Easyjet

Vacation Getaway: Mykonos, Greece

991875_10152888512640032_103821162_oFor my 21st birthday last June, I decided to spend all my savings and spend my special week in the Greek Islands with one of my closest friends. I want to share how we decided to spend a week in paradise on a Student/Young Adult’s Budget.

 

992084_10152890771500032_1681640773_oMy friend from North America booked last minute tickets (like a two weeks before my birthday) and flew to Manchester, England where I met him. His flight cost $400 from Toronto (YYZ) to Manchester direct with Air Transat. This is my first tidbit of advice. Never fly directly to your vacation destination, especially when a direct flight to the greek islands could cost double or triple that price! Heck, make a trip to London from Manchester, since $400 is such a bargain to explore more of that side of the world. I always suggest looking at skyscanner.com when comparing flights! You can get a flight from Manchester to Mykonos for under $300 with EasyJet.com during the summer time! So instead of forking over $1500+ to go to the Greece islands, take a detour with two flights for only $700. BAM! Much savings.

 

HOSTEL

We arrived early June for the best beach weather a Canadian could ever ask for. We stayed at an amazing hostel that was close to the popular spot on the island for shopping, drinking, clubbing, eating, and a beautiful water view. Our hosts at the hostel were the nicest people I have ever stayed with. I highly recommend you stay at Villa Vasilis if you choose to stay at a hostel in Mykonos. Maria and her husband will pick you up from the airport and drive you back as well. They were very accommodating and two of the sweetest people I have met. My friend’s also recommend Mama’s Pension for another awesome hostel.

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Just a 30 mins walk or 3 mins quad bike down to the water front


991114_10152890776600032_845428882_oTRANSPORTATION


My friend and I decided to rent a quad bike (Four-wheeler) for 15 euros a day by a bike shop down by the beach which was the cheapest and easiest way to get around the island. If you plan to explore the big island of Mykonos, which I highly suggest you do, then rent a quad bike from one of the many rental places.

To travel to the other greek Islands (Santorini, Crete, etc.), then travel by boat cruise as this seems to be the cheapest way around the many islands. They can take up to 1-3 hours depending on what island you want to go to. And as always, it’s always cheaper to get a return ticket as oppose to one-way, unless you plan to island hop!

 

                                                         BEACHES

mykonosWe spent most of our time on the beaches relaxing, drinking, and basking in the sunshine overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The two main beaches closest to our accommodation were Paradise Beach (Kalamopodi) and Super Paradise Beach (Plintri). Both beaches attract young crowds due to its 24 hour music and its day and night parties. Beware that there are parts of the beach that are nudiest friendly, so don’t be afraid if you start seeing young or old people laying on the beach without clothes on. Brace yourself if you are new to the whole european experience and maybe try something you’ve never been able to experience in your home country. It can be liberating. We also rode our quad bike to Elia, which tamer with a more mature crowd and quieter.

The sand was a little bit more rougher, and felt like unnatural sand. However, it was still a great place to rest and relax. Afterwards, we checked out the beaches on the other side of the island. We were recommended to check out Panormos and I’m glad we stopped, because it was my favourite beach of them all. Loud music and partying is fun, but relaxing by a more secluded lake surrounded by tall landscapes made it the most relaxing beach we went too. Panormos was definitely more family-friendly as no one there was nude (at least I don’t think).

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10174234_10154010102825032_1075981192_o2013-06-08 15.36.29 EATING

Honestly, because we both wanted to save money on food, my friend and I either bought food from the grocery stores, or ate the most delicious gyros I have ever eat for like 3 euros (lunch & dinner – they were that good).

On the other hand, there’s also amazing Greek Salads or fresh seafood from a variety of restaurants by the waterfront.

However, just keep in mind in your budget as most of a traveller’s money goes towards expensive tastes and alcohol.

 

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One of my personal highlights of Mykonos was their shopping district that was open from early afternoon until 2am when drunk people leave the clubs. That’s right. You heard me. Louis Vuitton is open extremely late, among other ritzy stores, in Mykonos; way past what us North Americans would consider normal store hours. Basically, many stores would still be open until the early morning when you wanted to leave a club, because many drunk people would want to buy things intoxicated, and probably have regrets the next morning with that hangover and visa bill for those Louis Vuitton shoes that don’t actually fit you. So be careful if you do plan to drink. Don’t shop when you are intoxicated.

 

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The Most Beautiful Sunsets

If you are a fan of sunsets, then Mykonos will become your favourite place in the entire world. The sunsets around the Greek Islands are by far the most beautiful sunsets I have, or ever will see. The Greek Islands are still my #1 Top Choice for Best Sunsets unless I get proven otherwise. Therefore, if you get those feels when you are watching a sunset over the Mediterranean Sea while you are sitting on a patio drinking your favourite cold beverage, then visit Mykonos.

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Honestly, If I was going to recommend anyone who is looking for a completely relaxing, yet exciting vacation in Europe on a budget, then I would without a doubt choose the Greek Islands; making your first stop in Mykonos.

~Ryan

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Categories: Blog, Easyjet, Greece, Greek Islands, Holidays, Summer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paris for Tourists: 10 Things to Do and See in Paris, France

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Many of my international friends will be visiting Paris and have asked for my personal recommendations of things to do and see in short amount of time while in the city of love.

Here are the following recommendations that I would suggest for people to make time to visit and experience; most of which are free, or in this case, the price of a 1,70 euro metro ticket. If you will be using the metro during the time you are in Paris to get around (instead of walking), I would advise travellers to save money by purchasing 10 pack of tickets for 12.70€ (trust me, this is the best way to save about 5,00€)

IMG_33561) The Eiffel Tower

Personally, the Eiffel Tower is one of my favourite places (and probably the most visited place in Paris) along with establishing itself as the most symbolic and global icon of Paris. Standing at 320 metres tall, the Eiffel Tower is absolutely stunning to witness in person; a night or during the day. After taking a vast amount of photos in front the tower, I highly recommend climbing IMG_3509the horrendous amount of stairs to the very top. Climbing the Eiffel Tower was on my bucket list, and for those who are able to do so, I recommend it. Also, it’s cheaper to climb at a ticket price of 3,50€ compared to the higher price (and lengthy wait) of taking the escalator.

2) Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile)

One of the most famous monuments in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France IMG_3501in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. While the Arc de Triomphe is one of those historical monuments that is a MUST SEE, you can walk along the Champs-Elysées, which is filled with ritzy stores like Mercedes-Benz and Louis Vuitton. The street is absolutely beautiful at night, especially around Christmas, with all the lights lit up for the season. Take the metro to Charles de Gaulle étoile.

3) Jardin des Tuileries

Located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries is one of the most visited gardens in Paris; this is for many reasons, but one reason is that it is absolutely alluring. Take a walk through the gardens either on your way to the Eiffel Tower or after you visited La musée de Louvre.

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4) The Musée du Louvre

There are two museums that I strongly recommend visiting and the Musée du Louvre is one of them. Not only is Louvre a historic monument, it is also one of the world’s largest museums. You could literally spend a whole day in there; it’s that large. Not only do the contain interesting and unique exhibitions, but it also holds one of the most famous paintings: The Mona Lisa. Beware of pick-pocketers, and the massive amount of people surrounding specific paintings, especially the miniature-sized painting of Mona. Also, if you are a EU student (this excludes exchange students from outside the EU) then you get free admission. Just bring your passport and student card.

5) Musée d’Orsay

My second recommendation for museums (if you’re interested in going to them) would be the Musée d’Orsay. This museum is located opposite of the Musée du Louvre just over the Seine River. This museum is cheaper than Musée du Louvre, but a lot smaller, and more specific with the art that is showcased. At the time that I went, they had an amazing exhibition on Impressionism and Fashion, and was well worth seeing. Check the website to see upcoming exhibitions at the time that you plan to visit. Again, admission is free if you are an EU student.

IMG_35276) Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre

Take the metro to Anvers (near funiculaire de montmartre) to see the beautiful Basilica Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre.

There are lots of souvenir shops in this area as you walk towards the hill where the basilica resides. You will have to walk the many steps to get to the top, but it’s worth it once I see the view of Paris from the top of the stairs. The view of Paris is the main reason to come here, but also, the Basilica is incredibly IMG_3567well-designed and beautiful. Beware of men trying to stop you and asking you to hold out your hands. They will begin to make a bracelet from you and will ask you to make two payments for the bracelet; one to them, and one to their boss. Sketchy.

7) Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris

No there is no hunchback that lives in the Notre Dame (as Disney has made us believe), however, the Cathédrale is absolutely awe-inspiring and massive; IMG_3518a must-see for all tourists. The architecture and style of the structure is phenomenal, inside and out. It is free to visit, although highly suggested that you make a contribution through a purchase of a tea-lite candle that you can light and place among the many that are in memory of individuals or general blessings.
8) Père Lachaise Cemetery

If you a fan of literature or have a love for famous writers, poets, philosophers, artists or other historical individuals, then look no farther and visit the grave sites of many famous individuals at Père Lachaise Cemetery. It is the largest cemetery I have ever seen and walked through, and is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris. From Eugène Delacroix to Oscar Wilde, Père Lachaise Cemetery contains many graves of famous and historical individuals, and is non-touristy place to visit.

IMG_37709) Angelina’s (Cafe)

To save on meals and general food while in Paris, avoid the costly restaurants and cafe’s, and look to buy food from markets or food stores. However, on the last day in Paris, I wanted to splurge a little and wanted to experience a really nice French cafe. I was recommended by a friend to visit Angelina’s cafe on Rue de Rivoli, and after a visit there, I must say, it was an overall great experience. The food was great (and fancy) and the hot chocolate was to die for. If you’re a fan of chocolate (like pure liquid chocolate), then look no farther than the chocolatest hot chocolate you will ever have. Although the price of Angelina’s famous ‘African’ hot chocolate could give you a heart attack (with all the rich chocolatiness, it just might), the price was worth trying it and relaxing in an exquisite furnished and classy french atmosphere.

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10) The Love Bridge of Paris

Walking along the Seine River, you will find various bridges flourishing with multi-coloured & multi-purpose “love” locks detailing a couple, a friendship, or relationships. for 3 euros, you can buy a lock from a man who makes his income of the purchase of the locks, and write down your name, and that of a lover. By writing your names and anniversary date, you can lock the love lock on the bridge, throw away the key into the river, and have the lock symbolize each others’ enduring
passion for one another. It’s quite romantic, in a way.

~

TO AND FROM PARIS (AIRPORT & METRO INFO)

If you are traveling to the Charles De Gaulle airport (Easyjet), take the metro (RER A) into Paris at a ticket price of 9,25€. If you are traveling to the Paris Beauvais Tille Airport (Ryanair), there is a shuttle bus that will take you to Neuilly-Porte Maillot (metro stop) and from there you will need to find the metro and take it into the city of Paris for usual metro ticket price fo 1,70€

In this case, it’s more expensive flying with Ryanair at the added price of 16,70€,
compared with Easyjet (9,25€)

IMG_3540Check out my Youtube videos on Paris: http://www.youtube.com/user/BorderlineForFools

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryanthomaswoods

Any comments or questions, please leave a message above! If you have any other suggestions of places you highly recommend in Paris, then leave a comment below!

Categories: Autumn, Blog, Easyjet, Fall, Flights, France, Paris, Ryanair, Seasons, Survival Guide, Travel Sights, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Next Stop: Paris, France

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On the third night that Joey was in Leeds, we were sitting in my room, and I went over my bucket list. When I reached the bottom of the list (#33), I turned to Joey and I said: “Wanna go somewhere? Like fly to a different city?” and he said, “Let’s do it”.

I pulled out a world map on my Ipad and randomly picked a spot… it was the Atlantic Ocean. And so, since I didn’t feel like swimming in late November, I randomly picked another spot. PARIS IT WAS! WE booked our tickets, accommodations and other means of transportation 36 hours before our flight from Liverpool departed. I’d call that a spontaneous trip (crosses #33 off bucket list).

Journée 1

We arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport after flying with Easyjet from Liverpool. We arrived around 8:30pm. We took the metro (RER A) from the airport straight to our accommodations. Again, I strongly recommend travellers who are looking for cheap places to sleep to check out Airbnb.com! Joey and I stayed with this lovely Parisian couple who were renting out there futon for a really cheap price (compared to the rest of Paris). They provided us a map of Paris, showed us all the touristy places, and their  own personal recommendations. They lived in a very old-styled Parisian flat that had a key that was similar to the key in Hugo. Because it was so late at night, Joey and I crashed the first night in Paris.

Journée 2

Bonjour mon ami(e)! Ca va? Je suis tres bon!

Joey and I woke up to the restless streets of Paris around 8am and decided to begin our day with a trip to le Supermarche (the supermarket). We bought some food for breakfast as well as snacks and drinks for the day trip to the busiest parts of Paris. The only noteworthy thing that happened at the store was when Joey paid for his food. He gave the cashier a 10 pound note, instead of 10 euro note. He got so confused when she stared at him blankly, and returned his money with a “non”. Confused on the situation, I told Joey he gave her a British note, and that the currency is Euros here. It was his first blonde moment of the trip (among many, sadly). I couldn’t help but laugh and make fun of him for the rest of the trip.
I’m cruel like that.

Instead of taking the metro into the city, we decided to walk the entire way there (2 hours), and take a few detours along the way, including a stop at Starbucks. STARBUCKS IS SO EXPENSIVE IN PARIS. It’s probably the only spot with the most expensive drinks. Beware.

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Jardin des Tuileries
was the first place we visited. It’s an enclosed garden and holds the Musee de Louvre! It was pretty spectacular and was one the way to the Eiffel Tower: the main thing we wanted to see that day. As soon as we saw it through the trees and past the buildings, we got really excited and couldn’t wait to see it upfront!

And BAM! There she was…

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Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time was phenomenal! The whole time we were in Paris was mainly cloudy, but the one hour we were in front of the Eiffel tower, the sky cleared up and the lighting was absolutely beautiful. We were insanely lucky. After taking photos and video in front of the Eiffel Tour, Joey and I decided to climb the Eiffel Tower… it was on my silly bucket list. I pretty much had a heart attack, and Joey died halfway up. You had to pay extra to use the escalator and wait for a good hour to get to the very top of the Eiffel tower, and I just didn’t have the patience (or money) to wait in line… The view was probably the same; amazing.

After seeing the beauty that is the Eiffel Tower, Joey and I wandered around Paris for a few hours before night fell. We came across the Christmas Market and spent most the day walking along the Seine River. We made our way to L’Arc de Triomphe and walked along the shopping strip. Everything was all lite up for Christmas and really put you in the Christmas spirit.

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Journée 3

We began our morning with a walk through Pere Lachaise Cemetery where there were thousand and thousands of graves and monuments dedicated to very influential, successful and historical individuals… such a great start to the day! The cemetery was very beautiful and extremely old. The paths were all cobble stone, and you could walk for hours, not to mention get lost in the maze of dead bodies.

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After the cemetery, we took the metro to Funiculaire de Montmartre to see an extremely beautiful basilica as well as an even more beautiful view of Paris. Although it was an amazing place to visit, I had a really bad experience. I was approached by a guy that pretty much grabbed my hand and started making a bracelet, even though I told him i didn’t want one, nor did I have money. He continued to make the bracelet and then asked that I give him a payment. I told him I didn’t have any change, and he said that if I had a bill, he would give me change back. I gave him 5 euros, and gave me no change back. He then asked that I make a second payment to his boss that was watching both of us from afar. I had no other bills on me, and eventually found 2 euro coin… this dumb little bracelet cost me 7 euros… and I now I have it on my desk staring at me… It makes me angry every time I see it. No matter how rude it is, next time someone approaches me trying to sell me something, I will ignore them and walk away from them.
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Next stop on our things to see was Notre Dame! Joey was saddened when I told him that there is no actual hunchback that lives at the Notre Dame.
Near the entrance to the cathedral was an old man waving his hand in the air with about 25 tiny birds following his hand. He was giving people food and showed them how to get the birds to follow your hand. It looked so magical with 25 little birds moving with this old man’s arm waving back and forth.

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Inside the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris was spectacular. The architecture, paintings and feel of the cathédrale was absolutely exquisite. We both lit a candle for a our grandmothers and made a donation. To make matters funny, they had lots of signs that said “Silence” and “No flash” said in various languages. What was most humourous was the fact that they had separate large signs in chinese or japanese around the church that said “No Flash” with a picture of a crossed out flashing camera. Clearly they had to emphasize and get a message across to a certain cultural group of people.

IMG_3638We ended our second day in Paris by going to the first museum I wanted to go to while in Paris: Musee D’Orsay. They had an exhibition on impression (one of my favourite types of artwork), and fashion (something Joey would like). It was nice to try out my art history skills after a year of studying the subject in first year of uni. I was a little rusty at first, but eventually could have given a guided tour and take about the works of art, especially impressionism. The last painting that I saw in D’Orsay was Whistler’s Mother. Although it shouldn’t have, it reminded me of the Mr. Bean movie that I used to watch a lot when I was younger. It was so cool seeing the actual painting in person. Not many people have the same opportunities as me, and this makes me thankful of the amazing opportunities that I have been given.

Journée 4

Basically, we slept in and Paris decided to be very rainy. Bad Paris.

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Due to the late start and rainy afternoon, we decided to spend the entire day in the Musee de Louvre. This was a dream on true for me, seeing as how I could spend an entire day in an art museum, especially one that had an amazing Raphael exhibition, and showcases one of the most famous paintings: The Mona Lisa. The Musee de Louvre was also located beside a shopping centre which was all decked out in Christmas spirit.

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OH hai there Mona. It was nice to have met you. Although, I must say, you’re tres petite! (The painting is very small)

Musee de Louvre is now my absolute favourite museum in the world. I absolutely fell in love with it (not the price tho…)
Loved the Raphael exhibition, loved seeing the Mona Lisa, and loved how humongous it was. You could literally spend the entire day in there and still not see everything. We did end up spending the rest of the day there as well as portion of the night. After getting a quick sinner with another Canadian guy that we met at Musee de Louvre (I ALWAYS FIND OTHER CANADIANS; No matter where). After we went our separate ways, Joey and I decided to walk around Paris, at night, in the rain. So romantic…

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Journée 5

Being the last day in Paris (I know, so sad right?), I really want to splurge a little and drink coffee at a really fancy french cafe and read my art history novel. Because I’m classy like that. One of my good friends recommended that I check out Angelina’s Cafe, and so, on our way to the airport, we made a pit stop and enjoyed a delicious (and classy) lunch at Angelina’s.
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Yes, I actually did read my art history novel while chilling in a fancy french cafe with delicious sandwiches and croissants available.

This is the life.
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On our way to the metro station to catch our plane, walked through the Jardin de Tuileries and crossed the “love lock” bridge. This bridge was literally filled with thousands of love locks! Each lock had two names or initials of the people who locked their love for eternity and threw the key into the Seine River. Afterwards, we said our last good-byes to the Eiffel Tower and travelled to the Ryanair airport which was an hour outside of Paris. It’s much easier to fly with EasyJet if you are planning to come to Paris!

~

In the end, this spontaneous trip to Paris (which wasn’t even that expensive seeing as how we booked 32 hours beforehand) turned out to be an amazing weekend with my best friend joey. We had such an amazing time staying with the lovely Parisian couple and we both fell in love with Paris. It makes my top 3 favourite places in the world.
Can I live here? Pretty please?

Til my next adventure, stay classy folks!

~Ryan

Follow me and my travels on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryanthomaswoods

Check out my Youtube videos on Paris: http://www.youtube.com/user/BorderlineForFools

Article: 10 Things to Do and See in Paris, France

Any comments or questions, please leave a message above! If you have any other suggestions of places you highly recommend in Paris, then leave a comment below!

Categories: Autumn, Blog, Easyjet, Edinburgh, England, Fall, Flights, France, Glasgow, Liverpool, Night Life, Paris, Ryanair, Scotland, Seasons, Survival Guide, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bucket List Achievement: Take a Spontaneous Trip Anywhere


Well… This was a spontaneous trip! My best friend Joey from Canada (who flew me to England in September for school) decided to come visit me on during his holidays off work. We decided that we wanted to go somewhere spontaneous and where we’ve never been before in Europe. We downloaded a map of Europe on my iPhone, closed my eyes and my figure landed on… Well… you guessed it… Paris!

We booked a flight to Paris two nights before departure on the Tuesday and our return to Scotland for Saturday. 1) That means we have 4 days and 4 nights in Paris! 2) Joey also wanted to see Scotland before he left back to Canada, hence the return in Scotland.

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We left Leeds after my French class (I know right?) around noon and got a bus to the Liverpool where we would be catching our plane at the John Lennon Airport. Our flight left at 5:45pm England time and landed in Paris 8:15pm France time! This is taking into account that there was a 1 hour time difference . We flew with Easyjet and it was just as cheap and decent as Ryanair. I was content and didn’t have as many advertisements.

 

We arrived at Charles de Gaulle which was the Paris airport (among many) and we had to take the metro from the airport to the center of Paris where we would be staying. We got to our accommodations around 10:30pm and were welcomed with a friendly smile and kind greetings from a lovely Parisian couple who let us rent their living room for us to stay for a cheap price!

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Those who rather save money and stay with locals, as opposed to expensive hotels or somewhat more expensive hostels, check out Airbnb! Great website for saving money on accommodations and getting tips and advice about the city and attractions from local people.

We talked for an hour or so, and the couple told us of all the interesting (as well as touristy) places to go in Paris and even provided a map of how to get to all the places. They were absolutely lovely.

There wasn’t much of a language barrier, and we learned some more French and I’m sure they learned some more English as well! They even said we were there first English-speaking guests, so We were quite honored to be there guest for the 4 nights!

Joey and I unpacked, showered and decided that the next day we would somewhat wing it (since it was a spontaneous trip) and walk around Paris and (hopefully!) come across as many attractions and touristy sites as possible! Then, we slept in our bed, in an old Parisian flat, which had old large keys like from the movie Hugo, and fell asleep to the natural sounds of Paris.

Check out my youtube channel for my Paris videos! http://www.youtube.com/user/BorderlineForFools
Check out my other Paris blogs here: https://cometraveltheworldwithme.wordpress.com/

Categories: Blog, Easyjet, England, Fall, Flights, France, Leeds, Liverpool, Paris, Scotland, Seasons, Travel Sights, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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