…yes, Princess, I found you at last”
Paris was our first short break after our honeymoon. We decided to utilise the August Bank Holiday and book flights leaving Friday afternoon and arriving back late Sunday night, that meant we had a day’s rest before we went back to work. Tickets were more expensive than going during a normal non holiday weekend. It cost us £160.80 to fly with EasyJet and £208.00 to stay at Tim Hotel.
Tim Hotel was one of the cheaper hotels I found on tripomatic, which was close to the Louvre. We decided to book this instead of a fancy hotel, we only needed the room to sleep and keep our stuff in. The hotel wasn’t what I had expected but not in a bad way. The room was small and dated but clean, the only thing we noticed was instead of a double bed we got two single beds pushed together. This wasn’t a problem for us but please check before booking.
Getting from the airport to our hotel was not too bad. We landed at Paris Charles de Gaulle and opted for public transport to get us to the hotel. Hubby had researched how we can do this and I left it all to him. There are trains that can take you to central Paris, it’s a bit like London’s Kings Cross St Pancras and from there you can take the Metro to your hotel. We decided not to take the metro on our arrival as we weren’t too sure how to use it, our hotel wasn’t too far from the central station so we walked it. But this guide will tell you all (Guide)
We’ve had bad luck with flights, something always happens and we never seem to leave on time. We were a few hours behind schedule so we decided to check into the hotel and catch up on our prayers. We had a little wonder to the Louvre as it was so close to our hotel we just knew we had to see it at night. It was BEAU!
We then decided to head out to Trocadéro and grab a bit to eat. Trocadéro is right in front of the Eiffel tower giving you the best night view. A friend of mine told me that the Eiffel tower sparkles on the hour every hour at night, a must see when in Paris!
Unfortunately we missed the sparkles by a few minutes and decided to eat and head back for the next hour. All the food places around were far too expensive and we found ourselves walking for ages before we found a decent halal place to eat. The guy was getting ready to close but kindly allowed us to eat before shutting up shop. It wasn’t the best food I have had, but was enough to keep us going that night. We made our way back to see the Eiffel tower and caught the final sparkle, we even managed to find a crepe bar close by and indulged in their famous banana and Nutella crepes MAGNIFIQUE! (sorry, the poor attempt at speaking French stops here)
The next morning we woke up early for Fajr prayed and headed straight out to the Louvre we had heard the queues for the Louvre gets very busy and its best to get there early. We managed to find an entrance to Carrousel du Louvre which let us straight into the food court.
Carrousel du Louvre is a high end underground shopping mall, which is home to the La Pyramide Inversée (The Inverted Pyramid), made more famous by Dan Browns film adaptation “The Da Vinci Code” There is an entrance to the museum through the shopping center and you can also purchase tickets from one of the shops there. As we had seen the famous outside pyramids we decided to go through the shopping centers entrance. The queue was long but moving, the only hold up was the security checks. They require all bags to be put through their scanner, which slows down the moving crowd a bit. Going in we were taken back by how big the museum really is and we were just in the lobby area directly underneath the large glass pyramid.
The museum has paper floor plans in many different languages. There is even headsets you can hire that talk you through the art work. We only planned to be in the museum for 2 hours but we could have spent the whole day there. The guide highlights the most famous art work in each section, making it easier for those of us that don’t really know art but like to appreciate it every now and then. We went straight towards The Mona Lisa, their most famous and most visited painting. She was being treated like royal compared to the others, the painting is behind a glassed wall with a thick “Do Not Come Any Closer” barrier. Along with that she had 2 security guards on both sides. We managed to get a few snaps and head on elsewhere.
Some of the paintings really take your breath away, they are so huge and old, I kept visioning how they managed to create these back in olden times. We managed to see the Venus De Milo which was a tad bit awkward as almost all the statues were half naked.
I absolutely loved Napoleon III Apartments, they pretty much had all his furniture to even some of his walls! I loved how the curtains were in the same fabric print as the chairs and couch, something you would defiantly not see today. History always makes me gasp, I love seeing how they lived in the olden days, the rich and the poor
We made our way to the Notre Dame after we finished, stopping for a quick cold drink on the way. The walk there was beautiful, we even managed to add our own lock to the Love Lock Bridge.
Being a Disney fan I knew I would want to climb up to the top of the Notre Dame, but unfortunately we did not do our research properly. We saw the long queues going, which made us re-think our whole plan. If we were going to queue to get in that would mean other plans for the day would have to change. The queues were very long, but it was moving. There are no tickets needed to get in, I think they just slowly filter in the people so it doesn’t get too over crowded inside. Once we go inside, we were taken back by the beauty, it defiantly had an eerie feeling to it, it was big, dark and very quiet. We managed to find someone who worked there and asked where the entrance to climb to the top was, we were told it was outside! Once we managed to get out through the crowd we realised the queue for the climb was to the side, we didn’t even need to go in. But we didn’t have time, oh well there’s always next time
Next on the list was the Museum Of The Arab World we came across this on TripAdvisor and thought it was a must see. We were hoping to find a prayer space here but they do not have anything of the sort. The museum has some breath taking pieces. The Holy Quran section was my favourite, I loved the small scroll that had the entire Quran written. After snapping away the guard told us we were not allowed to take any pictures!
There is a balcony on the top floor which overlooks Paris, it is simply beautiful. There is a restaurant on the top and bottom floor, we found the top floor was pricier and more exquisite.
As there was no place to pray at the museum, we had to make a quick dash to Paris’s Grand Mosque the mosque is a short walk away from the museum and has a metro station not too far from it. We managed to make it for Zhur and even had time to take a few snaps before it was time to pray Asr. It was a nice break, to be able to sit down and relax for a little while
We found that we were a little ahead of schedule, the original plan was to head back to the hotel to pray Asr, but as we has already prayed there was no need to go back. We had a few hours before our next prayer so we decided to go straight to our next destination, the Champs-Élysées.
Champs-Élysées is like a very high end version of our Oxford Street. The street runs from the Arc de Triomphe all the way until the Louvre and takes about half an hour to walk from one end to the other, but the walk is beautiful. We got off at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Station and walked all the way up. I had no intention of shopping but I had to pop into Tiffany & Co not to buy anything but to hint to Hubby for future reference 😉
We did however queue for Ladurée, how could you not, they are the most famous French bakery. I have never had macarons before so what better place to try them, then the birth place of them. There was 2 queues that were spiralling out the door and on to the streets. The longest being the queue to eat in, lucky we opted to take away, we probably would have been there all night! Once we got to the front we explained how we could not have anything that has any animal product or alcohol in it. The team there are so lovely and helped point out which ones we couldn’t have. They have so many other dessert items other than macarons, but we decided to play it safe. I can’t remember exactly how much it cost us, but it was defiantly the most expensive bakery item I have purchased in my life
We continued to walk all the way to the Arc de Triomphe. As it is situated on a massive round about, you have to walk underneath the road, which then leads you right to it. Unfortunately that day there was some sort of ceremony happening there. They had blocked the middle off, so we had to peak through from the side
That was everything ticked off the itinerary for the day and we were ahead of schedule! Once we got back to the hotel to pray magrib, I was absolutely shattered. I could have easily crawled into bed and gone to sleep. But we needed something to eat.
We decided to stay close to home and find something local to eat. We managed to come across a small fish restaurant, which Hubby had found online. I can’t remember the name, and to be honest we were too tired to look for anything else. But I don’t think I will go back if I am ever in Paris again. The workers were bengali, and after being seated our waiter started a conversation with Hubby that was never ending, even after our food had come he was yapping away. I felt like a third wheel! They offered us complementary macarons at the end of our meal, which were very chewy and nothing like the original ones we had bought earlier that day.
The next morning we were up early again ready to head out after Fajr prayers. As we were leaving that night we had to check out of the hotel. I had contacted Tim Hotel before our trip and had asked if they would keep our luggage for a few hours. It seems this was a service they did provide to all guests. We didn’t want to be luging our heavy baggage through Paris so we left it at reception and picked it up later. They keep your items at the front and they are not held responsible for any missing items. They put a tag on the luggage and give you the receipt, which is needed when picking it up.
We had planned to visit the Eiffel Tower that morning, as this was one of the sights further away from all the other attractions. We didn’t have any plans for breakfast, we were just going to wing it, I’m glad we did. We ended up wandering around for a while before we can across a small authentic French café, Café Roussillon.
The café is big and seats a lot of people, it seemed there was only a handful of people eating breakfast at the time. Most seemed to be local, which is always a good sign. We were seated by the windows and ordered ourselves the Parisian Breakfast. The service was really good and we got our food so quickly. The Parisian breakfast comes with orange juice, tea or coffee, a croissant, bread and fruit salad and a little souvenir, an Eiffel tower keyring. We managed to finish everything apart from the fruit salad, it’s a shame its tinned fruit salad, if it was fresh I would of gulped it down! The little gift of the keyrings really made an impression with me, I would defiantly go back!
Before leaving home, we managed to book tickets for the Eiffel tower through Viator. All the tickets through the official website had been sold out already. We managed to skip part of the queues and were taken close to the first elevators. Watching from down below it was really something. The elevators go up the legs of the Eiffel town at an angle, it’s amazing to think how they came up with the idea to build this so many years ago. There is no time limit once you get up, they scan your card and you’re free to go. The Eiffel tower has 3 levels, the summit being the 3rd and highest level, ticket for this are an additional fee, which you will have to pay when booking your entrance tickets. Our guide told us to go straight to the summit as sometime they do not let you in 2 hours after your admission time, so we went straight to the top and worked our way down. The view is something else, you can pretty much see all the iconic landmarks of Paris from the top. Hubby was well in his element, pointing out the places we had been the day before. Tip for future visitors, take a jacket or a cardi with you. Being so high up it’s very windy and can get a little cold, even on hot days! Once hubby had enough of the top floor we made our way down to the 2nd and did the same all over again! I think we spent about 3 hours there in total and could have easily spent a lot more. We decided to eat at 58 Tour Eiffel, something magical eating so high up with a view of all of Paris.
By the time we had come down the sun was blazing and we couldn’t resist heading towards Champ de Mars. We lay on the grass with the sun in our face and a beautiful view of the enormous tower we were on a few moments ago. It was nice to see so many people enjoying the day. Lots of people had come for a picnic, others where there spending time with their children. We even came across what seemed like drama group acting out a play in full costume. What I clearly remember about Champ de Mars, was how clean it was. If this was in Britain, how quickly do you think it would have gotten littered
From there we walked to the Pont Alexandre III bridge and made our way back towards the Louvre, a must when in Paris. As we got to the Place de la Concorde, we looked behind to see a very small Arc de Triomphe. Seeing it from this point was really something else, it made me realise just how long the Champs-Élysées really is!
The walk from Place de la Concorde, through Tuileries Garden towards the Lourve is a really scenic route, perfect for a hot summer’s day and an even better way to end out trip. We slowly strolled through the crowd, taking in all of the beauty whilst munching on ice cream.
As we had checked out of our hotel earlier that morning, we had to go back to Paris’s Grand Mosque to pray, walking along the river seine and even stopping for another crepe. Once we were done we headed back to the hotel to pick up our bags and sadly finish our wonderful trip