Europe Trip – Hotel, Paris Metro/Bus ride & Seine River Cruise

This is our day 2 in Europe and Day 1 in beautiful city Paris.

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Day 2

After going through all the trouble at Paris Nord and Paris Metro station near to Pairs Nord we finally reached our hotel all thanks to Uber. (If you have not read my previous blog do read it here)

For our 3 night 4 days stay in Paris we have booked MERCURE PARIS BOULOGNE APARTHOTEL. It’s an apartment hotel where you get a small kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave, ceramic hotplate, dishwasher. Safe, television, telephone, Wi-Fi. Bathroom with bathtub and hair dryer.

MERCURE PARIS BOULOGNE APARTHOTEL

kitchenette with hotplate, sink, dishwasher & small fridge

We choose apartment hotel due to 2 reasons one and major one was our daughter, as she was only 1.6-year-old, so we need to make food for her second in a medium long trip of 10 days we don’t want to eat outside junk food both the time. Eventually save some money 😊

MERCURE PARIS BOULOGNE APARTHOTEL
Small area with wardrobe and a small ottoman

We really didn’t cook full meals but cooking B/F as it was not included in the booking and dinner which was mostly a ready to eat Indian meal like pre-cooked rice, dal, pulao, chole etc.

MERCURE PARIS BOULOGNE APARTHOTEL
Bathroom w/o bath tub

Mercure is a mid scale brand of hotels b/w 3 & 4-star properties run by its parent company AccorHotels, a French multinational corporation.

MERCURE PARIS BOULOGNE APARTHOTEL
Our room for next 3 nights

Our’s was an around 32m sq. room with a double bed and 1 sofa bed. Bed was comfortable with lights on both the side of the bed, a small shelve on the full wall behind the bed to keep the things like phone, wallet etc.

MERCURE PARIS BOULOGNE APARTHOTEL
Small Dinning table

There’s a small dinning table places beside the wall in the kitchenette, space after you enter the room where we can keep the stroller and other stuff, one wardrobe to store all the luggage and one small stool.

MERCURE PARIS BOULOGNE APARTHOTEL
Sofa cum bed with storage and TV above it.

There is a storage cabinet above the sofa cum bed and beside it was a small TV. This storage was very useful during our stay as we kept all our raw/ready to eat food item there.

These was a big window on one of the walls, our room was a front room, so we could see the front road. This hotel is in the quitter residential area, sometimes it was nice to open the window and let the fresh air in.

So, after reaching and settling down, relaxing a bit after a tiring Metro run we went out as today evening we had our Seine river cruise.

Beautiful art on one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris – Pont Alexandre III

Deliberately we have opted for evening time as that time we can see the beautiful monuments in the day light and witness the beauty of Paris in the artificial lights.

To travel locally in Paris, you have metro & bus. Regular ticket cost 1.90 or say 2 Euro if you purchase per ride but there is a little cheaper option i.e. ‘Carnet’ which is a book of 10 tickets cost 16 Euro.

Seine River, Paris
Beautiful Seine

At Nord Station the machines through which we can buy Carnet was not accepting international credit card, but at other station it worked.

You can take help from local people there, they are helpful.

Green Metal Bridge, there is a metro line 6 above the roads

With the help of Google Maps, we found that we can take direct bus from a stop near to our hotel directly to the center where all the attractions are. So, there is no changing metro, no climbing stairs, we were very happy 😊😊

For the next 4 days we only used Bus, well most of the time say 95% as once you reach the centre then you must walk…walk…walk & walk… Saying it again stroller and baby carrier is a must if you have small kid(s).

Cour De Cassation, Paris

If one doesn’t want to walk then there is an option of Hop on Hop off bus, in these buses you can ride full day on a single ticket. You can Hop off at any attraction on their specific route visit the place and then Hop on again in the next bus to go to another attraction.

Seine River, Paris
Sunset time at Seine

We have done our booking from Vedettes du Pont Neuf after going through review of different service providers at different platforms. Normal ticket w/o any add on would cost maximum 14 Euros pp.

Vedettes du Pont Neuf
Washroom at the boarding point for the cruise, it was clean
Vedettes du Pont Neuf
Outside front sitting area on the boat

The boats are quite big and have 2 type of sitting options one is in open on the top and second is close below it.

Vedettes du Pont Neuf
Open sitting area on the roof
Vedettes du Pont Neuf
Entry for the roof

The tour is of 1 hour with live commentary informing about the monuments and places that are covered during the tour. If you choose the evening tour which might end up in late evening or night, then you can witness the beautiful monuments and bridges in night light.

Art on one of the bridges out of many bridges in Paris
Sailing on the Seine, Paris

It’s all Altogether a different experience in artificial lights. It’s amazing experience sailing in the Seine river.

This concludes our first day in Paris.

Stay tuned for more updates and details of the coming days in Pairs.

Note - All the pictures are from our trip taken by us.

Europe Trip – Emirates, Schiphol Amsterdam & Thalys

Day -1 & 2

(This is going to be a series of Blogs of my 10 days Europe trip, please be patient as these blogs might be lengthy as I want to provide as much information to help someone in their trip 😊)

The whole trip was planned by us which includes lots n lots of research, on call discussing with each other where to go what to see, how to go etc. many hours spent burning our eyes in laptop screen.

After all the hard work we really enjoyed and created some amazing memories. There is this amazing site and app inspirock which will help you to plan your itinerary.

This will tell you each and everything like how far the place is from each other how to go how much time to spend, how much spare time you have etc. This was great help in planning our trip.

It was March end of 2018 when I landed in Amsterdam, Netherlands, travelled through Emirates airline. It’s a 1 stop flight with around 1.30 hours of layover in Dubai.

After landing in Dubai to go to your connecting flight’s departure gate you must go through security check. This could take time as many people will be coming to same place to go to their respective gates.

If time permits, then you can relax and enjoy some food and drinks in Marhaba Lounges in Dubai Airport with your Priority Pass membership. Priority Pass is a program which provided Lounge access to its members across the world.

There are some premium credit cards that too provide International lounge access like HDFC Bank Diners Club card.

This was my first solo flight with my daughter, who was around one and half year old. Few points I want to mention which will be helpful if you are traveling alone with baby.

 1) Always carry some healthy food for your baby as they don’t provide baby food below 2 years

 2) Baby carrier is must as you must check in stroller while boarding and will get back once you reached your destination. Check my post on baby carriers for more details.

 3) Limit your hand luggage as with baby it’s hard to manage with heavy luggage

 4) Flight staff was helpful. So, feel free to ask for any help needed

After landing in Amsterdam and clearing the immigration’s, me and my little daughter came out and looked for hotel shuttle service. Hotels near to Schiphol, Amsterdam provide shuttle service which is free of charge to pick and drop their guest.

The frequency of this service depends from hotel to hotel and what time of day but mostly it is in every 30 min.

I stayed in NH Hotel Schiphol, it’s nice big hotel with lot of facilities present in it. I just stayed there for a night so didn’t use any of the facilities like gym, indoor heated swimming pool etc.

The room was quite cozy and of good size, you can even request for a kid’s cot w/o any extra charge. Check in and check out was smooth as we have already paid the charges.

Earlier you book cheaper it is and if you go online payment with Zero refund option then it is cheaper than the full refund option. So, it’s better early you decide, might get good deal in full refund option.

We were little late in planning as we were planning with my brother & sister in law who were supposed to join us from London. Ours was 128 Euros + 7.30 Euros in city tax.

Where ever you go in Europe city tax is charged additionally and needs to be paid either at the time of check in or check out in cash or card.

Next day took train from Schiphol to Paris Nord. Our tickets were in Thalys First Class. Full train journey was covered in just 3 hours.

Train ticket prices also increased as the journey date comes closer. Our ticket price for 2 adults was 190 Euros. So, if you are planning a trip by your selves then finalize soon and book everything to save some money.

First class of Thalys is quite amazing and can be more amazing if you can get the single seats. So basically, in first class coach the seat layout is 2×1. Seats are comfier and broader and recline a little then the one in economy class.

Other benefits of first class are like – free faster WiFi with more data, paper & magazines, there lounge access, priority boarding etc.

There are attendant in each first-class coach, they will great you at the station and might help with luggage (depends on person to person). A  separate space to keep your luggage and it is there at the start of each coach.

In 3 hour of journey we were served 2 times, yes you read it right there is free food or say included in ticket price of first class. As ours was morning 9.34 AM train so we were served, B/F and small snack.

In B/F we got a multi grain bun, sugar coated puff,delicious cake, fruit, juice, yogurt. It was nice tasty and makes you full. 1hour before the scheduled time to reach Paris Nord, we were served some snack.

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It was delicious chocolate cake, with drink of your choice like, juice, tea, coffee or wine. The trains in this part of the world are very punctual. They come on time, depart on time, the highest speed that I saw on the display was more than 250Km/hr.

After this amazing journey we finally reached my dream destination – PARIS.

Reaching our hotel from Paris Nord was a big task and took us more than 1 hour to figure out how to reach there, which metro to take, which direction to go etc.

Believe me Paris metro stations are not at all stroller friendly. These stations are very old, and they have lots and lots of stairs. It was very difficult for us to climb up and down with stroller, heavy suitcase and bag with small kid.

So finally, after lot of struggle we finally book Uber 😊 and it was costly ☹. We paid 22.5 Euros and finally reached our hotel.

Stay tuned for more details in my second blog like hotel we stayed, places we visited with some amazing pics 😊

Note - All the pictures (except one) are from our trip taken by us.