I have been writing my solo travel stories about my trip in Switzerland – the beauty of the mountains, the kindness of random people and my adventures as a solo traveller.
This travel story is not solo- my brother and sis in law accompanied me for a very short trip to Paris. I am the meticulous planner and like to plan, make reservations and chalk out everything in advance and they are the laid back ones. But, for a change they took it upon themselves to plan this trip well in advance. Right from the flight tickets to B&B reservation and booking tickets in the “fast track” queue to get upto the summit of the Eiffel Tower, rather than risk waiting in a 3 hour long queue- they did it all.
I was all set for a long weekend in Paris – my brother and I left for the Zurich airport to catch our flight to Paris which departs Zurich at 12.40. We had to reach the Eiffel Tower at 5 pm which gave us enough time to get to Paris, and go to the Tower.
The first streak of bad luck occurred when the flight was delayed by half an hour, we were ok as we had buffer time anyways. I calmly sipped my White Mocha as I was checking about Paris with a blogger friend who had visited.
We finally boarded and then the flight would not take off for another half an hour “We are sorry to inform you that the flight is delayed by 20 minutes as we need to offload the baggage of a passenger, we regret the inconvenience” Little we could do, but sit through.
Finally the flight took off after an hour’s delay and we reached Paris at 2.30. Thankfully there was no immigration check as we were travelling within Shenghen region and we had no baggage. We swiftly walked towards the help desk and inquired about the fastest way of getting to the hotel. We were informed that its a hour’s distance from the airport (we had booked closer to Eiffel Tower). A train ride would take 1 hour, with a change of train at the main station and cost 20 Euros per person, a taxi would cost 55 Euros and take 45 minutes but the roads would be congested at this hour and could take longer. We decided to take the train for fear of getting caught up in a traffic jam (usually trains are on schedule). We bought the tickets and had to use the internal train to get to a different terminal from where the train service started.
So we rush to the starting point, board the train and wait- for the train won’t start. We then hear an announcement in French and people are getting off- seems there is. a glitch.
We are conscious of time moving on and rush to the bus stop just outside the airport which takes us to Terminal 3 from where we can board the train. We keep waiting with others but the bus doesn’t turn up. After 10 minutes, we take a cab, and then begins this nail biting journey. The maddening traffic, the cheerful cabbie cant do much to ease us as we continue to be stressed, maintaining a calm exterior.
We had paid 150 Euros for the tickets to the tower and the possibility of not making it is quite a disappointing one. We made a decision and requested the cabbie to take us to the hotel, where I would drop the bags, pick up sis in law and we take the same taxi to the Tower.
Despite our silent prayers, the nervousness, and hope – we got there only by 5.20. The sight of the magnificent tower couldn’t be enjoyed completely because of the situation we were in. We jumped out of the taxi and ran like crazy – but were not allowed entry by the priority queue as we did not have the tickets. We had to find the travel guide.
It was taking some time and we had no option but to wait and despite the tension, one cannot help but admire the Tower
We found the assembly point and a few others – 2 women who had also come late. Finally the guide arrived and gave us tickets only till the 2nd floor- not the summit. We were late and she was firm. Our pleading did not work. We decided to make the most of what we had and boarded the lift to the 2nd floor.
It was 6pm by the time we reached the 2nd floor terrace(which is 115metres high). It had started to get chilly, the view of the city was spectacular. You could see the Cathedral, ancient buildings, the river and boats, the bridges – it looked like a picture perfect scene- a feast to the eyes.
The guide informed us that tickets to the summit could be bought here, they cost 6EUR- having come this far there was no way we were going back without getting to the top. We bought the tickets and hopped on to the elevator.
The view from the top, to be honest is great- but its freezing cold and that makes it really difficult to hang around for long.
One thing that people need to be constantly wary about is pickpockets- the message is clearly displayed at prominent places.
We the began the descent – we decided to take the stairs after reaching the 2nd floor- it was quite an enjoyable experience walking down the stairs, but after a while you wonder why don’t they end!
There is a spectacular light show which takes places every hour and lasts for 5 minutes which is a visual delight.
The next best thing that one shouldn’t miss in Paris is the one hour boat ride- which literally takes you through a tour of the city, passing by The Louvre Museum, the iconic building where the Chanel Fashion Week takes place and many more such monuments. The only thing is thats its freezing cold and the best view is from the open deck, we braved the cold for 1/2 an hour and then came to the cabin below.
After the boat ride, we were damn hungry and went to grab some food. Ww had some pasta with white sauce and salmon and some local red wine. It was time to call it a night.
It was an eventful day which started on a great note, a few hiccups and situations beyond our control made the day seem like a bleak one but at the end we were glad that things turned out well. We may plan for several things but at times it may not go as per the plan. Nothing much can be done about things beyond one’s control- smile and go with the flow and hope that it turns out to be good.
Do you have any travel stories where things took a turn, for better or worse? Share them in the comments, I would love to hear.