Flashback: First Solo-Trip in Europe to Paris!

On this special date, I’d like to write about a throwback special trip for myself, one of my 2016 highlights – my first semi solo trip to Paris in summer 2016! I say “semi” because I wasn’t 100% alone but I explore all the sightseeings for like 90% alone :p. Since I am just a poor student, of course I traveled to Paris in budget. Well, it might sound not as special as you thought. But it is, for me. First and foremost because I never really imagined  that I could really visit this magical city. Some people were just dreaming to go to Paris one day (and most of them were just keep dreaming on it..) but  for me, it feels like it was so sudden and somehow I was just there. I still have this image a village, kampung kid from Pamulang, Indonesia and then it was like “Hellaww I’m here!” #drama. The city that I know from so many movies and one of my most favorite trilogy; Before Sunset and since then, everytime I watch films that included scenes in Paris I could always shout to my hubby “I WAS THERE! YOU’RE GERMAN AND YOU WERE NEVEN BEEN THERE HAHAHA” that always be answered “unwichtig” by him. Ha!

Duh, Paris so un-original but Paris is always special because Paris is always good idea, quoted Audrey Hepburn.  I traveled to Paris by bus from Bonn and it took almost 10 hours (in which supposed to be 7 hours) because there was a Euro UEFA match in one of stadium in the near of Paris area.  If just I am not in budget, I wouldn’t recommend you to travel around Europe with bus but since the ticket price is most of the time half than any ticket price of train – I don’t have much choices. My very first impression of Paris was…

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“Paris is overrated!” I thought.

I still amused once I arrived at Porte Maillot – Paris bus station. I was left alone because I expected a friend of mine to come to pick me up but since my bus was late, he wasn’t there because he got a fashion show to catch up with (he was covering Paris Fashion Week for CNN Indonesia). So, I walked to the Palais des congrès de Paris (a shopping mall nearby the bus stop) and found a free wifi hotspot. I’ve connected my phone to internet and ask him what should I do to reach the hotel. Long story short, I bought Paris Train Metro Week Pass or Navigo Découverte (this page could help you a lot to find detail about it) and headed up to Gare du Nord since our hotel room located in the same area. I felt so afraid all the way because I don’t speak French – at all and yeah, it’s my very first time in Paris.

Day #1

I’ve arrived safely at the hotel and of course, my very first destination in my very first visit in Paris is… *drumrolls* Eiffel Tower! #yeahright. It was raining, windy summer and I wore sandals #genius but I conquered Paris Metro and went to Trocadéro Metro Station where according to my friend, it’s the best place to see the “it” tower. Here’s the evidence:

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My first Eiffel sight after broke the Paris wind and rain through metro station to others!

 I spent quite a time to get used of Paris metro system and because of it, I don’t really have much time to go somewhere else. Besides, the weather sucks. So, after got stunned by my #lifetimeachievementunlocked moment, I went straight to the hotel, having hot chocolate with my friend and spent the rests of the evening with deep conversations #yea.

Day #2

I explored the mainstream travel list, you named it: Champs-Élysées, Louvre Museum (although I didn’t get in because of the long queue, I just took a few pictures outside, one of them that you can see on my Instagram), drank the most famous l’africain hot chocolate at Angelina, and visited the top of Arc de Triomphe for FREE just because I am 25th years old (under 26th y.o.), an european student and I didn’t need to buy a ticket to get up there :D. Normally people need to pay around 5€ to get up there. You can read more detail on the post’s caption on how I proud I was.

Here’s a glimpse of view from the top of Arc de Triomphe. I didn’t get a chance to get on the top of Eiffel tower because I could not get the ticket online and I don’t feel like to waste my time to be in the line waiting for it. Paris view on top: checked.

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Shopping mile on point. You could (of couse) see the Eiffel tower and Sacre Coeur from here.

The day #2 journey is still quite long. I went to Notre Dame, again I wasn’t inside because of the long queue (I wanted to get grasps of Paris as much as I can), got my first Paris Escargot for lunch as appetizer (taste heavenly!), strolled around Latin Quartier and ended up again in Louvre Museum by feet. I found a hidden gem that made me fell “Oh wow this is Paris” as I stepped in to the Louvre Museum complex and heard street performers played violins and I swore it was one of the most beautiful moments in my life because with such atmosphere, Paris, and they play the instruments in a soo beautiful way -I feel like I can’t ask for more. I visited Palais Royal just to check it out and ended my Olga the Explorer role for the day.

Bonus: my gay friend asked me to hang out with him and his friend to Les Marais. Guessed what – I met a new person who lives in Paris that comes from same village with me; Pamulang! Oh, it was also my first gay bar visit in Paris xD (I was thinking it was also my very first gay bar but no, I was also in a gay bar in Jakarta lol) I am so done with first times (in a good way!). You are what you’ve experienced 😉

Day #3

Day #3 ‘s highlight is Palace of Versailles. The palace is not located in Paris but it is located in Île-de-France region of France. It means, I could not only take the usual metro to get there but also I need to take the region train called RER. The good news is, I don’t need to pay an entrance ticket to get in to the palace (again! Because of same reason: age number) but I need to pay 8€ ticket to get in to the garden – which is super worth it. After spent 2,5 hours in line (that long! First line was on ticket buying and second line was on the way to get in to the palace), I got the chance to see the palace by my own eyes. It’s solo trip, so yeah you could not expect more than a bit selfies here and there :p You can see more Versailles pictures by googling it #yeahthanksveryhelpfful I was so done after spent the whole day dedicated to Versailles visit and decided to go back directly to our Paris apartment to rest.

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Garden of Versailles. That’s why you need to spent one of your whole-day on your Paris trip!

Bonus: View from our apartment – The Boulangerie where we always get our fresh Baguette for breakfast nyam!

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Day #4

This was my last day to have a chance to explore other sightseeings in Paris. This day was also Eid – Idul Fitri, a muslim festive day. The hightlight was embassy of Indonesia in Paris, Eid prayer, Indonesian – Eid cuisine, Eiffel tower (again!), first visit of Paris Fashion Week, Sacre Coeur and Laduree Macaroons that I got from Galeries Lafayette (in which gave me shock therapy once I entered the shop because it was packed with chinese people making loud voices in chinese along with their lot of shopping bags, redeeming their tax, I guess everybody gets brutal when it comes to shop but I wonder was it really only chinese people who shop there?). I am a junkie of first times and very proud of it – I’ll try deep-fried snakes and do bungee jumping if I have a chance for examples, I’ll ever got no problem with it. So that’s why I am always featuring that it was my first time to: did Eid pray in Indonesian embassy, first time Ketupat in Paris and first time to eat Laduree Macaroons (that I used to only see it on my Instagram feed, but it taste only ok. I tried the other one, which tastes better in Belgium in Pierre Marcolini’s Patisserie – to be honest)

Day #5

Nothing to tell here except I spent my whole day in bus from Paris back to Bonn #yikes

It’s been four hours since I started to write this #pfft being dedicated needs a truly hard work. I’ll use this ocassion to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH! to all travel bloggers around the globe, to them who devoted their time to write travel guides, because it is and will never be an easy job. Without them, I will be totally clueless in this trip (and other future trip as well)! For further details and guides, you could browse my Pinterest board down here. I guaranteed that thoses pins would be a marvelous and helpful sources for your first visit to Paris – especially if you’re on budget just like me.

I’d like also to thank my friend to “sponsored” the trip through the accomodation. You can stalk him here while building up your knowledge on fashion. This solo trip means a lot to me. I still remember how insecure I felt at my first time in Brussels, hearing French words in metro, wondering that I wouldn’t be survived alone in the country which speak the language I could not speak. I survived Paris, alone! Don’t you just feel so damn proud by yourself, knowing that you can 100% rely on yourself without permanent internet connection? By good preparation, all things are possible. Most of the time I used free Paris map and metro map that usually given free on some shopping center corners – if you are wondering how I didn’t get lost there.

Until then! I might be write other throwback travel blog as well 😉

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X,

Olga

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