Day 616: Preparing for Paris

Eiffel Tower
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

In terms of working life, I am now free as a bird. This is a nice way to say “unemployed”. Actually, I am waiting to hear back from all those places where I applied. I have (almost) stopped scrolling through job offers on LinkedIn. I guess it’s already enough. Now I simply need to wait and see what comes out of it. And I am not really unemployed. I do have a small business to run and I have spent quite a lot of hours creating an e-shop for our website. Will be selling high-quality supplements quite soon! But yeah, I do not yet have that “proper” job. The one that would pay for my dreams. Because some of my dreams require lots and lots of money.

We are Going to Paris!

Anyhow, in a week we shall land in Paris. A long awaited and (hopefully) deserved holiday. As usual, I have used all of my cleverness and tricks to get the best price on flight tickets. We will be going to Bath as well to house sit for one family (one dog, one cat). I couldn’t resist that offer! Free living in Bath! Yes! For the ones who don’t know my academic history: in 2011-2012 I studied at Bath Spa university. Of course I am excited to return to that beautiful city. A fun fact: I learned some French (2 months) while in Bath. It was super hard because I was learning French in English. I was dealing with two foreign languages at a time. Anyhow, flight tickets for one person on the route Tallinn-Stockholm (just 1 hour there)-Paris-Bristol (no airport in Bath)-London-Tallinn were slightly less than EUR 180. I call it a good deal.

Booking the attraction tickets

Today, I am looking at the different attractions and buying some tickets. No way will we be queuing for ages or paying higher price just because I didn’t take a moment to buy online. Nope. Paris is popular and it also turned out that I can’t get all the tickets I wanted. Like access to the very top floor (summit) of the Eiffel Tower. Will have to do with the 2nd level only. Yes, some things have already been sold out. Quick Google search showed me that many companies sell tickets to the attractions we would like to visit. However, they also charge a booking fee. Something like EUR 3 per ticket. This is already EUR 6 for 2 tickets and it does sum up if you want to visit different places. My advice on this? Go directly to the attraction’s website, switch the language to English (unless you speak French!) and book the tickets there. Read through all the options and maybe also check Tripadvisor before buying a ticket. Maybe some places look astonishing even only from the outside (like Stonehenge, there’s really no need to go in and pay).

Below are some of the places, for which I have booked the tickets. Note that it will be our very first time in Paris, so we are doing all the dumb touristic stuff.

Eiffel Tower

How could you go to Paris and not go inside the Eiffel Tower? I definitely cannot! The tower is open from 9am until after midnight, so you can visit either in daylight, during sunset or in the dark. I chose to book tickets for 8pm. Maybe there will be some pretty dusk views. Maybe. When buying the tickets, you can choose between going only to the 2nd level, 116 metres from the ground, either via stairs or lift. The lift, of course, is more expensive. You could also go to the very top, 276 metres from the ground and possibly with stunning views. We are not going. Tickets for the top floor were already sold out. Sad. I would really have liked to go. But it also saves us EUR 9 per person. We shall be going to the 2nd floor, via stairs, €10.2 per face. You can get the tickets here. Fortunately, the tickets are mobile-friendly, no need to print them out. Huge win! The one thing I didn’t like was that I had to register on the site. Another user account somewhere online? I definitely didn’t need that. On the other hand, might come handy if I somehow lost the ticket e-mail or the file I downloaded. Which is, in fact, highly unlikely!

Arc de Triomphe

At first, I thought that the Arc de Triomphe was something that you would only look at from afar. You know, to grasp its entirety. And afterwards, you might just walk under it or something. Turns out that you can also pay to get on top of it. Hmmm, do I want it? It is 284 steps to the top, no problem for us, obviously. I do love climbing high. But is there anything worth to see? Quick Google search showed me that the views from the top are quite fine. Some people even consider them better than those from the Eiffel Tower. Hmm. I already have the tower tickets, do I need yet another high place to visit? Oh, the Eiffel Tower can also be seen from the Arc, so maybe it is worth it. Checked with my husband. He said that if the price was somewhere between €10-15, we could go. The price is €12 per person, so yes, we are going. Oh yes, we are so tourists. Once again, tickets mobile-friendly but you do need to register on the website as a user. What a bother. Upon registering, I could choose whether I wanted to be called a “Lady” or a “Miss”. Hah! Guess this makes up for the bothersome registration. However, I certainly didn’t tick that box that would allow them to start sending my newsletters and other marketing crap.

Louvre Museum

After having watched the entire season of the Genius TV show (National Geographic) which focused on Picasso, we knew we wanted to visit Louvre. Not because we admired Picasso too much. As a person, he was kind of annoying. But he did create some amazing pieces, which might not look pretty (he tried to find the ugliness in beauty) but are nevertheless part of history. The website of Louvre says that the museum is extremely busy and tickets should be bought in advance. Fine by me! It’s closed on Tuesdays, and we are staying in Paris from Monday to Wednesday, so there isn’t too much choice either. Not everything is open, the museum is undergoing renovation works. For instance, the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition is unavailable but the Mona Lisa has been displayed in another room.

From the website, the general admission tickets are €17 per person. If you buy from some other company, they will add a booking fee, around €3 or so. Which is so unnecessary, it’s easy to book directly from the museum’s site! Do book, the available dates and times were disappearing right when I was staring at them. I am glad I even got 2 tickets for Wednesday evening! Some time slots only had 1 ticket available, etc. Another registration process follows (yet another hard to remember password generated by Google) and you even have to fill in the names of the visitors as if that was important… oh, maybe it is? By the way, their payment page looks downright ugly and you cannot click your way back to he museum website once the ticket has been bought. UX issues, I would say. Anyway, you can get the tickets here.

If you want to get inside the Louvre for free, go on the first Saturday of each month between 6pm to 9.45pm. Possibly, there will be queues! We tried the same in Madrid where we stayed for several weeks in March 2016 (our own training camp) and visited the Prado art museum during free admission time. The queues outdoors were enormous!

tickets – done!

I guess 3 paid attractions is sufficient for our 3 days in Paris. Obviously, there will be lots of walking around. Or strolling. Or what was that French word that Lonely Planet wrote about: flaneur? Slow walking, really taking in your surroundings. Will do that.

At home, I sorted through my pile of Lonely Planet magazines and took out the ones that include something on Paris. Will be collecting and sharing ideas from those as well! Stay tuned!

How does the Trip Benefit my Goals?

This blog was put up with the intention to track my process within 1,00 days while I try and achieve 3 major goals. I gave up the daily reports because they were simply boring but I guess it is time to come back to the goals every once in a while. At least, I should remind myself of them! Travelling is one of my favourite activities and it fills me with motivation. When I am happy, I am much better at edging close to my goals. Here are some thoughts how Paris could improve my life:

  • Paris is supposedly a paradise for writers. So many creative minds have unleashed their creating powers in Paris. This could be the place where I start writing again. I do have some exciting ideas!
  • With all that job hunting and waiting for the replies, it is actually great to get away from it all. In a city as beautiful as Paris seems to be, I can forget about the hunt and finally relax. I do believe that once we get back to Estonia, I have a much clearer idea what will happen to me in September.
  • So many opportunities to take pretty photos and write some informative posts. Good for my Instagram account and this blog as well. Let’s breathe some life into this place!
  • In terms of running… it will be a post-halfmarathon week, so not much training planned.

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