Let this story be your warning that, while booking last minute can work out fantastically and save a lot of money, use caution when you decide to do last minute trips. It was one of my first weekends of my study abroad experience and I wanted to travel. Rounding up any new friends I could, I tried to plan a trip to Brussels, but alas, by the time people committed it was simply too late.
Eventually, we decided that Paris would be just fine the day before we left. So, I booked the bus tickets mere hours before we left. Oh, and I couldn’t book a hostel or AirB&B, so a friend ended up booking us a hotel before just before we left.
We got to the bus station without a hitch and prepared for our three hour bus ride. Eventually we arrived in Paris! Unfortunately it was farther away than where we anticipated. We bought metro tickets and tried to get on. Until a man told us that it wasn’t going to work until the following morning. So we gave up and got a taxi.
I struck up a conversation with the man, and we had a great chat! He warned us that the area of our hotel wasn’t very safe and to be careful because we were nice girls. As it turns out we were in the red light district right near Moulin Rouge.
We went to the hotel and found out that it was fully booked and that our American credit card payments didn’t go through over the phone. So this man told us that his was the only safe hotel in the area, and to take the metro to Gare du Nord to get a hotel there as it was close to 1am at this point. After much insisting he still wouldn’t call us a taxi, and we ended up walking until we found one.
We ended up in Gare du Nord where we got french fries, and then walked around until we got a hotel. It was there that our guardian angel hooked us up with a great room and a great deal.
Stay tuned for the next episode!