Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Aman & Nadya's honeymoon guide to Paris: Part 1

A lot of things have happened since my last personal blog entry.

I got married, we travelled Europe for almost three weeks, we had a few mini travels in between and we just recently came back from Hokkaido, Japan. I have a lot to write and I’ve always wanted to pen down my thoughts on my blog. But I just cannot find the time, especially during the busy semester.

So now, its the June Holidays and I am truly, enjoying my days relaxing at home. I thought to myself eh this would be a good time to blog!


I’ve received so many emails asking for my travel itinerary, the hotels we stayed in, the transportation we took and let me just tell you in advance, everyone’s itinerary will be different. Your personality determines the itinerary you create for yourself. To be honest, it’s not that I do not want to share with you my itinerary, but for Aman and Nadya, there is no itinerary. If you are looking for an organised, perfectly planned itinerary right down to a tee, you’re looking at the wrong guide.

We are super last minute people when it comes to travelling. We book hotels one to two weeks before leaving and we technically, have no plan. We just read a bit on what are the things we should look out for, and we let our feet and our hearts decide where we should go, how long we should stay there etc. At the end of the day, you must remember that you want to travel to places you love and not do a checklist of, oh I must go to this place because tripadvisor said it’s the number one tourist spot or cos everyone I know went to take a photo there but I have no idea what it's all about.

Aman & Nadya’s Guide to Paris: Hotel and Transportation

Since my first trip to Paris in the summer of 2010, I fell in love. I love the city so much that if you made me return to it every year, I would. I cringe when people complain that its dirty or smelly because based on my own personal experience, no such thing. It is such a lovely city, the architecture is gorgeous, the food is amazing, the Muslim people will give salaam to you when they see you, my gosh, I could go on and on.

We flew via Emirates because I love everything about Emirates. If you’re booking for your honeymoon/holiday, take note of the sales period cos tickets ARE cheap and really worth it. I am not picky when it comes to planes or the service they provide on board, I just need good food served (i'm the weirdo who loves plane food!) and a good entertainment system (movie marathon woohoo!). Emirates providesthat and that is why I will continuously fly with them if I want to make a trip to Europe. Please take note that there will be a transit in Dubai. If you want to enjoy Dubai, you can choose a long transit timing and get to explore Dubai, otherwise, take note of the transit time when you’re selecting your flight. You don’t want to be sitting in Dubai Airport for hourssss before your flight to Paris.



From Charles de Gaulle Airport, we took a train to Gare Du Nord, the main train station. From there, we took the subway to reach our hotel. One thing that you must mentally prepare yourself, the majority of Paris subway stations do not have escalators or elevators so yes, you must drag your luggage up the stairs. Poor Aman, I had to see him lug two heavy luggages up and down the stairs all the time L



 


I wanted to stay near to the Eiffel Tower because we wanted to do a small photoshoot with Aman in a suit and me, in my wedding dress hehe. So we chose Hotel Du Cadran because of the short walking distance to the tower. By the way, there is no need to spend so much money on getting a hotel with the Eiffel Tower view. Most of the time you'll be out and about exploring the city and personally, seeing the Eiffel Tower right infront of you is way better than seeing it through your window.

I loved the area near our hotel as there were a couple of supermarkets nearby, small restaurants, bakeries and there was just the right amount of noise accompanying us on our way back to our hotel each day. Not too noisy, not too quiet. The hotel room was clean, simple and the right size for the two of us.




We went for a short photoshoot around the Eiffel Tower area. There are a few carousels which make such lovely photo props and there are a few spots to take your photos so that you’ll get a good view of the Eiffel Tower (see map below). Choose your timing well if you aim to do a photoshoot, always go early in the morning, lesser amount of tourists and lesser people photobombing your shots. Hence why its very important that you select a hotel with a short walking distance from the tower :)






From the Eiffel Tower, we walked along River Seine. Do not bother taking the cruise along River Seine. Everything that is beautiful about Paris can’t be seen if you’re on the cruise. Depending on the time of the year, but most of the time, the weather should be pleasant to walk in. There were times when it got a bit too cold but we still walked anyway. The architecture of the buildings are super gorgeous so it really doesn’t feel painful because everywhere you turn, you see such lovely buildings. I must admit, I complained quite a lot because I was wearing the wrong shoes. Please remember to wear good shoes when you’re travelling. When your feet gets too cold and numb, its no longer enjoyable to be walking for very long.

We made a trip to The Grand Mosque of Paris and performed our prayers there. I went around in circles looking for the women’s musollah. Just remember, the ablution entrance is at Level 1, but entrance to the musollah is in the basement. I won’t wax lyrical here about the mosque because you just have to see it for yourself, so so beautiful. Intricate carvings and a garden in the courtyard, similar to the style of Spain’s Alhambra albeit a tiny one.



We walked all the way from The Grand Mosque of Paris to the Notre Dame Cathedral. You’ll also see a bridge with locks, the Pont De l’Archeveche. People from all over the world hang a lock there and throw the key into River Seine, everlasting love they say. The view from the bridge is spectacular though. Entrance is free to the Notre Dame and we spent half an hour sitting quietly inside, in awe of the cathedral’s interior.



Just around the corner, is the Shakespeare And Company bookstore. Man, I loveeeeee this bookstore. I first saw the bookstore in Midnight in Paris and its just as magical as it was portrayed in the movie. I didn’t really want to leave because every nook and cranny was filled with books and there were these comfy old sitting areas on the second floor, if you just wish to pick a book and read. They also have a café just beside the bookstore, so we enjoyed a hot drink and a small slice of cake in the cold.

We continued walking along River Seine until we reached Champs-Élysées. We went twice, in the day and at night. The view is spectacular, a long stretch of road, and at the end, the Arc De Triomphe. So many things to do here. If you’re a fan of LV, here’s the huge flagship store. You can go up the Arc De Triomphe tower to get a clear view of Paris’ skyline, at sunset would be best. Cross the road and stop in the middle to get a photo of you, with the Arc De Triomphe in the background.


Another place I love in Paris is the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. I saw a scene of it in Amelie and I thought, omg a must visit for me. Most of the things I love to see in Paris comes from watching movies and tv series so on our last day in Paris, we walked all the way up from our hotel. Many tourists climb up the Sacré-Cœur Basilica for an even better view of Paris.

Gare Du Nord is another lovely photo taking spot. I love the Blair and Chuck scene here and told Aman, I want a reenactment nyehehe. Gossip Girl fans, do you remember this scene? "It wouldn't be my world, without you in it".

Louvre is another beautiful location as well. The first time I came to Paris, I went to see the Mona Lisa and all the artwork. I couldn't appreciate the artwork and I felt sooooo bored. The second time I went, I didn't bother and Aman wasn't interested to see the Mona Lisa as well, so we gave it a miss. We did not skip taking photos outside the Louvre though. Huge glass pyramid, another architectural beauty.


From the Louvre, we walked all the way to my favourite street, Rue Cambon. Coco Chanel's first store, 21 Rue Cambon and just around the corner, Pierre Herme's macarons.



Transportation wise, if you look at this blog entry, we walked a lot. There were times when we took the subway (you can purchase the subway tickets in bulk so that you don’t have to keep repurchasing), but most of the time, we walked.


Hotel Pax Opera

We also stayed at Hotel Pax Opera as it was convenient to go to the Basilica, shop at Galleries Lafayette and also, a very short distance to Gare Du Nord so it was easier for us to go to the airport. The hotel may be small but the rooms were big and clean. When we were there, they were doing renovations to the hotel’s exterior but other than that, it was great. It was also near to a supermarket, nice and friendly receptionists and walking distance to Galleries Lafayette hehe.
Wow, I wonder how travel bloggers do it. This blog entry took hourssss to finish! :D At the end of the day, the Paris I love may not be the Paris you love. All of us have different interests, hence, there is no copy paste itinerary. I'm just sharing with you what I loved about Paris, hope this helps! 
In my next entry, I will blog about where we shopped and what we ate in Paris! :)

Much love,
Nadya Abd

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