Q: Where did you go during this trip? (City/Country)?
A: Paris France
Q: When did you take this trip?
A: We visited Paris during the Holiday/Christmas in 2013.
Q: How long were you there?
A: About a week.
Q: Was the length of time you stayed in this location about right?
A: I’m not sure if you can ever spend enough time in Paris! However, If it’s your first trip I’d say you need to be there between 7-10 days.
Q: What made you choose this destination?
A: We take a trip during Christmas almost every year and in 2013 we decided to visit Paris. The primary reason was the Christmas festival that is done annually on Champs-Élysées.
A: We flew Emirates Airlines because we were living in Dubai at the time!
Q: Tell us about your travel experience?
A: Based on my previous experience with the airline they lived up to my expectations! Emirates is by far my favorite airline!
Q: What were your thoughts upon landing at your destination?
A: I was unimpressed with the airport! Upon stepping off the plane I expected Paris Charles de Gaulle to be something of a spectacle or at the very least something plush and very Parisians. It was not but luckily I didn’t have to spend much time there!
Q: What was your primary form of transportation while in the city/country?
A: We mostly utilized the train system and walked but we did hop a taxi here and there. Fortunately the train system isn’t overly complex so once you get an understanding of where you are staying, getting around isn’t overly difficult!
Arrivals > Hotel > Getting Your Bearings
Q: Do you have any recommendations or comments regarding your accommodations?
A: We stayed in in the 15th Arr but for what ever reason can’t remember the name of the hotel! However, it wasn’t overly impressive but the room was extremely small! From what I’ve learned over the years is that hotel rooms in older cities tend to run on the small side!
Experience the Destination
A: Visiting Paris during the holiday season was a magical experience! I’ve been to a number of destinations before and since during the same time of year and very few have even gotten close to what Paris has to offer!
Q: What most surprised you about this city, country, or experience?
A: Prior to visiting Paris you always hear people talk about how rude and impolite the French are. During my time there I found the people to be quite pleasant and helpful! The French definitely get a bad wrap!
Q: What element of the culture were you able to observe or experience?
A: Of all the things I experienced in Paris during the holiday season I’m not quite sure which of the experiences would be qualify as “cultural”. There were plenty of locals participating in the festival, the museums were packed, and the energy of the city was electric! Strangely, everything was open on Christmas Day! Talk about a surprise!
Q: What did you think about the food?
A: During the trip I found myself eating a lot of bake goods and quiches, especially for breakfast and lunch. Due to the Christmas festival there were an abundance of street vendors selling a variety of food! Some of the highlights were the Grand Mainer Beignets, Cognac filled Hot Chocolate, this Pita sandwich from a place called Chez Arthur (DELICIOUS), Lunch at the Louvre, and Dinner at the Eiffel Tower. I can’t say that I was ever disappointed in my food choices! A comical thing did happen concerning food though! The McDonalds on Champs-Élysées ran out of french fries! I don’t eat at McDonalds but seeing the sign on the door and hearing the disappointment in the people’s voices as they were exiting the restaurant was pretty funny! No French fries in France!
Q: Is there something unique from this country's cuisine that you'd recommend?
A: As good as the French cuisine was I didn’t find anything that was overly unique. My biggest suggestion food wise would probably be to keep it simple but to explore when the opportunity presented itself! The abundance of liquor was delightful! I deemed the last Sunday we were in Paris as Cognac Sunday and I made it a mission to have Cognac with every meal… This was not a difficult feet! Breakfast ✅, Lunch ✅, Dinner ✅, in my mid day warm up hot chocolate ✅, and about 4 other times that day!
Q: Tell us about the shopping? Did you discover any unique clothing, shoes, accessories or brands during this trip?
A: Well as you’d imagine Paris is a treasure trove of high end fashion brands! However, there are numerous small boutiques that sell high quality leather goods. You could also easily find small designers that have been around as long as some of the bigger names but weren’t as well known. You could definitely spend some money walking the streets of Paris!
Q: What activities did you take part in while in this city/country?
A: We went to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Rodin Museum, We put a love lock on the bridge, took a train to Versailles, saw the Liberty Flame Memorial, visited Notre Dame, spent a lot of time on Champs and visited the Tuileries Garden.
Q: Tell us about the sights...
A: Well, let’s see… The Louvre is HUGE! We spent about 6 hours wandering the halls of the museum and I know for a fact that we didn’t see the whole thing! The Mona Lisa is a lot smaller than I expected. The Louvre has a funny schedule so make sure you take a look at it before making the trip if it’s on your to-see list. The line for the Eiffel Tower was absolutely INSANE! The line for the elevator was longer than the steps so we opted the hit the steps! Luckily even the steps were that bad! If you plan to go all the way to the top of the tower you’ll reach a point where taking the elevator is compulsory. So save a little time waiting in line and take the steps. The Rodin museum was interesting! I’d recommend checking it out! The thinking man statute was the highlight but there were a number of other pieces worth checking out while you are there. Versailles, as you probably already know is another expansive place to spend a day! I’d recommend taking the train because the station isn’t far from the actual grounds and the trip only cost about $5. Depending on what you’re into, I’d plan on spending at least 4-6 hours there exploring! If the weather is nice I’d estimate being there longer! The grounds of Versailles is beautiful and seemingly endless so you could easily go out there and get lost (literally and figuratively).
Q: How's the night life?
A: We didn’t hang out too deep into the night because of all the site seeing that we were doing. We did however check out a few loungers and paid a stop to the Buddha bar! I’m sure there is a lot of potential in the Parisians nightlife but unfortunately, we were a little too tired to check it out first hand!
Q: Is there anything you wish you would have done but didn’t get a chance to?
A: Yes! I wish I would have booked a tour to the cognac and champagne regions! I also would have like to see some of the out lying areas of the city. This trip was very concentrated to the tourist circuit. There are numerous other museums and restaurants that I’d like to check out along with just exploring other less touristy places.
Your Recommendations & Insights
A: During our trip the Euro didn’t seem to spend that badly! Food and drinks were reasonable and lodging expenses weren’t that bad either! Shopping, especially luxury shopping seemed to be on par with the rest of the world from a price perspective. The real deals were to be had at the smaller less known boutiques.
Q: Give us your top tips or suggestions for someone planning to make a trip to this country.
A: My first tip would be to learn about 10-15 French words. Words like bathroom, thank you, pardon me or excuse me, go a long way when dealing with the people! That little bit of initiative is appreciated when interacting with the locals. My second tip would be to get a hotel in a central area! Although getting around Paris isn’t difficult, having the ability to walk or hop on the metro vs relying on Uber or Taxis is a luxury! My last tip would be to plan ahead and save! You will see some unique things while traversing the streets of Paris and there’s nothing like wanting to pick up a piece and it being just outside your financial comfort zone. If it’s unique and it’s in a boutique you can’t hesitate to pick that item up because they are typically limited in availability and if you like it there’s a pretty high likelihood that someone else will like it too. So you have to be prepared!
Q: Would you make a return trip to this destination?
A: With out a doubt! My next trip to Paris will be during the spring or summer and will stretch a bit further into the country side and coastal regions.
Q: Do you have any parting thoughts about this trip?
A: For anyone debating on where to go in Europe, Paris is definitely worth the trip! I’d highly recommend visiting during the holiday season because it’s add a whole other layer to a city that is already naturally beautiful!