Travel Diary: Paris, France

Dates: 18th of June – 23rd of June

Bonjour!

After London, I went to Paris with my mother. I don’t think I gave much backstory about why I’m in Europe in the last post, so I shall do that now. I have finished four and a half years of university and am travelling for five weeks before starting a job! I have also never been to Europe, except for when I was born in Switzerland and subsequently lived there until I was ten months old. I don’t really count that, though! (I currently live in Melbourne, fyi.)

Day One

Day One of Paris was terrible! Lol. It was though. We left London via the Eurostar, which was a great experience. Very easy. Nothing bad happened there. However, when we were waiting in line for a taxi, this professional looking man approached us, asked us where we were going, and said the line for ‘downtown’ was in another taxi line. Considering this was a new country to us, and as we never travel and are quite stupid, frankly, we just followed him. Also, we were super excited to be in France!!! Long story short, the driver scammed us out of 115 euros for quite a short journey. I keep thinking back to that moment and just wish I had given him like 20 euros because he wasn’t even running a legitimate business so it wouldn’t have even mattered! My mum and I both work minimum wage, so we felt robbed.

That day, my mum and I were super angry. We even went to the police station. However, we quickly learned that guy was just one asshole out of many nice French people. The police were friendly and so was our hotel receptionist, and they helped us even though there wasn’t much they could do. (I’m still waiting on an email from the police!!!)

View from our hotel room

Day Two

On our second day in Paris, we visited the Louvre. We got there via the train system. Paris’s underground metro is much better than London’s (sorry London)! It could use some more escalators, though.

In front of the Louvre

Before going into the Louvre, we got a French breakfast. This consists of bread, butter, jam, a croissant, orange juice and a coffee. I had this for almost every breakfast, as it is cheap(ish) and really delicious. But too much of it is no good. I do not need another croissant for a long time.

As we got the Paris Pass, we got to skip the line and go straight into the Louvre. We bolted it right to the main attraction, The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. She is quite clearly smiling.

The Mona Lisa

This is what my mum and I are like at museums: okay, cool, next, next! We were out of the Louvre in like twenty minutes. We then went on yet another Hop On Hop Off bus, where we just cruised on the bus for a bit. We were going to do a walking tour of Montmartre, but I did not see it on the brouchure, only online, and I didn’t want to risk getting off and having to wait for it, so instead we watched a movie about Paris. I know, what a dumb thing to do on our first day in Paris. Well, it was free.

Day Three

We started off this morning with a visit to the Pantheon, which is church turned mausoleum. The architecture in France is very extravagant. The entire city has very stunning old buildings. The addition of flowers and cute cafes makes the city even more extraordinary to look at!

The Pantheon

Speaking of great architecture, we then went on a tour of the Palace of Versailles. There were many people on the tour, so we were given little radios to listen to the guide with. It is great having a guide because they actually explain what each room means and the history behind it. Learning about the kings and queens who used the rooms was very fascinating.

A room of one of the French King’s

For dinner we got pizza, which was really good. By this point, we were learning how expensive it is to eat out in Europe. I think the pizza was 14 euros. I would never spend that much on food back home (it would be about 25 Australian dollars).

The garden at Versailles

Day Four

On our fourth day in Paris, we went on a full-day tour to Champagne, Reims and Mumm for champagne tasting. It took around two hours to firstly drive to Mumm, where we visited a traditional champagne cellar underground. We walked around and the guide explained how champagne is made in this specific cellar, which is done all by hand! I found that interesting. The process the employees have to go through is insane, such as turning over 50,000 bottles each per day.

The cellars at Mumm

We then visited Reims and looked at the Saint-Remi Basilica. After lunch, we went to Epernay for more champagne tasting at Nicolas Feuillatte. This champagne facility is much more modern than the first and uses machines to do the work. Both the champagnes tasted good, but I preferred the taste of Mumm’s better! Overall, it was a great tour, and I loved getting to see the French countryside.

View from the bus

Day Five

This, sadly, was our final day in Paris. We did not really do much except go to the Eiffel Tower in the afternoon. Rather than go up it, we decided to go on the River Seine cruise because the lines for the tower are very long and it was a hot day. (Also, I hate heights!). It was a great day for photos of this iconic structure. Like a lot of things about Paris, it is very traditional and old-looking.

The Eiffel Tower

Thoughts on Paris

Going to Paris was a strange experience because the only other time I’ve been to a non-English speaking country was Thailand, and my father’s girlfriend did all the ordering food, buying things etc. I thought I’d give some thoughts on a few areas of the city that might impact the travelling experience.

People: The stereotype that French people are rude is not true. I met many nice French people.

Language: I was surprised that people knew I spoke English before I even said ‘bonjour’. I couldn’t figure out how they knew. But, once you incorrectly pronounce ‘bonjour’, the French people who can speak English will most likely speak English to you without you needing to say ‘Parlez-vous anglais?’.

Food: The food in Paris is exactly how I expected it to be! The baguettes, croissants and strawberries are amazing! I must admit, though, I found ordering food slightly terrifying.

Transport: Like I mentioned earlier, the train system is pretty good. However, I still found the trains to be pretty small compared to Melbourne’s trains. On the way to Paris Gare du Nord (the international train station), we caught the train from Place Monge to Poissonniere with our luggage, which was fine because not many people were on the train. But, if the carriage was full, it would have been difficult. Also, I think the transport prices are quite reasonable, so definitely consider it over taxis.

I am currently writing this post from Amsterdam, Netherlands. I am only here for three nights, so expect an Amsterdam post soon 😉

25 thoughts on “Travel Diary: Paris, France

  1. Congratz on finishing university! I’m close to finishing tool. Such a nice idea to have a long vacation like that before starting your job. I’m so sorry you ended up getting scammed like that. Some people just suck!! I’m glad the rest of your trip was enjoyable. I have been to France 2 times now and really enjoyed my time there as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope you have fun exploring Europe! Love the pictures. Eating outside in Europe is indeed very expensive!!! I don’t know if you went to Shakespeare and Company, but it’s such a lovely bookstore ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry to hear of your bad taxi experience… events like that do tarnish a city (and sadly these scammers are Europe wide) ..I strongly feel that cities must do more to deal with these issues as tourism is a lifeline to so many towns and cities. Paris is an amazing city…and you are right about the language thing…particularly an issue in France but the same in Germany. I live in the UK but travel to Germany a lot and I think my pronunciation and accent us reasonable but there too…invariably a reply in English. Anyway enjoy Europe…thanks for coming to see us😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the message. It was a bad start to visiting such a great city, I was so excited to see it.
      I agree that cities should do more. It’s been several weeks and the French police never got back to us. There should be warnings somewhere. You get warned about taxis when you arrive in Melbourne. I figured that it’s not really that big of a concern in France…
      Haha so true. Maybe it’s easier if they just speak English.
      Thanks a lot! Its been a great trip ☺️

      Like

  4. I just returned from France and thought the same thing about France’s metro compared to London’s. I don’t know why but I had a really hard time finding connections once I got to the station I thought I needed to be at. Even Russia’s metros were easier and there was no signs in English 🙂 Enjoyed your post and looking forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only caught the metro once in London but from my experience I found the train super cramped! London invented the underground railway system so I don’t hold them too accountable 🤷🏻‍♀️
      Haha 😆 All you really need to know where to go is the name of the line and the station and it doesn’t matter if it’s not in English!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Charlotte! I have an upcoming trip from London to Paris as well, so this was a very informative read!

    Congrats on your graduation by the way!

    You mentioned a few of the landmark places I’d love to see when I am there as well and there is nothing wrong with free activities at all! I’m sorry to hear of you experience with the initial taxi. It’s got me thinking about how I would get around. Sounds like the metro may be the best bet. Do you have any suggestions of a taxi brand or ride share program for London that you would recommend using? Thinking about getting from the airport to the train station.

    P.S. Good luck with your new job as well!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ☺️

      I hope you enjoy your trip in London and Paris! They were my favourite places to visit in Europe.

      The metro is easy to work out once you test it out. There are heaps of buses and taxis in London so it’s fairly easy. To get to the station from the airport I’d probably just get a taxi, we had a transfer to our hotel. I’d also make sure to buy the correct ticket and touch in/out. There were several times I fair evaded by accident in other countries, but luckily I didn’t get caught.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, everyone has such wonderful things to say abt them i’m so excited!
    Oh ok, yes i was doing some more research and there was a mention abt organized black taxi’s outside the airport so that my be the trusted way to go. Or a tube called the Heathrow Express then grab a taxi at the end of that line.
    Thanks for the tip of being sure to get the right tickets (i was seeing some online are cheaper to buy in advance, but right i was worried it may not be the right ones i need). I think i’ll wait till I get there and be sure to tap in and out LOL you’re secret is safe with me 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My first visit to Paris, we got taken to by a driver at the airport. We were so frustrated and anxious to get out of CDG, we paid more than we should to get to our accommodations. As I’ve heard it, Gare du Nord is particularly egregious for dishonest drivers.

    Sounds like you had a lovely time. I was in Paris for a second time in May and absolutely adored it. I’m already planning a return visit for early next year.

    Enjoy the rest of your travels!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I read up on Paris before my last journey, as well as places like Rick Steves’ travel forums, and saw others commenting. I guess it’s one of those “you know if you’ve been there.” Unfortunately for the rest of us, it keeps the dishonest drivers in business.

        Look forward to reading about the rest of your trip!

        Liked by 1 person

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