A perfect evening in Paris

Its no wonder that the city of lights looks her best self at night. Paris was the fourth destination of our Euro-trip and to be honest it was not love at first sight. The metro lines were too complex , signboards were mostly in French, and getting from one point to another was not as simple as I found it to be at Amsterdam. But the best thing about Paris is that the city never sleeps , so as a tourist you have all day and all night to explore. And once you start that, you realize why the city has been romanticized to this extent in novels and movies alike. 

Here's the list of what I did and what I could have done (if I knew better), on my first evening at Paris

3:30pm: We took the "Paris Pass" for our 3 day trip to Paris, which gave us free unlimited public transport and free entry to most museums and attractions. 
Read detailed review and cost-benefit analysis of the pass here (jump to the section Travel Cards).

Around 4:30pm we reached Champ De Mars- the huge public park leading to the entrance of Eiffel Tower. A walk down the park is a great way to start the trip- it's a place where you can actually feel the vibe of this city with the locals cycling on the tracks, chirping tourists and vendors selling Eiffel tower souvenirs at really good price. Also, as any tourist we were really excited to see that one thing you have seen in every Paris snapshots- the Eiffel Tower. We purchased the tickets to Eiffel tower summit and thankfully the queue was just about 45 mins long(yes, that's less for peak season).


Seeing the world from the top of Eiffel Tower
The panoramic view of the city from the world's most famous telecommunication tower was just photo-perfect- the square canopies of  trees lining the Champ De Mars, the Sienne river, and all beautiful monuments adorning the landscape of Paris. However, I would rate the panoramic view from the 56th floor of Montparnesse tower over this for one reason - what's a Paris Panorama without the Eiffel Tower in it?

The next on our plan for the evening was the Sienne river cruise, but before that we strolled along the lively banks of the river for a while watching the boats and birds and people - which in itself is one of the best things to do in Paris.

If there's just one thing I could do in Paris, it has to be the Sienne river cruise at evening. We boarded the cruise at around 9 pm when the sun just started to set. You can either sit in the warm cozy restaurant area or go up to the roof and have an experience of a lifetime. The one hour cruise took us on a memorable journey, while the dusk loomed upon the land and the city started to lit up slowly. As you sail along the city you see all the famous buildings that you would have read about - The NotreDame, the Roue De Paris - the big Wheel etc. The fully illuminated Eiffel Tower is a sight to behold, but add to it the five minutes of sparkling  and you have a visual that would stay in with you forever. We were lucky to witness this beauty on our first evening itself from the cruise. Here are some photos we took from the cruise

The Ships that take you to dreams

Glowing Eiffel and the golden pillars of Pont Alexandre bridge, the most beautiful bridge I have walked on

The big wheel of Paris
After this soul-filling experience we returned to our hotel at Montmartre for dinner and resigned for the day. As I said earlier, there's much more that we could do if we knew better- and here's a list of those-

1. Place du Trocadero -Named after the battle of Trocedaro fought in 1823,  this place was built on the hill of Chaillot. The palace that atops this hill was formerly named after Trocadero but now called Palais de Challiot. The large area outside the palace is always in a festive mood with open air performances by dancers and musicians and tourists flocking in to get the breathtaking view of Eiffel Tower from here.

That's me posing at Trocadero
2. Arc De Triomphe - A historic monument raised during the first World War to honor the soldiers who laid their lives for the country. The monument is not only a symbol of patriotism but is a reminder of the inevitable death and destruction due to wars. A candle is lit all the time at the site beneath where people come to pay their respect. During WWII, when Hitler marched with his forces into Germany, he too went around the monument and not between the 2 towers, as a sign of respect. A history lesson I took up from the BigBus audio guided tour :)
Arc De Triomphe is open till 11 pm so, if you are done with your planned activities of the day you can enter the monument and climb up the narrow stairs to the top of the Arc and get another panoramic view of the city. Again, this too for me, trumps the view from Eiffel Tower, both because of its historic significance and the view of Eiffel Tower itself. 
The light that never goes off - beneath ArcDeTriomphe
3. 56th Floor Montparnesse Tower - This is a 689 feet high office building which is the only skyscrapper in Paris (Googled info!). The glass terrace is weather-proofed for all season and offers a clear panoramic view of the city. We went to this place around 11pm at night and experienced the mesmerizing view of the city illuminated at night with its famous landmarks - the Sacre Coir at MontMartre, Arc De Triomphe, NotreDame, the BigWheel and ofcourse The Eiffel Tower which is right opposite. The roof is open till 11:30 pm at night but the restaurant below, which happens to be the highest restaurant in Paris , is probably open even after that. You can't help but notice how exceptionally fast the lift is, so when I later read that this is the fastest elevator in the world I was not surprised at all. We ate at an Indian Restaurant , about 5-minute walking distance from here- fantastic food at really affordable rates

City of Lights at its best - view from Montparnesse tower 
4. Walk down the street of MontMartre in the after hours
We were put up at IBIS styles hotel at MontMartre, but it wasn't until our last night at Paris till we discovered that it was just 7 minutes away from the famous Moulin Rouge. Walk down the street for great food, take picture of the red windmill and try not to notice the sex shops and strip clubs lined along the street 😜😈. We had a fulfilling dinner at an Indian restaurant here too. Great way to end an evening well spent!
Glamorous, sinful Moulin Rouge
These for me are the top experiences for a perfect evening or evenings in Paris (for a tourist of course). What do you think about it? A little too much for an evening or a little too less? Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section.
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