The Paris Pass, at about 115 Euros per head, is a great deal if you can move around quite a bit to cover the places in a two day time frame. It covers all major museums and the Versailles Palace. It also covers the hop-on, hop-off bus tour that is very convenient and traveler-friendly and all public transportation. I would highly recommend this pass especially if you are travelling with adults only. With children, the overall pace will be slower and you might not be able to take advantage, so evaluate your options. The pass also provides you fast-track access to attractions.
Our first stop on the second day in Paris was the Opera House. They had a tour of the Opera House that was included with the pass. However, we came to know that the English conducted tour was not until 2:30 PM. So we decided to come back another day to a star attraction. While the Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour is included in the Paris Pass, you have to collect tickets to the bus at a bus stop. It took us 15 minutes of walking to find the place. The bus covers attractions within the city of Paris and Versailles was out of the limits. We were on a bus headed to the Palace and it was a 45 minute ride.
On the stop for the Palace, we walked into the outskirts of the palace where there were about 50 or so antique cars lined up outside the palace. The Palace itself was deep down the horizon and there were thousands of people in front. The line was already long and I had heard it is nearly a 90 minute wait. It didn’t take that long to get to the counter. With an Audio guide each, we soon were on the way to a show of ostentatiousness to the maximum. Already I was awestruck at the amount of gilded gates and windows. It is mesmerizing to see the display of such grandeur. Every nook and corner of the palace boasts some form of art or other. Louis XIV established his court here in 1682, but the ground work for the palace began around 1624. The palace was the venue for the historic Versailles treaty in 1919 that ended the First World War. The
cost of building the palace is roughly estimated at $2 dollars. We finished the tour in about 90 minutes just gleaming our sights on the priceless artwork and artifacts. You would wonder why ever a human being would need to live in such grandeur. The gardens of the palace are an attraction by itself, but you need more than ½ a day at the palace if you want to savor every bit of it.
All the walking that started in the morning was having a toll on us and we were dead tired by 4 PM and didn’t have the energy to hunt for a place for food. Knowing there was a Chipotle near the hotel, we headed back towards it. Heading back is no simple thing either – a 45 minute bus ride and a couple of stops on the subway followed by a five minute walk. Chipotles in the US are much consumer friendly and far less expensive than the one we ate at in Paris. But any food was welcome to hungry appetites. After managing an hour’s nap and grabbing some refreshments, we were back on the streets of Paris exploring. Our destination was the Sacre-Coeur, Paris. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is a Roman Catholic Church located at the highest point in Paris. It is a structure clearly visible from the Eiffel tower. This astounding piece of human work must be on every tourist’s itinerary. Words cannot describe the beauty that lies inside what is a monumental monument to Jesus Christ. From groundbreaking in 1874, the completion took 39 years. Vikas had heard of the Basilica in one of his history classes as a must-see and we were glad we managed to. Getting there was easy enough by train – you get off at the Abbesses station. However, at the train station itself we had to climb nearly 100-120 steps and that was an indication of things to come. You might want to look for that elusive elevator that evaded us as it isn’t right on the level of the platforms. After getting out of the station, we were presented with the daunting task of climbing another 150 or so steps as the Basilica is at the highest point in the city. In fact, there is a bus that takes you there but we learnt the hard way. At least getting back, we didn’t break a sweat as we took the bus and then the elevator down to the platforms.