If this were Amazing Race, I would have lost on the first round. I had planned to take the first train from Brussels to Paris at 7:43 am. However, I arrived too late at Leuven station and had to book the next available Thalys train at 8:43 am (Brussels to Paris: 120 Euro!). Unfortunately, I was half asleep going to Brussels and actually missed the Brussels Zuid train stop. This meant I had to get off the next stop 30 minutes away, take another train going back to Brussels station, and rebook my train ticket, before finally making it for the next available trip, which was at 10:15 am. This meant that I arrived at Paris’ famous Gare du Nord just after 12 noon. Upon arriving, I bought a day ticket for the Metro (8 euro) allowing unlimited use of the subway. The race was still on.
Paris’ Metro system is fascinating. There are I think 15-20 lines criss-crossing the city and train stops every other block. The challenge is to find the most efficient way to get from Point A to Point B. This means knowing which combination of train lines and train stations to get to the destination. For this the subway map is indispensable.
Being pressed for time, I just basically went to four places: The Arch of Triumph, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Church and the Louvre.
Paris’ Metro subway can get confusing, but the signs are very helpful:
Tourists lining up the Eiffel’s West Pillar:
Notre Dame Church with its gargoyles on guard:
The obligatory tourist photos 🙂 :