I wonder what I could write about traveling through France that hasn’t already been written about before. And since I’m harbouring the delusion that long-form travel reads are still a thing, I have to try…
Ruki and I took a long-awaited trip to France earlier this month, and it turned out to be an experience of a lifetime. We haven’t travelled a lot together in the short time that we’ve been married, and this was my first time outside the subcontinent for reasons other than work. But we were very clear from the start that we wanted to explore the world, one country at a time, and not really travel the way our parents did – covering multiple countries in a fortnight or less, constantly on the move with barely any time to soak anything in.
Our nine-day itinerary covered three cities and started from Paris, known for social media pictures of people pinching the Eiffel Tower. Our first stop was the Louvre, one of the largest museums in the world. It’s pretty much impossible to cover its three wings and all they offer in one day. If you’re a dilettante and indifferent to art, then you’re probably there to see Da Vinci’s most famous work, The Mona Lisa, with the added attraction of walking the same halls that Tom Hanks did in The Da Vinci Code, concluding with the Piramide Invertida, the supposed tomb of Mary Magdalene in the movie. There’s enough literature available that talks about what each of the three wings carry, and you could pick one and spend the day there. There are Nintendo audio guides available as well, but they’re a little pointless; it takes time to figure out how to operate them and it’s an added distraction when there’s already a lot to see and do. There are two entrances to the museum, and the smaller one near the Tuileries Garden is generally less crowded. The highlight of our day was an early dinner (with lots of champagne) in a double decker bus that took us through Paris and its pretty sights.
By the second day, we’d become “experts” at riding the metro and taking the bus, one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to travel in Paris. When you travel for the first time, purchase a wad of 16 tickets at any station. This works out to be cheaper than buying a card, and is convenient since you’re not under pressure to use the card a minimum number of times to break even. There’s also an app called Rome2Rio that’ll tell you exactly which lines to take and which stations to change, and it’s always a good idea to check with the travel desk or your host where you’re staying. There are metro maps, mobile apps and enough literature about do’s and don’ts available online 🙂 Continue reading