Thursday, March 05, 2020

The Paris Museum Pass

The Paris Museum Pass offers free admission to dozens of sites in Paris, including most of the top attractions. Is it worth it?

That depends!

Before you go investigate which sites you want to see and how much those will cost. It could very well be worth it.

The pass also includes a Metro card, so you'll be able to use public transportation at no additional cost.

There is also a savings of time as most attractions allow pass holders to skip the entry line and go directly in.

For our short 3-day visit, we did not get the pass. We spent around 180-200 Euros total for the attractions and transportation we needed. The pass was 155 Euros per person.

It's worth investigating though before you go.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Arc de Triomphe



If you haven't walked enough while in Paris, here's your chance to work out your legs with a 284-step climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

Once you're at the top, you have stunning views in all directions. Stare down the length of the Champs-Élysées, or get a great photo of the Eiffel Tower or the golden-domed Invalides.

In addition, spend some time watching the chaotic traffic below as 12 boulevards feed into one roundabout.

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Sainte Chapelle cathedral




I've been fortunate to visit some very impressive cathedrals in Europe, but I was absolutely stunned by Saint Chapelle.

It's relatively small compared to many of Europe's cathedrals, and the 11 Euro entry fee seems high, but it is beautiful inside.

This is a two-level cathedral that was built to house the supposed crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus' head. King Louis IX paid three times as much for the crown as he did to build the cathedral.

The second floor of the cathedral is where you'll find the splendor. Fifteen stained glass windows line the walls depicting more than 1,100 scenes from the Bible. It will take your breath away.

Sainte Chapelle is located on Ile de Cite, a few blocks from Notre Dame. Walls around Notre Dame include pictures and descriptions of the fire that destroyed part of that cathedral in 2019.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Louvre

It would be hard to visit Paris and not go to the Louvre. It's one of the largest museums in the world and, of course, home to the Mona Lisa.

The Louvre frequently has long lines so consider buying a ticket in advance. You will have to wait in a security line no matter what.

We listened to Rick Steves' audio tour, and I would highly recommend it. You'll start in the Ancient Greece area and see Venus de Milo.

You'll also see some key Roman statues, including Winged Victory. The tour continues through medieval and renaissance art, including the Mona Lisa.

Da Vinci's painting draws huge crowds, but they manage those by forming two lines. At the front of the line, small groups of 8-10 are allowed a couple of minutes for pictures with this famous artwork.

After the audio tour, we ventured into the much-less-crowded near eastern antiquities area for a few minutes.

You'll want to allow several hours to visit The Louvre.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Champs-Élysées



The Champs-Élysées is one of the most well-known boulevards in the world, famous for its broad sidewalks and expensive shops. The two-mile boulevard starts at the Arc de Triomphe and ends at Place de la Concorde.

You'll see high-end shops like Louis Vuitton (pictured above) as well as restaurants, cafes and entertainment. We bought crepes from a street vendor to enjoy during our walk.

You'll pass the Grand Palais and Petite Palais en route to the end.

If you continue on past Place de la Concorde, you'll come to the Orangerie, Tuileries Garden and the Louvre.

Montemarte / Sacre Couer



We began our visit to Paris with a visit to the Montmarte neighborhood and the Sacre Couer basilica located on Paris's highest hill.

Take the Metro to the Abbesses stop where you'll see a plaza and a nearby wall of love. The tiled "I Love You" wall has those three words written in 250 languages.

From there, you can follow the signs to the Sacre Couer, a basilica built in the late 1800s and early 1900s on Paris' highest natural point.

Climb the 200 steps to reach it for a panoramic view of the entire city.

The inside is impressive, too, and is free to visit. You can also pay to climb the dome. Don't forget to visit the cryp underneath.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Montenarte / Sacre Couer



We began our visit to Paris with a visit to the Montmarte neighborhood and the Sacre Couer basilica located on Paris's highest hill.

Take the Metro to the Abbesses stop where you'll see a plaza and a nearby wall of love. The tiled "I Love You" wall has those three words written in 250 languages.

From there, you can follow the signs to the Sacre Couer, a basilica built in the late 1800s and early 1900s on Paris' highest natural point.

Climb the 200 steps to reach it for a panoramic view of the entire city.

The inside is impressive, too, and is free to visit. You can also pay to climb the dome. Don't forget to visit the cryp underneath.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Le Belmont Hôtel Paris



We stayed at Le Belmont Hotel in Paris.

This four-star hotel is located about half a mile from the Arc de Triomphe and a short 10-minute walk to the famous Champs-Élysées boulevard and a metro station. It's about one mile from the Eiffel Tower.

Our stay included the daily breakfast buffet valued at 21 Euros per day.

The breakfast was the same every day and included some hot items like bacon, eggs and sausages as well as croissants, pastries, cheeses, breads, yogurt and fruits.

The hotel has a spa, fitness center and bar. There is free WiFi.

We found it to be a convenient and comfortable home for our visit to Paris.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Le Bus Direct

There are several transportation options once you arrive in Paris to get you from the airport (CDG) into the city.

A regional (RER) train will take about an hour and will connect to the city's metro system. Taxis and car services are also available.

Our trip came on the heels of several months of transportation strikes so we opted to take Le Bus Direct.

Tickets can purchased in advance, at a kiosk in the airport or directly from the driver, although that final option is more expensive.

A one-way ticket is 18 Euros, or you can get a round trip ticket for 31 Euros.

The bus stops at two terminals at CDG before heading to Paris.

The bus makes only three stops, so it is very much a direct trip to the city. It stops at Ponte Maillot, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.

The trip takes 50 minutes to an hour. Busses run every 30 minutes.

There is free WiFi onboard although I found it pretty spotty.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Indy to Paris nonstop on Delta



Delta began offering a nonstop flight from Indy to Paris in May 2018. It makes traveling to Paris or connecting to the rest of the world very convenient.

The flight operates several days per week and leaves Indy at 6:30 pm, so you don't have to wake up before dawn, and you can even work a half day or more before going to the airport.

I was impressed that Delta offers a complimentary welcome cocktail to everyone on board, even those of us flying in the main cabin.

The food was good, and there was an entertainment unit at each seat.

The flight arrives at 8:30 am, giving you a full day to explore or to make your connection to another destination.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Paris Apps (2)

Our trip to Paris is complete, and of the apps I mentioned in my previous post several were very useful.

By far the most useful was the "Paris" app. Even in airplane mode, the gps consistently found my location on the map which made for easy navigation from point to point.

The app also allows you to save favorite sites, such as your hotel, so you can easily reference those locations.

It also has a map of the metro. We used this app a lot.

I also highly recommend Rick Steves' free audio guide to Paris. Download some of the specific tracks in advance. We followed his guide in the Louvre and should have done so at Versailles, too, as his is much more detailed than the free audio guide provided at Versailles.

We also used the Historic Walk guide in pieces. The app is great because you can pause the audio if needed, and it continues to play if you exit the app to use your phone for other purposes.

I did not use the Louvre or Toilettes app at all. The Versailles app also has audio tracks you can download in advance, but I could only get the first track to play while at the Chateau.

The City Mapper app is great for planning immediate public transportation from your current location.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Paris Apps

I've downloaded a handful of apps for my long weekend in Paris. I'll let you know how useful I find them.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Paris planning

It's been far too long since I've posted to the blog, but I'm getting ready for long weekend in Paris next month so I'll be posting about that.

Currently I'm searching the App Store for apps that will be useful while in Paris.

Please comment if you have a recommendation.