Monday, June 20, 2016

Paris in 4 days

To celebrate the beginning of my school vacation, right after my exam we went to Paris for 4 days. 

Looking for Couchsurfers in Paris & Versailles
That was not easy. Before my trip, I was so busy with my school project, so I didn't have much time to send requests. I did send some in last minutes, but mostly my requests were rejected, because they are busy. 
So what is the solution?

Staying with AirBnb in La Defense

Private room in La Defense

AirBnb is the answer for my case. So one day before my departure, we booked a private room around La Defense. It costs €15 per person per night. Our host family is nice and friendly. They let us to use their kitchen, so we could save our money by preparing food at their place. 

La Defense area reminds me of Sudirman area in Jakarta. Traffic. Full of high modern buildings. It is a major business district of the Paris metropolitan area. There are big malls around here. 

Travelling with bus

Seats in Eurolines
We travelled from Gent (Belgium) to Paris with Eurolines. The ticket costs €9. The bus stop is in front of Gent Dampoort station. The bus was late 10 minutes. And there were traffic in Gent and Paris. We should arrive aroun 12.30, but then the bus arrived in Paris at 13.30.
This is our first time travelling with Euroline bus. The bus itself is okay, but there is no power plugs, while the other busses like Flixbus, Megabus, and Ouibus have. 

Paris with bikes? No way!

My friend who lives in Paris said "Alfi, don't bring your bike, it is not fun biking around Paris." She already warned me long time ago, but still I brought my folding bike to Paris, to save the transportation cost. 
And she is right. It is quite a challenge to bike in the city of light. There are so many cars and also so narrow bike path, at some places they don't even have bikeway. Not just that, it is very difficult to find place to park your bike. For example, we went to Louvre  Pyramid, and we asked the securiy where we could park our bike, and he doesn't know where to park the bike. Same thing happens also when we wanted to visit Eiffel Tower, and we asked the police, and they dont even know where to park the bike! 

First day in Paris: Biking the whole day with bad weather :(
I was so frustrating with Parisian streets. There are so many impatient drivers. Few times the cars behind me gave me loud toot. I wanted to shout at them "Hey, I am biking in the bikeway!" And I saw a scooter driver fall because there was a car that hit the scooter. And everywhere inside Paris is always traffic. 

My bike route in the first day in Paris
This is Lemon Merigue Pie
The Eurolines bus stopt at Bagnolet. There is a mall close to it, so we had kebab and sushi as our lunch. Our plan was to visit Louvre museum, but on that time was already late, because of traffic. So we just visited Louvre from outside, and looking for parking place for our bike, but we didn't find it. So we went to Notre Dame, but there is long queue, and we are not interested to get inside the cathedral. So we decided to eat nitrogen icecream at Nitrogenie. For small cup it costs €5.  
Then we went to Eiffel tower, I didn't go inside, because we couldnt find the place for parking our bike, and once we found it, we had to throw our mineral water to get inside, because it is forbidden. So, we say "No thanks to Eiffel tower". 

On the way to our host place, we stopped at Arc de Triomphe. Oh that round about is always busy with the big busses and cars. Oh Paris, I hate it already, not because of the traffic and pollution, because of the weather also. It was raining, and stopped, and raining again. Nice!

Second day at Versailles

This time we decided not to bring our bike to Versailles. My friend told me that  Versailles is better than Paris if I  want to bike. She is right. When I was in Versailles, I saw many bikers. I didn't bring my bike, because I am afraid I will not find place to park it, and besides the plan is to visit The Chateau, so we didn't need bike. 
From La Defense to Versailles, we took train 30 minutes, it costs €2.50 one way. We arrived at Versailles around 8.30, the Chateau opens at 9. We stopped at a supermarket to buy salad for our lunch, because we know food inside the palace is so expensive. I don't have to buy the ticket, because I have EU resident card and i am still 25, so I just needed to show my ID card to the staff, and they let me in. If you are more than 26 years old, you need to pay €18. 
We visit every places in Versailles. It is impressive! So hug! after the whole day walking inside the palace. My legs were so tired. We came back to Paris at 6pm. 

Third day at Louvre Museum
We were so tired, so we woke up late, and we went to Louvre at 2, after having bento as our lunch. I also don't need to buy the ticket. This is I like about Paris, before you turn 26 it is free to get inside the museums. I couldn't visit all the collection. First we had not enough time, and secondly our legs are still tired from yesterday. So we had 4 hours in total at Louvre. Why it is so huge? :D

At 6 pm, I had appointment with my old friend, Martha. And we both walked around Paris until 10pm. It was very nice to see my old friend. We talked about many things. If you have seen film "Before Sunset", that would describe my day. We walked around Paris and having a conversation nonstop until the sun is gone.

Forth day at La Defense malls 
So before we are leaving La Defense, we had pasta in one of the malls in there. The malls remind me of malls in Jakarta, big, modern, and clean. We needed to wait in the mall because our bus stop is in front of the mall. This time we took Ouibus. This is already few times we travelled with that bus and always comfortable. Internet okay, the bus is always on time, cheap price (from Paris to Lille costs €5), the seat is comfortable, and has power plugs. 

Biking from Lille to Comines
We arrived at Lille. First time I noticed that there is Swiss supporters and France supporters filled the streets everywhere in the center of Lille. And also there are many polices everywhere. 

This is our first time biking in long distance and from France to Belgium. We decided to bike to Belgium from Lille because if we took train will take long and we had to pay like €5. There is a bus which is cheaper, but also take long. The fastest way is by biking and costs nothing, besides our food. So we bike from Lille to Comines, and it took us 1 hour 20 minutes. We nailed it.

So that is it our trip to Paris! 

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