The City of Lights Beckons

From spring to summer onward to autumn, human seasons change with the alacrity of a playful child. Then stealthily arrives the last season, the snowy withered winter of life. However in between these transitions come those halts where we rejuvenate ourselves, where we actually live a little before moving ahead. These breaks which we lovingly call holidays give us the much needed respite from the constant tilling for that elusive sweet harvest of life. And truth be told we all love holidays or vacations, call what we may, for without them life is but a never ending drive sans any interlude.

A few days off the radar is a blessing in disguise. We actually wait with bated breath for these moments away from the daily grind right from the planning phase. And in the days when we are actually away from the normal sway of life our lips relentlessly curve into pleasing smiles in the excitement of treading the previously un-trodden paths.

It had been quite a long time since I had taken a break just for the sake of relaxation, up until recently that is. But after coming to Dusseldorf to be with S for a few months, I've realized that it's alright to halt every once in a while. Of-course, I do get bored not having an office to go to but then I know I'll be back to the grind soon enough once back home. So there's that and moreover that's beside the point anyways. Fact is since I'm here, S and I have decided to make the most of it. And more so as this year we complete 8 years of being together as a couple out of which we have been married for 3! Quite a feat right? Why you don't think so? Well, let's just say we do and so we have decided to go someplace special to mark the occasion.

We had initially planned to go for that long impending vacation to Goa this year. However, the sudden move of S to Dusseldorf for work made us rework our plan. So when S asked where I'd like to go I couldn't help but think of a book I had read last year, The Paris Wife! And it was decided instantly that we should go to Paris to celebrate. Since both our wedding anniversary and my birthday fall in March what could be a better time for a visit to that beautiful city than the month of March itself?

Le Louvre - Aile Richelieu
Attribution: By User:Gloumouth1 (Own work)
[GFDL (,
CC-BY-SA-3.0 (
or CC-BY-SA-2.5
(], via Wikimedia Commons
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Paris is called the City of Lights and it is the world's most popular city for tourists. Situated on the Seine River, it is at the heart of the Île-de-France region. For the art lovers and the romantics, this is a treasure trove full of museums, theaters, architectural marvels and more. Whenever I have read about it in books or seen it through travel shows, it has come across as a city which is an amalgamation of art, literature and history across centuries. And that idea fascinates me. It is also the fashion capital of the world and being a woman that too takes Paris a few notches up in my list of must visit places around the world. Also, I want to see the Mona Lisa. I've read so much about it that I want to see this painting by Leonardo da Vinci which has fascinated artists and painting aficionados for centuries. So yes Paris it is that I want to see. 

Paris - Place de la Concorde - 3119
Attribution: By Jorge Royan (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
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Wanting to go to a place is one thing but then creating the entire itinerary from scratch is a task that needs a lot of time, especially if we want to travel smart and not land up unprepared in an unknown place. Our tentative plan as of now is to travel on the 20th of March and return on the 23rd. So with the dates out of the way, the next logical step is to find the best and cheapest way to travel. This entails the prices obviously and the time at which we would actually reach Paris. Since most of the hotels have check-in time at around 12 noon, the best itinerary could be one that takes us to Paris around that time. Wow planning a trip is really not a cakewalk and I can now understand why!

The Louvre
Attribution: By User:illuminatusds (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
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Now the mode of travel is the next item in the to-do list. We checked and found that the buses on Eurolines either reach too early or too late when compared to the check in times at hotels. But they are definitely cost effective and could be used for our return trip atleast. Hence we need to find another mode for the onward journey. So next we looked at the trains which were again slightly expensive if taken for both onward and return journeys. However, if we took a train out of Dusselfdorf on 21st morning we could be in Paris in just 3.5 hours, in perfect time for hotel check-in and we would also not have to do an overnight journey starting on the 20th. With the buses and trains checked we just wanted to see if by chance the fights would be a good option. In-fact we used the Skyscanner App for the same. And we actually found the app quite good in terms of ease of use. Have a look for yourself.

It seems fairly easy doesn't it?

Paris Night
Attribution: By Benh LIEU SONG (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
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However S really wants to travel by bus or train as that according to him is the best way to see Europe. Moreover, when we do the calculations the flights as expected turn out more expensive than taking a bus or a train. So with these two aspects in mind we have decided to make the onward trip by train and the return trip by bus. So with the to and fro journeys locked, the next thing is the hotel booking. This is tricky but after hours of going through reviews on internet and comparing tariffs we have zeroed in on two hotels. One is a Bed & Breakfast Inn and the other is Ibis. Both are budget hotels and are situated close to Metro stations which is a must for ease of commute in Paris. I'm actually more inclined towards Ibis so we will most certainly book that for our stay in Paris.

Tour Eiffel Wikimedia Commons
Attribution: By Benh LIEU SONG (Own work)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 (],
via Wikimedia Commons
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How to move about in Paris is the next thing to be ticked off the list. The Hop On Hop Off Bus tours seem like a good way of visiting all the tourist attractions while we are there. It is not only cost effective but flexible too. There are Segway Tours as well but I doubt I'll be able to ride those, so that's out of the question altogether. We have also found out about the Paris Pass which is actually a great way of seeing the tourist attractions apart from being cost effective. In fact, with the Paris Pass we could visit a number of museums, take the Seine River Cruise and even have a wine tasting experience! And to top it all we also get unlimited travel on Paris Metro Zones 1-3 with the pass. So we are at the moment torn between Paris Pass or the Hop on Hop Off Tours. S is inclined towards the former and I think I agree.

Arc Triomphe
Attribution: By Benh LIEU SONG (Own work)
or CC-BY-SA-3.0
via Wikimedia Commons
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The next important question is what to see in Paris? Though the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris are some of the things that I know about I have been told that while there I should also see Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees, Musee d'Orsay, Basilica of the Sacre Coeur, Disneyland, Tuileries Garden, Palace de la Concorde, Pantheon, Catacombs and La Madeleine. My girlfriends have also told me about the midnight lighting at the Eiffel Tower which I surely don't want to miss. And of-course, how can I not eat at the cafes and restaurants in Paris boulevards where great authors and poets had once spent time writing. Don't follow, do you? Well maybe if I go there then some of their magic dust would rub off on me. So a must-do for me is to sit in those restaurants, cafes or brasseries and write something, anything! Who knows when inspiration might strike?

Notre Dame dalla Senna
Attribution: By Zuffe (Own work)
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 (
or GFDL (],
via Wikimedia Commons

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The rest of the items are fairly easy. We just have to travel really light, with just a knapsack each maybe, for we don't need the overhead of luggage during our trip. We need to be careful about our pockets for we don't want to fall prey to pick pockets.

So with all the planning out of the way all that remains is S's leave approval and then the final booking. Hopefully, it works out and we get to see one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Fingers crossed! And yes if you have any suggestions, must see places or hotels in Paris that you know about don't forget to drop a comment here!