Imagine waking up to views of Eiffel tower while your day and empty stomach are just waiting to be filled. My morning raison de’etre was neither, but exploring Paris in 6 hours.
Baguette, D’ecole, Francais, are some of the many words that still run on my mind every time people talk about their visit to Paris.
While growing up, a language different from the rest of the monotonous subjects was French and yes, this is where I, rigorously, went on a visual vagabond to Paris much at an early age of 15-16 years summing up mountains of speculation over the years that Paris is a dreamland that appears only in the Chronicles of Narnia.
Paris, capital to France, portrays a self-image as if its a country of its own , an ultimate romantic place. As much as I’am reluctant to confess that in two week of our Europe trip, it was quite inflexible to consider taking too much time on one country, ofcourse before a confirmation on the Switzerland and Austria travels. Nevertheless, we did manage Paris without much of a skepticism and in a more rather wicked manner, this was the first European city I had been to. Speaking of which, we traveled Air France Bangalore to Rome with a 6 hour layover in Paris.
So what do you see in 6 hours? You can’t question that to someone whose dreamt of visiting the city since those high school french books. I knew the names of every nook and corner in those tourist areas – from Arc De Triomphes to the glamourous champs de Elsees. Let’s not forget the architecture, food and the fashion city it is known for.
Tip 1: Hop On and Hop Off to cover Paris in 6 hours
You’re probably already wondering ‘hmm na, I’ll pass, I’ll just take a cab so I could cover more of Paris in 6 hours’ , BUT why miss out on the Parisian experiences itself while you are there. The hop on hop off bus is similar to a public transport and whats more local about a place than its own transport systems. This bus though comes a bit more luxurious catering to tourists – where they are offered ear phones to hear engaging commentary about all the tourist attractions in Paris. Maps are provided on-site so basically you will be saving time by hopping off an attraction that you probably want to explore in- depth and hoping on back to the bus to move on the next big attraction.
Tip 2: Plan a Layover in Paris on a Weekday
Why? Let’s say you want to explore Louvre or Musee D’Orsay, it’s free entry on Sundays (October to March), which also means the crowd can get overwhelming and slow down your touring time. You need atleast 3 hours to admire the art so maybe plan ahead on what you want to see and when.
Tip 3: Skip the Boat Cruise and instead climb the Eiffel tower to explore Paris in 6 Hours
You probably dreamt about taking the boat cruise from the Eiffel tower but its not really possible if you only have 6 hours layover in Paris.
There is always a long queue for Eiffel tower tickets so instead take some pics from angles that gives you some great views and quickly move on to the next sightseeing in Paris.
Tip 4: Don’t be a Victim to Pick pocketing
Its probably not so known but pick pocketing is a scene in Paris. Carry backpacks and handbags close enough always zipped up and avoid keeping cash in your pockets. The last thing you’d want is to lose money and passport and leaving with a bad experience or spending more than 6 hours in Paris solving the issue (although thats not a bad idea).
Tip 5: Grab a Nice Lunch
Don’t feel guilty about taking some time to have a nice 2 course meal at a cafe/restaurant close by a popular landmark so you can order away and then go check out the attraction while you’re foods’ getting ready. You can either dine in (prefer outdoors) or do a take away and set up a picnic in the nearby Parisian parks. Believe me even people watching is a thing to do in Paris.
Tip 6: Ensure Baggage is sent to Final Destination
When you’re trying to make the most use of your 6 hour layover, you wouldn’t want to bother doing a re-checkin or lugging around the luggage during your sightseeing. I’ve heard some people have mixed experiences at Charles De Gaulle airport in terms of inefficiencies in custom/ security screening which sometimes takes over 2 hours.
Take a cab from the airport to any of the landmarks based in your budget and start a bus tour from there. The hop on hop off bus provides a pass that can be used at any time during the day. They stop at 10 popular landmarks. Consider even walking a bit to explore the city a bit more closely.
Things to see in Paris
There are so many things to see and do in Paris but I’m going to mention only those that suit the itinerary of a visitor planing to explore Paris in 6 hours.
The Eiffel Tower
Named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel tower has 3 levels for visitor access. The first and second levels have restaurants and the top level has an observation deck – about 906 ft above ground. Visitors can choose to either take the stairs or the lift to the all levels.
The louvre is an art museum located at the right bank of the Siene. Although you’re bound to see something cool, some of the most popular pieces are Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and the Venus de Milo.
Musee D’ Orsay
Musee D’ Orsay has the world’s largest collection of impressionist pieces bu Van Gogh and Monet. Guided tours of the museum are offered everyday.
Notre-dam is a gothic cathedral known for its French Gothic architecture. Some of its highlights are the stained glass and the rose windows and the tower.
Arc de Triomphe
In my 6 hours in Paris, Arc de Triomphe was one of the most eminent attraction I had seen. Its intricate inscriptions of the names of all French victories gets all tourists stop, look and wonder. The tomb of a Victorian soldier from World War 1 lies beneath the arcs vault.
These are just some of the popular attractions that will make your trip well worth – it sure was for me.
Have you visited any points of interests not mentioned here? Let me know in the comments below.