bottle, all tap water is suitable to drink!
Getting around Paris – The Commute :
The easiest way to get around Paris is using their public transport, buses and the metro. And you will get to experience the real buzz of the city!
If you are going to be spending a couple of days in the city, I would suggest buying a travel card, the card can last anywhere from 1-5 days depending on your stay and will work for all modes of public transport.
Depending on the number of zones you want to cover the rates of the pass may vary, zones 1-3 would cover most of the main areas in the city. Check the Official Paris Tourism website and choose the deals that work best for you!
Other ways to travel would be through Uber.
You could even rent a bike and cycle around the city!
Places to eat if you’re a vegetarian, like Moi :
A lot of people complain about places to eat, especially if you are a vegetarian. But honestly, in all the travels I have made I have never found it to be such a huge issue,
Subway is always a cheap, easy and accessible option!
Margherita Pizzas for the win, you’ll get this for cheap at most cafes.
Stock up on sandwiches from your nearest grocery store.
Lot’s of vegan and vegetarian restaurants are open today, but they may be slightly pricey.
If you’re staying at an Airbnb or a hostel with a pantry, it’s a great idea to whip up a quick meal of your choice and carry it with you! Trust me, it’s a great feeling to cook in a new kitchen in a new city!
Places to Visit and tips :
Our first stop in Paris was obviously a cliche. Walking into the Louvre, the picture you see was my very first glimpse of Pei’s glass pyramid. We stood in front of the pyramid and took all the touristy pictures, walked around the pyramid a bunch of times marvelling the structure. We were very surprised that the place wasn’t very crowded and we were proud even, that we would make it in without having to stand in any queues. Cut to five minutes later, an official working at the Louvre told us the museum is closed on all Tuesdays. Wow, what a massive fail, so much for all the travel tips uh? Well, in my defence it was our first time travelling alone, and this was only the first of many mistakes to come. In hindsight I now know that you must :
Always have a tentative plan of what you might be doing in the city
Always google entries for museums and monuments, to know the days of the week they are closed
Booking online – If you are absolutely sure you want to see certain places, you can even book tickets for your visit online and then you can definitely feel proud about not needing to stand in a line! Booking online in advance can save you nearly 15-30% of your ticket price.
If you’re a student always carry your student ID card, and you can avail additional student discounts in almost all museums and monuments.
Places you should visit
– The Louvre Museum,
– Notre Dame Cathedral
– Obviously the Eiffel Tower (I didn’t have to tell you that)
– Montmartre and Sacre Coeur
– Paris by the night Bike tour
– Champs Elysee (High-end shopping district)
– Cruise on the Seine
I usually do not like to suggest places for people to see, because everyone has such different tastes and likings while travelling. Using apps like Google Trips, or Guides by the lonely planet on your phone can really help you to get to know more about the city, places that might be of interest to you, the nearest restaurants, shows and more!
The one thing I understood quite quickly while travelling was that, it is impossible to do everything and you might miss out on a couple of stops, but that is okay. Live in the moment and really take in the place you are in at that moment. A huge part of travelling on your own is being open to the fact that you will goof up, and that you might have to rearrange what you had initially planned. But don’t worry, you’re there, living your dream holiday, so don’t let these hiccups get to you. In fact, I would say, embrace them and just EXPLORE. Just like that after this hiccup, we had some rearranging to do, but we had our entire trip in front of us, waiting to be lived!
I hope that these tips and some of my experiences will help you while you are travelling. And I hope through your adventures, you understand what Travelling is for you!
Give my love to Paris xo.
Leave a Comment...
February 8, 2019
That\'s a very comprehensive article...very helpful.