Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fluctuat Nec Mergitur (Paris, France)

The Eiffel Tower and Its View

Paris, France is the first international city which I traveled with my travelling group. At first, I was very afraid to go there because there are many rumors from my senior that say many cases of theft, fraud, and robbery happen in Paris. But, I cannot go back anymore because I have booked the ticket and I don't want to lose my money. More importantly, I don't want to lose a chance to travel to the one of the beautiful cities in the world.

So, we went to Paris from 6-9 August 2011. Let me explain first on how to travel in Paris. Based on my finding, the best way to travel in Paris is with Paris Metro (short for "Métropolitain"). Paris metro is a rapid transit (subway train) system which contains 16 lines and divided into 7 zones that we can use to travel to every part of Paris city. People can find more information about ticket which suitable with their plans in here. In my case, I chose to buy one day pass ("Mobilis") ticket for €6.10 to €17.30 (depending on number of zones). In fact, I only traveled in zone 1 and I also got a discount price because I am a student (ISIC card will help). Thus, I spent less than €6.10 on transportation for one day.

Now, here is my experience travelling in Paris which is sorted by day:
  • Day 1
    We stayed in Bed and Breakfast Hostel which is located near Bonne Nouvelle metro station. We arrived in the hostel around 8 PM, we put our stuff in the hostel and directly headed to the Eiffel Tower. We can't go to the top of the tower because it was already closed. Night time is the best time to see the Eiffel Tower because it's more beautiful with the lights that surround it. Thus, I suggest people to queue for the Eiffel Tower in the afternoon (because it would be a very long queue), climb up around early evening, then climb down to see the Eiffel Tower from the park (near the tower) in the late evening.
  • A View From the Eiffel Tower
  • Day 2
    On the second day, we went to  Sacre Coeur, Arc de Triomphe, Invalides, Pont Alexender III, Eiffel Tower (we climbed to the top of it), and took the Siena River Cruise. When we was travelling to Arc de Triomphe, one of my friends got fraud and lost her money for €180 (approximately  Rp 2,169,155). Their trick was by asking my friend to play with them in a game like the picture below:

    Which one is the white one?
    The rule for this game is very simple: the player has to guess which one is the pot that has white dot. The dealer will turns over all of the pots and start to shuffle them. If the player success to guess where the pot which has white dot, he will gets twice of his bet. But if he loses, then he will lose his bet. The minimum bet of this game is €50  (Rp 602,543). Thus, please be careful for this kind of things if you guys would like to travel to Paris. Don't speak to any strangers (except to ask directions) and don't receive anything from them.
    From top-left, top-right, bottom: Notre Dame Church, Invalides, Sacre Coeur

  • Day 3
    On day three, we went to  Louvre MuseumNotre Dame Church, and Pantheon (by the way, Rome also has Pantheon). Louvre Museum is extremely huge, we spent 4 hours to saw every part of the museum. Louvre Museum is the location of the phenomenal film "The Da Vinci Code" and it's also the place where the famous painting "Mona Lisa" is stored.

    Mona Lisa
  • Day 4 (final day)
    On the final day, we departed from early morning to fly back to our city, Aachen, Germany.

Well said, Paris is truly one of the best cities to travel. But it also has some drawbacks, which are:
  • The subway station which is dirty and confusing
    The city of Paris is great and beautiful (the surface), unfortunately their subway is not. The subway station is filled with garbage and graffiti. Moreover, there are 16 lines of Metro Station and 5 lines of RER which are connected to each other. Sometimes we have to change to another line (more than one) to get to our destination.
  • Unofficial sellers which are roams in various part of tourist attractions
    I know they need money to buy foods, but I don't like the way they try to sell their "stuff." There was one case where they pulled my hand and forced me to buy their goods. But, for those who are interested with cheap souvenirs (I cannot guarantee about the quality), those unofficial sellers are very helpful. Tourist can buy a miniature of Eiffel Tower with price range from €5 to €30 (bargain is a must).

Conclusion:

There will be always pros and cons for every city. Paris is definitely a great choice to travel, but I suggest you guys to really prepare your travel plan to avoid unexpected events.

Here are more photos from my trip:

Left-bottom: The Baptism of Christ by Cornelis van Haarlem


L'Amour et Psyché by François-Édouard Picot