Paris Travel Blog

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We arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on the morning of Oct 22nd. We purposely chose a hotel near Orly airport for our stay because our flight leaving Paris two days later departed from Orly, so it would be a simple matter of riding the hotel’s free airport shuttle on the morning we left. Upon arrival we began the long commute from one side of the city to the other, which didn’t require much effort, only time. If you take the trains like we did, you’ll have to make your way to the train station at the airport’s terminal 2 where you’ll find service for the TGV and RER suburban trains. Depending on where you arrive at CDG, you can walk or take the CDGVAL airport train to Terminal 2. The RER B line took us to the St Michele/Notre Dame station where we transferred to the RER C line toward (Massy-Palaiseau). The Hotel Air Plus where we stayed was perhaps a half mile from the Orly Ville stop through residential streets that were initially confusing, but later familiar once we had walked the route once. 

We got around on our first full day in Paris using a day pass on the Paris trains for zones 1-4. That set us back about 10 Euro each, but is the more economical option if plans require many separate trips, especially if you are starting off in the outlying areas. We exited the Metro at the St Michele/Notre Dame station that we had passed through the day before. A short walk down the street and across a bridge over the Seine River brought us to the famous Cathedral.  We didn’t pursue the idea of going inside as we were happy to just take some pictures.

We got back on the metro and continued on the same line to the Pont de l’Alma stop. This afforded us a short stroll to approach the Eiffel Tower. Again, we didn’t want to fight the crowds or spend the money to go up in the tower, but instead just got a lot of pictures. You’ll find all sorts of people selling whatever they can near and under the tower. It was a rainy day when we were there, and even though we were holding umbrellas, two people carrying a bundle of umbrellas tried to convince us to buy one of theirs. Otherwise, if you want to buy an Eiffel Tower miniature of any size, then that is the place to find one.

We found the Champ de Mars subway stop at the opposite end of the tower which we used to transfer on foot to the Bir-Hakeim stop. The #6 metro line from there took us to Place de Charles de Gaulle/Etoile. The name Etoile (“star” in French) comes from the fact that several major Paris streets come together where the Arc de Triomphe stands. The radiating pattern of these streets gives the impression of a star. There’s no need to face the harrowing thought of crossing the wide and busy circle surrounding the Arc. There’s an underground pedestrian walkway for that purpose. For 9 Euros we climbed the spiral staircase up to the top where we saw breathtaking views of Paris, including the entire length of the Avenue des Champs Elysees leading to the Musee de Louvre in the distance. A simple safety guard around the edge gives you almost unobstructed views in all directions. Inside, there’s a gift shop and some historical information about the structure.

That fulfilled our day there in Paris, and it was back to the hotel. The next day, it was off to Budapest!
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photo by: lasersurge