An evening in paris – our paris night tour

posted in: Europe, Paris | 106

An evening in Paris – our first evening in Paris. An evening that started on a jiffy note, then settled a bit and later took such adventurous turns that we had no clue about. Since, Paris is the city of lights, it must be seen by the night. And so, we happily agreed to a Paris night tour. As a part of this tour, we went on a boat cruise across the river Siene and later a ride up the Eiffel Tower. But wait, let me start from the beginning.

Paris night tour
An evening in Paris on the river Siene

Our arrival in Paris

It all started as we arrived into the town. Our train reached around 3:30pm into Paris, just on schedule. And our pre-booked cab to hotel was waiting with a placard to our name as we stepped out of the train station. So far the day had gone just as expected. However, unlike the previous destinations like Florence, Venice and Lucerne that we had been to on this trip and where we reached our hotel from the train station in the blink of an eye, the ride in Paris didn’t seem to end anywhere soon. After almost 40 minutes we reached our hotel which was almost on the outskirts of the city and definitely far from the Paris Leon railway station where we landed. Nevertheless, another few minutes before we got our rooms allocated.

The beginning of our Paris night tour

Our night tour was starting at 6:00pm. And it was already more than 5:00pm by the time we settled our luggage in our hotel rooms. Without wasting any further time, we decided to grab our essentials and head to our meeting point for the tour. But how? We didn’t know. As we reached at the hotel reception for help. The ever helpful receptionist cheerfully handed us a much complicated map of the Paris metro marking the lines to take and the intermediate stations to get down and change metros to reach our Paris night tour meeting point. But our already tired heads refused to sink in the instructions.

We decided that there was not enough time to figure it all out. And thus, asked the hotel to order a cab for us. The four of us decided to split the fare. However, soon we realized how expensive the cabs in Paris are. Although we reached our destination just in time to catch our pre-scheduled Paris night tour, it cost us a fortune (44 Euros for a single ride to be precise). And immediately we vowed that we will figure out the metro lines and return using the metro rather than a cab. From the meeting point, we started in a group towards the Eiffel tower.

Part 1 of Paris night tour : Seine river cruise

Soon, we were in front of Eiffel tower, on the bank of river Seine. And this is where our Paris night tour actually started. We on boarded a boat and took our seats on the upper deck. This was the first time we felt like settling down and relaxing after we had stepped foot in Paris. Little did we know that it was only for a while.  Nevertheless, soon the cruise started. As the boat started moving, we felt the cold evening breeze into our faces. Soon we relaxed and started enjoying the trip.

Although, I had expected that it will be dark by the time the river cruise ends. But in the month of April, it turns out sunset happens well beyond 9:00pm in most parts of Europe. And through out the one hour cruise, it was all sunny and bright. So, I missed the lighting and illumination that I had expected in my dreams. However, we enjoyed the trip. We crossed through most of the remarkable structures of Paris like Notre Dame, Louvre Museum. several important bridges etc. Not to mention, the one hour passed even before we realized. And soon, we were rushing out of the boat to our tour bus. This was the cool part of our Paris night tour.

Paris Night Tour
A view from the river Siene during the cruise

Part 2 of Paris night tour : bus tour

For another hour after getting off the boat, we did a bus tour of the city of Paris. Pretty much in the same area which we had seen across from the river. I didn’t like this part of the trip. And I rather felt it to be a complete waste of time. I preferred being either on the boat for longer or just sitting by the side of the river somewhere and enjoying the views.

It looked like the purpose of the bus tour was more to wait for the night to approach. So that we could land on the Eiffel tower when it got illuminated. In the same pursuit, the bus tour took us in rounds around the area. It crossed through the courtyard of Louver, the old blocks and lanes of Paris, and showed us some other remarkable monuments and buildings. Finally (and thankfully) it got dark. And we headed to the Eiffel tower. This was the rather boring part of our Paris night tour.

Paris night tour
Glimpses of the streets of Paris through the bus tour

Part 3 of Paris night tour: The Eiffel Tower

We had skip the line tickets to the Eiffel tower. Soon, we passed through the security procedures. And waited for a while for the lift. In a few minutes it arrived. And we entered to reach the second floor of the eiffel tower. It was around 10:00pm then. Although we have seen pictures of the beautiful eiffel tower. And also the views of Paris city from it in pictures. Still we were dumbstruck and shocked with delight on what we saw with our own naked eyes. As we reached the edge of the platform on the second floor, there extended a view of Paris by the night in front of our eyes that was beyond mesmerizing.

The city extended all across, lights glittering in all directions, merging into the horizon far off. We could clearly mark out the prominent structures and the reflections of their light in the river Siene. For once, the beauty of manmade creatures overcast the beauty of night sky. And soon, the blinking illumination effect started. We enjoyed it thoroughly.

Paris night tour
A mesmerizing night view of the city of Paris from Eiffel Tower

The unplanned part of Paris night tour

It was a chilly night. And the cold breeze was hitting our face as a hammer. Not that we minded with the mesmerizing views in front of us that we could easily look at for the whole night. But for the sake of our little one, we went and found a side of the platform where there was a respite from the chilly breeze. Two of our friends decided to pursue their trip further and go to the top of the tower. However, we decided to stay back because of our little daughter. We were satisfied with the views and didn’t want her to have to face more of the chilly winds. So, it was decided. They will go to the top, while we will stay at the same spot on the second floor. And upon them returning, we will all head back to our hotel. Perfect!

Out of the Eiffel tower

They embarked on their journey and we stayed put on the second floor platform, admiring the views. However, a little over 15 minutes had passed when a siren started blowing and a security warning started playing, urging the tourists to leave the tower for their safety as soon as possible. Not knowing what better thing to do, we got into one of the lifts. Upon enquiry the lift operator said it was a general everyday procedure to vacate the tower at night. But we didn’t feel assured due to the urgency and severity of the whole procedure.

Nevertheless, we reached down, and were hurled out of the gates of the campus by security people. Soon we realized, there were two exit gates from which people were exiting. We didn’t know how to meet our friends. As, we didn’t have a working caller card at this point, nor roaming, nor wifi, so basically no way to contact them. Finally, myself and Abhishek decided to be posted on one gate each. Anxiously, with heart pounding, we waited for our friends. Meanwhile some one uttered in the background “These tourists don’t even care there is something dangerous going on around” and I also saw a few fire brigade vehicles arriving.

However, one thing was sure, no one was going to tell us what was exactly going on – due to obvious security reasons. The tourists were dispersing, crowd was getting thinner. It was close to 11:00pm and there was no sign of our friends yet. Anxiety increased with every passing moment. A part of our heart said we might have missed them while other said we should wait. Finally they arrived – in a moment relief flooded on us. Our Paris night tour had officially come to an end and now we were ready to head back to our hotel!

Paris night tour
The illuminated Eiffel Tower

On to the metro

Soon the moment of relaxation was overcome by another moment of anxiety. As we pondered on how to reach back to hotel. For once we thought to take taxi. But there were none to be seen around. So, we asked some people for the direction to the nearest metro station and rushed to it. After a good 10 minutes walk and stopping a couple of times for direction, we reached at the station. On the service desk, we asked how to reach our destination and the lady again handed us a map, with directions marked. Determined to crack it this time, we took our tickets and went ahead.

We took some time to figure out how exactly it worked and which platform was the right one for us. However, at the end, we boarded the correct train. Still, the destination was far. We were supposed to change this train after 5 or so stations. So, we got down on that station and went for the next line. Again we got confused a little here and there. Finally, we boarded the metro on the line which was supposed to take us to our destination. And as per the previous map that the hotel receptionist had handed us initially, it was supposed to be the final destination on that line. By the time we arrived at this destination, it was beyond midnight.

Further adventure on our Paris night tour

However, one of our friends, holding the map of metro stopped suddenly on our way out of the station. Next thing I remember hearing from her “Guys there seems to be a problem”. Soon, we all hurled on the map. And we saw the receptionist had marked a station, two stops before the one we had got down at. Perhaps she had circled the end station to emphasize on the line and direction in which we had to take the metro. Realizing, we had just passed across our destination, and with no other better choice, we went back in. We took another ticket and boarded the same metro which we had got down from a few minutes back. Only now it was fully deserted, it was around 12:30 am and well – it was scary for us – the first timers.

Fingers clutched, moments passing, we waited for the train to start. Our Paris night tour surely had landed us tonight in not one but many adventures. Two or three other passengers boarded the metro, and they didn’t look friendly at all to our minds, which were overcast with insecurity. Being almost stranded in an unknown destination beyond the middle of the night. Finally the metro moved, and in 5 minutes we got down on the right stop.

To the hotel – finally the end of the Paris night tour

However, there was one more task left – to figure out the way to our hotel. Now, we were expecting the streets to be deserted and hardly anyone to help us with directions. Counting our luck, we asked the service desk guy at the metro station, but he had no clue about our hotel. He simply directed us towards the exit. With a sigh, we headed to the exit. Thinking to take our next move once out of the metro station.

As we embarked upon the steps of the metro to get out into the street, the board that glowed in front of us brought such waves of cheers that we cannot express in words. Right in front of us glittered the name of our hotel. It then occurred to us that our hotel is right across the metro station, so much so that we don’t even need to step on the road to get into the metro station. Finally, all safe, fully exhausted and utterly drained of the thrills that we had, we were glad that our Paris night tour had completely ended!!

Tips on taking Paris night tour from our experience

Clearly, you won’t want to get into some of the situations that we got ourselves into during our Paris night tour. Having said that, what we said in the beginning of the article still stands true. Paris being the city of lights, a Paris night tour is a must. Here we will like to offer some tips for you to have the awesome experience that we had, and cut short on the unwanted thrills that crept into our own Paris night tour.

  1. Take a skip the line ticket to the Eiffel tower, the lines are much shorter then and you will find yourself on the second floor soon
  2. Figure out your return plan from the trip to your accommodation in advance. If you want to take the metro or the bus, be sure you understand the route and numbers to take well before you are in the dead of the night.
  3. Wear proper winter jackets , woolen caps and mufflers to keep yourself warm when on board the river cruise or the eiffel tower. Since the winds get chilly particularly in the nights when visiting in winter and spring.
  4. Keep at least one calling card or phone roaming active so that you won’t loose connection with your fellows if any unseen situation arrives, like in our case.
  5. Keep some food with you so that you can kill your hunger in case you don’t find anything or rather any time to eat. Like we missed our dinner on this particular day. Luckily we had some energy bars and nuts to chew on while we went through our adventure.

Conclusion

PS: We tamed the Paris metro in the next 24 hours and we used it profusely thereafter for the rest of our stay in Paris. I will soon dedicate a post for fellow travelers on how to use it like a pro.

Finally, a parting question to our readers who hail from Paris or have been to Eiffel tower at similar hour as us : Is the siren and announcement thing a general procedure for evacuating the tower end of the day? It still remains an unsolved mystery to us.

A night view of Paris from Eiffel Tower, The illumination and beautiful lighting at Eiffel Tower, A Siene River Cruise - A perfect evening in Paris

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106 Responses

  1. […] you read about our adventure during our night tour of Paris, you might already know we recently did a tour of Europe. Before Paris, we did go to Italy, and […]

  2. Paris is the capital of my country, so I’ve been there quite a few times. But I love to see it as well through other eyes, such as yours. I’m glad you made it home safely… but honestly, in europe Paris is not the most expensive city for cabs 😉

    • I know Ariane. But for us, that much cost was too much 🙂 Any insights that you would like to share?

  3. I’m going to Paris later this year and I am so excited after reading your post! I will definitely do a night tour! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. We are planning a weekend trip from Dublin in July. I think Paris Metro card would be nice way to explore the city. Looking forward to reading your post on how to make the best use of the card 🙂

    • Thanks Swati! Definitely, the post is on it’s way. Should be out sometimes in June. I plan to publish a glimpse of the metro map as well 🙂

  5. Paris is such a beautiful city with so much see and do. I would love to go back there someday and explore more. I have been in Paris twice and I still feel like there is more for me to see. Looks like you had great time on your trip.

    • There’s definitely so much to see, do and experience. You need to give it enough time. Even we were there for a very short time. But we tried to do justice to our time here.

  6. Your photos are simply stunning. Paris is a beautiful city. The night time view of Paris looks even more stunning. Seems you guys had a great adventure.

    • Can’t call it great Swati. But it was an enriching experience for sure

  7. It’s amazing at how they were able to preserve the architecture of those old buildings. That should be the way; so much of the place’s history and culture can be seen and understood in those buildings. And yes, we would definitely love to have a walking tour around Paris at night. That would be so romantic.

    • Yes..a walking tour would be romantic. I was also amazed by the fact how well they have preserved the architecture of the buildings. I could see constant rework going on different buildings. I think they keep restoring parts that seem clumsy.

  8. Paris is such a beautiful city 🙂 I loved visiting there and would love to return someday 🙂

  9. I’ve been in Paris on a an evening twice! But unfortunately, very unfortunately, both the instances I was there on work and did not manage to explore the night scene or see in the lit-up Eiffel or take the night river cruise! Btw, did you know that the lit-up Eiffel is a copyrighted work of art?!!!

    • Oh thats bad Bhusha. Hope next time you head here, you definitely get to experience the light show. I didn’t know that it’s copyrighted. But I could certainly see that it is one of a kind in the whole world

  10. Your photos are stunning, it’s just a pity the night was a little stressful getting them. Paris cabs are notoriously expensive so I’m glad you tamed the metro beast. LOL.

    • Thanks Shona! Had no better option 🙂 But the metro really proved to be very useful

  11. I live in Paris and I did the Boat Tour .. it was really great, even though most parisians find it cheesy and too touristy, it is a nice experience to see this beautiful city from another angle. But I can tell you; in summer you really don’t need a winter jacket 🙂

    • Oh..that would be great, not to have to wear the winter jacket. The evening we did the bus tour, it was so chilly. And the wind was freezing at the Eiffel Tower later that night

  12. I’ve visted France many times but still haven’t been to Paris. The night tour seems like a legit idea and I can imagine the city by night is spectacular.

    • I haven’t seen another city this beautiful by the night, I must add.

  13. Love your picture of the Eiffel Tower! It really captures the magic of Paris at night. I’ve always thought that bus tours were limited to London but doing a bus tour of Paris sounds like a great idea – I’ll think I’ll try that when I visit.

    • Paris does have a hop-on-hop-off bus ticket as well that you can take for a day, two days or three days. It takes you along the city, stopping by all the major sites that you might be interested in visiting

  14. PackYourBaguios

    Wow! What a way to experience your first night in Paris. It must have been so stressful to not see your friends. I’m glad all ended well!

  15. Looks like you had a great adventure, apart from finally visiting Eiffel at night! It can sometimes get scary for the first time in any place, and getting lost is a part of travel, anyways 🙂

    • You are right. Getting lost is a part and parcel of exploring new places. Just that it was getting more and more into the dead of the night, and we didn’t like that

  16. What a Paris adventure you had and happy you found your friends. Also glad you became pros of the metro the next day 🙂 The Eiffel Tower is beautiful at night with the lights and makes a wonderful photo. Stunning Photos! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. Your night travel woes reminded me of my own. Luckily we figured out our return a little earlier and were able to reach back safely. However, we did end up losing a few Euros trying to get tickets which did not allow us to get into the tram and there was no help around 😛

    • Happens with each one of us it seems .. 🙂 and then slowly we become like pros

  18. Paris is a dream destination and looks like your perfect night in the city! It is on my bucket list! Hope to visit there soon. I’m pinning your post for my reference!

    • Thanks Ana. Ideally, I would not call it a perfect night. But yes, it has been a memorable one

  19. It looks like really a great ‘adventure’. 😀 I believe that must be very exhausting day for all of you guys but well-done! You guys did it! 🙂

  20. 44 Euro for a cab ride?! That’s around 2,000 in Philippine peso! That’s so freaking expensive even if you split it with 3 others. It’s so weird that sunset doesn’t happen until 9pm. Does the skip the line ticket more expensive than the regular ticket and by how much?

    • See..that was exactly our reaction when we go the bill. It comes close to around 3000 Indian Rupees. We sometimes get flights in India for a person in that much cost 😀 In northern hemisphere, sunset does happen late in spring and summers. Only I had not realized it before reaching Europe. The skip the line tickets are little costlier is what I heard, but never checked for the regular ticket. So, don’t know.

  21. Must have been really awesome to picture the Eiffel at night, all lit up. I can only imaging the amount of fun you guys must have had. You guys really did a lot in one evening, first the boat tour, then the bus tour and then the Eiffel tour.

    • hmm… sounds like so much to do, but actually, more than all these put together, we felt like was the part of figuring out our way back to the hotel 😀

  22. Haven’t visited Paris yet, I plan to do that on an organized trip so that I manage to see more with less discomfort. I liked your review and the photos were great,

    • Thanks Perla. Hope you will have a great time when you visit there

  23. Sounds like a perfect night! We went to Paris around New Year’s so it was absolutely freezing but this looks fantastic!

  24. Ah..how I miss Paris after looking at your post. It must be really fun for you all. Thanks for all the tips.

  25. I love your pictures! It looks like a beautiful place.

  26. A night tour of Paris sounds great. It does sounds like you had quite a few mishaps but I suppose you guys ended up doing alright. Too bad about the expensive taxi and having to evacuate the Eiffel Tower and loosing your friends. These things happen.

    • Perhaps you are right.. these are part and parcel of visiting new places and exploring on your own

  27. Awesome tips and you guys certainly had a busy evening! Love the views from the Eiffel Tower – I still haven’t been up it! Great post and thanks for sharing your experience!

  28. I really like the cities at night. Paris too, not on the New Years Eve though;) Was too crowded and too many fireworks.

  29. What a great article. I like how detailed and organized this blog post is, but it’s not drudging to read. I haven’t been to Paris yet and this will surely be a great help. Thank you so much for bringing me to Paris by just reading your blog post.

  30. tweetgirl1

    Nice! Paris is on my bucket list. Great photos.

  31. Paris is an amazing place and I have been and want to go back.

  32. Man Vs Globe

    Paris is absolutely one of my favourite cities! It is a shame that it wasn’t dark by the time you finished the boat tour but at least you spent a lot more time seeing the city at night!

  33. Ooh how I wish I could visit this place someday. You have captured the tower beautifully. The angle is so perfect while capturing the lights and making the dark blue sly as your canvass.

  34. Really Interesting and adventurous stuff you guys faced while touring the Eiffel tower. But I must say; your pictures are incredible and you will be cherishing all these events afterwards because they made you learnt so much.

  35. It looks like you had a stunning Parisian evening! That night view from the Eiffel Tower is gorgeous!!

  36. Paris at night is pretty spectacular, we did a river cruise and really enjoyed it. The sparkling Eiffel Tower and Notre Dam were very special. #feetdotravel

  37. Paris is so much of changing metros, catching buses and walking.. oh so much of walking! Even i lost my hotel when i was there. But it was all worth exploring different streets and alleys. Your tips are bang on point.

  38. I find most cities to seems different in the night versus the day, and there are several of them that don’t look all that great in the light, so after sunset they look much better. Paris is good-looking anytime, but yes, everyplace you visit must be seen at night.

  39. Ahhh, I can’t wait to visit Paris!! The night tour seems super interesting – definitely a twist on your traditional Paris sightseeing. I wouldn’t be too keen on the bus part though – I always find bus tours to be super boring. Not being able to find my way back to accommodation after dark is my worst nightmare – glad you made it back safe and sound, how lucky your hotel was so close to the metro!

    • It was indeed lucky end of the day 🙂 but again, through the ups and downs, it became one of the most memorable parts of our trip

  40. Taking a walking tour in the evening seems like a very different way to experience the city! Pretty weird what happened on the Eiffel Tower though! Good to read you made it to the hotel! 😉

  41. Looks like a great experience!!

  42. Ouch, that cab fare was a bit much, but I think sometimes, when you’ve just landed in a new city and you’re on a tight schedule, it’s a good option. At least you didn’t miss your night tour, which would have been awful! Paris at night is so spectacular. Paris during the day isn’t bad either 😉

    • Have got to agree with you Katherine. Those were exactly our thoughts, so finally we took the taxi

  43. Great post! It can be nerve wracking figuring out metro stations- and extra stressful at night, after a long day!! S

  44. Paris is magical! Loved your photos and the description of the tour.

  45. Shane Prather

    Paris is such a beautiful and romantic city – especially by night. Love your guide to this tour.

  46. Wow. The Eiffel Tower must be beautiful at night, but I could do without an evacuation.

    • Each one of us I guess.. no one wants to be evacuated like that 🙂

  47. I have been to Paris but I have never done the rive cruise! I need to add it to my list!

  48. That must have been amazing to take the boat tour during the night! I only did it during the day and loved it.

    • It was more of evening, but yes, the boat tour was very refreshing

  49. Loved this post on Paris and glad to know you folks enjoyed your time in Paris. Reading your post, brought back memories of our wonderful trip to Paris which included the Seine river, cruise, the Eiffel Tower and the museums etc. Paris we want to experience you again!

    • I guess like many other great destinations, no amount of time is going to be enough here. We spent only close to 2 days in Paris itself, and we ourselves can’t wait to get back to it

  50. I always go with a night close to the hotel, exploring the streets and cafes around where I am going to be at when I first get to a new city. Traveling is so exhausting and when you are tired and trying to see and do too much all at once it can be disorienting. But, I will definitely do a night time tour of Paris!

    • Thats so true. We are always in for relaxing tours and like to take it slow and steady. This night tour was an exception, but at the end of the tour, we felt it was worth it afterall

  51. I enjoyed the trip with you.Very well expressed!

  52. The Eiffel Tower is so much prettier at night especially when it sparkles. I wish we had the time to try the cruise in River Seine, it sounds so relaxing! 🙂

  53. Interesting post and beautiful pics.

  54. The Eiffel Tower looks stunning in the night, isn’t it? We did the River Sienne Cruise when we had visited Apris couple of years ago. But missed out on the rest. What a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing.

  55. This post was intense! Glad you got home safely in the end. Paris is a nightmare to navigate particularly on your first time but the metro gets easier with a few trips. I’ve got into the habit of using offline maps when I’m in a new place. I drop a pin at my hotel and then when I need to get home, the app tells me how to get back via walking, bus or metro/tram. It puts my mind at ease!

    • Oh that’s great to know. We mostly used google maps both online and offline

  56. Bummer about the expensive cab, but that often happens when you first arrive in a new city!

  57. Thanks for sharing! I have been to Paris, but never done a night tour and would definitely love to. I have been in Paris in the evening and it definitely is beautiful with the lights on. I will be in Paris again, so a tour will definitely be necessary (:

    Ashlee

  58. Wow! That was a rollercoaster of a read! I really want to know about the Eiffel tower thing too! Sounds a bit suspicious to me… I went during the day so unfortunately can’t give any insight.

    Eryn, Diaries From The Window Seat

    • Hopefully we will soon find some reader who can solve the mystery for us

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