Trip to Paris and Switzerland- Day 3 Part 2 - Rue Du Commerce, Champs Elysses and Arc de Triomphe

Rue du Commerce

Paris is famous for shopping and we wanted to visit not the touristy shopping streets , but something the Parisians usually visit. We had heard of a the shopping street named Rue du Commerce which is famous among the Parisians and we wanted to give it a try as it was on the way back from Palace of Versailles .

Paris Street Shopping
Rue Du Commerce, Paris- A great Shopping street

How we got to Rue Du Commerce from Palace of Versailles ?

We took the RER back from back from Versailles Rive Gauche station and got down at Champs de Mars RER station. We exited the station and walked to the Bir Hakeim Metro station. We took M6 towards Nation and got down at  La Motte-Picquet – Grenelle. 

Rue du commerce Paris shopping
Take exit 1 at La - Motte- Picquet- Granelle Metro Station 

best street shopping in paris france
Our first views of the Eiffel Tower as we walked to Rue du Commerce

 Shopping at Rue Du Commerce : 

Below are some of the shops that we visited at Rue Du Commerce. This shopping street is a one stop shop with a large number of shops lining the street. A good place to do some shopping at affordable prices and spend 2-3 hours. 

 Some of the shops that we visited for clothes shopping in Rue du Commerce : 

street shopping paris france
H & M shop at Rue du Commerce

Rue du commerce stores

So after some clothes shopping I was looking out for the Sephora showroom which I had read was present at Rue Du Commerce. So after a good 10 min walk we reached the Sephora showroom.

sephora rue du commerce paris
The collection at Sephora Rue Du Commerce , Paris

Sephora at Rue du Commerce, Paris

Check out things I bought from Paris HERE..

So after spending sometime in Sephora we just wanted to walk to the end of the street to check out the other shops and ran into this little gem ( Maison Gosselin ). 

best street shopping in paris france
At the end of Rue de Commece is this small shop

Best of street shopping in Paris
Fresh Strawberries- Really yummy- Could not stop eating

paris cheap shopping streets
Really colorful shop - A treat for the eyes 

paris street food market
Fresh oranges- They were really tasty

Champs Elysees

No visit to Paris is complete without a visit to the world famous Champs Elysees for some window shopping and walking the street to reach the Arc De Triomphe .We walked the length of the Champs Elysees and there were some really interesting shops on the way. If you are really into high end shopping Champs Elysees is the place to be.

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A quick pic at Champs Elyesees

louis vuitton champs elysees paris
Louis Vuitton - Champs Elysees - You just need to go in atleast to take a look

Lido show Paris 2014
The famous Lido show at Champs Elysees Paris - The tickets are not cheap though

macarons champs elysees paris
So after a long walk we were hungry - Macarons from Paul - Really yummy and a must try

Mercedes showroom Champs Elysees
Mercedes showroom- Champs Elysees- Really amazing

Arc De Triomphe 

The Arc De triomphe stands at one end of the Champs Elysees and is really a majestic sight to behold. Constructed in the 19th century this monument has become synonymous with Paris like the Eiffel Tower. 

We wanted to climb to the top and view the whole of Paris. Unfortunately there was some renovation going on at the Arc de triomphe and visitors were not allowed to go on the viewing point on the top.  

Arc De Triomphe Paris
The Arc De Triomphe - Paris

Tip : Read in a few blogs that view from the top is majestic especially at night as you get to see the whole of Paris along with the sparkling Eiffel tower. So if you are planning a trip , try to make it after sunset. 

Tips for Navigation while in Paris :

Though this seems obvious, take a sim which will enable you to use mobile data also. This was something that we did not do and it was a mistake.

We had taken a postpaid sim from Matrix India with a plan where the call rates back to India were very nominal, which was something we were looking for. But we did not realize that the mobile data rates will be exorbitantly high.
So after the trip our suggestion is please take a sim which will enable you to use the mobile data also at nominal rates, so that you can use google maps, if you get stuck anywhere.

Though we had planned well in advance and had taken the route maps with us beforehand, we found it a little difficult to navigate while in Paris . When we got stuck ( on the way to some attraction ) we found it a little difficult to get help due to 2  reasons :

  •  Number of people speaking English was quite limited. 
  • Even if they did speak  English, the way the French pronounce certain words is different. So if you are  looking for to find a place / street it might become a little difficult to make   them understand. For ex , Rue de Montorgueil  is pronounced as Rue de Mon-tor-Gei ( This is what a Parisian told us ) .                                                                                                                                              So if you are stuck somewhere and are asking for directions it is better to write down what you are looking for , than taking a chance with the pronunciations.

Tip : Do learn some basic French words as it can be really helpful.  A simple greeting ( bonjour ) can go a long way in breaking the ice.

A myth that we would like to put to rest is that “ French People are not friendly “ “ French people are rude “ etc.  From our experiences we never encountered any such behavior and infact some people even went out of the way to help us.

Dinner at Gandhiji Paris :

So after a full day of eating European cuisine we were dying to eat some Indian food and we had read some good reviews of Hotel Gandhiji Paris, which was like a 5 minute walk away from our hotel.

We went keeping our expectations at bare minimum, we were pleasantly surprised with the food as it was really good. So after a really good meal it was time to walk back  to our hotel and tuck in after a really long day.

Indian Restaurants in Paris

Trip to Paris and Switzerland - Day 3,Part 1 - Palace of Versailles

So after a hectic day 2 at Paris Disneyland we arrived late in the night for our check-in at Lyric Hotel Paris. The Hotel is at Rue De Grammont, Paris and we arrived by car hired with Interservice Prestige and even though the chauffeur was from Paris we found it a little difficult to locate the hotel.

Do Read Trip to Paris Day 1 & Paris Day 2

Lyric Hotel Paris, Rue de Grammont

Lyric Hotel Paris is a 4 star hotel located in the Opera District of Paris. It is a relatively newly refurbished hotel that really caught our eye when we were browsing for hotels in a central location in Paris
  • Location : Lyric Hotel Paris is centrally located , only a 5 minute walk away from the Opera Metro and a 2 minute walk from Quatre Septembere metro station. This made is really comfortable for us while commuting to various places as most of the attractions were close by. 

Lyric Hotel Paris Reviews
Rue De Grammont- The street where Lyric Hotel Paris is located

Opera Paris France
The Opera is just a 5 minute walk from the hotel

  •  Rooms and Ambiance :  We took the double business room ( which was the most basic ) but it turned out be really luxurious and comfortable.  The room had a real modern feel  with all amenities provided. One of the better rooms we stayed in during our trip.

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Lyric Hotel Paris- Double Business Room- A really comfortable bed

lyric hotel paris reviews
Lyric Hotel Paris- Double Business Room

lyric hotel paris booking
Lyric Hotel Paris- Double Business Room- Bathroom

lyric hotel paris reviews
Lyric Hotel Paris- Double Business Room- Modern and Chic

  • Amenities :  The breakfast was not complimentary , but we did not mind as it gave us the opportunity to try out the numerous French cafes close by. The hotel also had an indoor swimming pool and a spa service which we did not use due to lack of time.
  • Room Rates : We had taken advantage of the early bird offer and booked rooms ( on a non refundable basis ) and we got average rate of 150-160 Euro per night.                                                                   
  • Apart from the above the front desk were really helpful and spoke English which was very helpful. Overall a very pleasant stay and we would recommend this hotel to others.

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles ( pronounced as Ver-sigh-e )  is a day trip from Paris and is probably the most opulent palace in the world and is a testament to finest French art of the 17th century. Since it was our first time in  Paris and we were there only for 3.5 days(part from Disneyland) we contemplated whether to visit the Palace as it would take a major part of the day.  After our visit we suggest that this should be a part of any itinerary , as  it  is really worth a visit.

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A small size model of Palace and surroundings

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Entrance to the Palace of Versailles

Below are some of the questions that were running through our mind when we were planning our trip and thought it would be best to pass on what we learnt.
   How to ride the Paris Metro ?  How to reach the Palace of Versailles using the metro ?

The Paris Metro system comprises of :

1.       14 metro lines
2.       5 RER lines

Metro Lines :  There are 14 lines each denoted by a number from 1 -14 ( M1, M2 etc ). Single tickets for the Metro are known as “Ticket t+”. These tickets are valid for a single continuous journey of any length, throughout the Metro system, including changes to other Metro lines. In short , one ticket can be used from first point of entry to your final station of exit including interchanges.

Each ticket costs EUR 1.70 . It is better buy a book of 10 tickets called carnet  ( Costs EUR  13.70 )

How to ride Paris MRT & RER
The Metro T + ticket bought as a carnet(group of 10)

RER  :  This is a regional rapid transit system predominantly serving the suburbs surrounding Paris.  The 5 RER lines RER A, RER B, RER C, RER D and RER E.  While travelling within Paris using the RER network,  the metro Ticket t+ itself can be also used for the RER trains.

For travelling to the outside of Paris ( Versailles, Disneyland, Charles De Gaulle etc ) you need to buy special Tickets called Billet ( pronounced as Bee-yay ) which can be purchased over the ticket counters.

Riding Paris  Metro & RER
RER Ticket to Versailles Rive Gauche

For buying round trip tickets for instance to Palace of Versailles you would need to say Aller- Retour ( pronounced as Al-Eh Ray-tour ) Versailles.

Going to Versailles : The thing that you need to keep in mind is that Versailles is serviced by the RER C line and you need to get to any of the stations that is serviced by the RER C line

1.  If you are already in a metro station serviced by RER C line   Head to the platform that serves the RER C line. Take a train that is heading towards the direction of Versailles Chateu Rive Gauche  ( Metro station for Palace of Versailles ).

how to go to palace of versailles by metro
At the platform , displays that show the time of arrival of the next train- Take the train to Versailles Chateu RG

2.  If you are not in a metro station serviced by RER C line : Take a local metro train to any one of the stations serviced by RER C line and then you can interchange to a RER C train from there. You dont need to buy 2 tickets in this case. Buy a round trip RER ticket to Versailles from your first station which can be used for the first journey to RER C metro station ( from where you will be changing to RER C train to Versailles)

For instance since we were staying next to the Opera, so we took the M8 line ( TOWARDS Balard ) from Opera Metropolitan station got down at the Invalides metro station. We changed trains at Invalides  and took the RER C train to Versailles River Gauche.

how to travel to palace of versailles
Follow such signs which shall take you take you to RER C line platform

how to go to palace of versailles
RER Trains that we took to reach Versailles Chateu River Gauche

After a 40 minute ride we reached Versailles Chateu Rive Gauche
Get down at the last station, Versailles Chateu River Gauche. The Place of Versailles is 10 minute walk away  from the exit. 
palace of versailles photos
After a 10 minute walk we reached the Palace of Versailles


Should you take a guided tour or not ?

If your knowledge of French history is only basic and you would not like to stand in long queues then booking a “ Skip the Line guided tour “ is probably the best idea. The palace of Versailles is very huge and there are good chances it can get a little boring looking at painting after painting / sculptures after a while . ( Something that happened to us at the Pantheon ). So we would strongly suggest a guided tour / at least take an audio guide.

Guided Tour of the Palace :

We had booked a Skip the line guided tour of the Palace of Versailles from for Euro 39 and we felt it was really worth the money. Our guide Pauline spoke excellent English and was really knowledgeable, which made our visit very enjoyable. also has guided tour of the gardens , the Grand Triannons and Mary Antoinette’s estate if that interests office ( for initial orientation) is just opposite Versailles River Gauche Metro station as soon you exit.     

palace of versailles queues
Queues are really long for a normal entry

palace of versailles guided tour
Direct Entry for Skip the line Guided Tours- No waiting- Really worth it

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Yes the queues are really this long even at 10 AM

  A Quick Pic Before the Guided Tour of Palace of Versailles :

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Hubby and Me

Some Pictures of The Palace of Versailles from our Guided tour : 

palace of versailles hall of mirrors
The famous Hall of Mirrors- Really Beautiful

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The Royal Chapel- Palace of Versailles

palace of versailles kings chamber
The Kings Chamber

palace of versailles queens chamber
The Queens Chamber

The Council Study

palace of versailles louis 14
From  (L-R)  A statue of Louis the 14th - A potrait of Marie Antoinnate

The Gardens :

We wanted to explore the gardens on our own and bought tickets for the same independently.  Each adult ticket cost EUR 9 as there was the musicial fountains show on our day of visit.  Otherwise the entry to the gardens is free. 

Palace of Versailles Musical Gardens
Ticketing Booth- You can buy tickets for the gardens here.

palace of versailles gardens photos
The Garden are really enormous- Options to avoid walking. The train takes you to the Triannons and the estate
palace of versailles fountain show
Some pics from the Gardens
·    What are the different types of passes/ tickets if not taking the guided tour ?

Palace of Versailles is divided into 4 major zones :
1.       The Palace
2.       The Gardens
3.       The Grand Triannons
4.       Marie Antoinette’s Estate

Palace is open daily except on Mondays . However do check out the opening hours for the day of your visit.  You can either buy tickets for each of the individual attractions or buy one passport ticket that gives you full access to all the regions.  

 Are the Grand Triannons and Mary Antoinnete’s Estate worth a visit ?

If you have time, please try to allot a whole day to visit the Palace of Versailles and we are sure you will enjoy the time spent. Since we were on a tight schedule we visited only the Palace of Versailles and the gardens, but did not visit the Grand Triannons and Mary Antoinette’s estate, something that we regret now,  after seeing some beautiful pictures  in other blogs.  

So if we could do it again we would allot a whole day for Versailles and explore the Palace , the gardens , the Grand Triannon and the Mary Antoinette’s Estate at leisure.

Place where we ate lunch inside The Jardins :

palace of versailles musical gardens
A hidden gem inside the gardens- La Girandole

palace of versailles gardens pictures
Menu- La Girandole

Tips :
  • There is also a lot of walking involved so try wearing something comfortable and carry lots of water. 
  • If possible do not try to combine Versailles with any other major attraction as it can get really tiresome.
  • If not taking a guided tour do arrive early as the lines get atrociously long.  Do also consider taking the Passport ticket as it would work out cheaper.
  • Do be very careful of your belongings ( something our guide kept repeating like a zillion times ) as there are lots of pickpockets.
  • Avoid Tuesdays as the Louvre is closed and hence more people tend to visit Palace of Versailles. Around 50000 people visit on Tuesdays ( A fact that our guide shared with us ). 
The post was written in collaboration with my husband

Trip to Dubai - Days 2, 3 and 4 - The Atlantis, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Mall , Yas Water World and Ski Dubai- Mall of Emirates

March 2013

Day 2 : 

Palm Jumeirah and the Atlantis Dubai 

So after an exciting first day where we visited the Burj Khalifa an architectural marvel we started of day 2 by visiting another marvel, the man made islands of the Palm Jumeirah and the famous Atlantis Hotel. We did not want to take any chances like the previous day ( where we did not get a taxi) and booked one at our hotel . It was a good 30 minute drive from our hotel to the Palm Jumeirah , but a real picturesque one as we passed most of Dubai`s famous attractions enroute. 

Dubai Mall Shopping-Dubai Mall Entertainment fountain- Mall of EMirates- Ski Dubai- Ice Rink Dubai Mall- Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel-Dubai travel blog- Dubai tips
The Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel , Dubai

Attractions : 
The three main attractions here are the :
  • ·         Aqua Adventure Water Park
  • ·         Dolphin Bay
  • ·         The Lost chambers aquarium

Dubai Mall Shopping-Dubai Mall Entertainment fountain- Mall of EMirates- Ski Dubai- Ice Rink Dubai Mall- Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel-Dubai travel blog- Dubai tips
Aquarium in Atlantis

The aqua adventure water park looked really tempting but since we had planned to go the Yas water world the next day we gave this a skip. The dolphin bay experience where you swim with dolphins was very pricey and hence we visited only the lost chambers aquarium. Here are some snaps from the best aquarium I have been to.

We had lunch in one of the food courts , took some snaps and headed back to our hotel.

Dubai Mall : 

You would probably need a few days to see the Dubai mall .. Recently read an article that a man was lost in the Dubai mall for 1 year .. Dont know how true the story is , but the underlying fact is Dubai Mall is really a symbol for opulence , grandeur and size.. The Dubai mall is indeed huge!!!  So with just one afternoon and evening to spare in the Dubai mall we tried to see as much as we could.. 

Dubai Mall Shopping-Dubai Mall Entertainment fountain- Mall of EMirates- Ski Dubai- Ice Rink Dubai Mall- Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel-Dubai travel blog- Dubai tips
View of Burj Khalifa

Tip : There are free shuttles from most hotels to the Dubai mall.. so  do check with your hotel for the same.

Fun things not to miss in Dubai mall : 

Dubai Mall Shopping-Dubai Mall Entertainment fountain- Mall of EMirates- Ski Dubai- Ice Rink Dubai Mall- Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel-Dubai travel blog- Dubai tips
In the Dubai Mall

Shopping : 

As mentioned earlier the Dubai mall is a huge maze and it can get real confusing and you spend a lot of time doing nothing.. 

Tip : Visit the website earlier and chose the shops that you want to visit. Once you arrive in the mall , with the help of the map, visit them first. Then you can spend the rest of your time window shopping. This is something that I did not do , but luckily I had my cousins to guide me and I managed to get around. 

Shops Visited and Things I bought in Dubai Mall : 

We went to Sephora, Forever 21 and some random apparel shops. I bought some good earrings, statement necklaces from Forever 21 and my Mother in law got some foundations, face powders from Makeup Forever brand in Sephora for herself and for gifting. You can check out my statement necklaces from Dubai in my post here.

Sega Republic  :  Indoor Theme Park : Dubai Mall :Recommended Visit Time : 2 hours

Dubai Mall Shopping-Dubai Mall Entertainment fountain- Mall of EMirates- Ski Dubai- Ice Rink Dubai Mall- Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel-Dubai travel blog- Dubai tips
Sega Republic - Dubai MAll

Remember those old Sega games that we used to play in the gaming arcades ? Just imagine a place probably 10 times its size with the largest collection of arcade games and to add to it some amazing indoor roller coasters, an interactive football game , a maze where you evade lasers and snooker tables you get Sega Republic.. 

This was something that we chanced upon when we were walking around and we really enjoyed our time here. A good place to become kids again.

Dubai Mall Ice Rink :  

We did not try the Dubai mall Ice Rink as we were running out of time.. ( I personally did not want to fall and make a fool of myself ;) ) .. But it seemed real fun as people young and old , both amateurs and professionals seemed to be having a great time..
Dubai Mall Shopping-Dubai Mall Entertainment fountain- Mall of EMirates- Ski Dubai- Ice Rink Dubai Mall- Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel-Dubai travel blog- Dubai tips
Ice Rink

Dubai Fountain: At 8 in the evening we watched the Dubai Fountains show which is one of the highly rated attractions in Dubai. The fountain show lasts for about 10 minutes with beautiful Arabic Music accompanying the dancing fountains in a beautiful setup.

We liked the show and if you visit the Dubai mall this is something you should not miss.. Best place to watch would be from one of the many restaurants in the promenade..

We had dinner at a beautiful beach side restaurant and headed back to hotel  since the next day was action packed. 

Dubai Mall Shopping-Dubai Mall Entertainment fountain- Mall of EMirates- Ski Dubai- Ice Rink Dubai Mall- Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel-Dubai travel blog- Dubai tips
Outside the Dubai Mall

Yas Water World - Abu Dhabi- Day 3

When you think of Dubai the first thing that comes to you mind is shopping..Apart from its fabulous shopping another thing that is synonymous with with Dubai is its heat !!!!

And what better way to cool of that visit a water park in the Emirates.. You are actually spoilt for choice as you have 3 amazing water parks to chose from - Wild wadi , Aqua adventure water park, Atlantis  ( both in Dubai ) and Yas water word in Abu dhabi. We finally narrowed down to Yas water world as it had the most number of rides and some of them really looked hair raising..

Yas waterworld here we come!!!!  We took a taxi for the entire day & reached Abu Dhabi in about 1 and a half hours drive from JW Marriott, Dubai

Top 5 rides not to miss : 

These are the rides with most queueus so it is better to do them early in the morning..

·         Liwa Loop : The ride that we were looking forward the most to and a ride that did not disappoint. The ride probably lasted 3 seconds but that 3 seconds were like enternity. From the moment you step onto the capsule before the free fall till the moment you are down after a 360 degree loop you can literally hear your heart beat.. Not for the faint hearted!!!

·         Dawamma and Falcons Falaj : These were family rides where 6 people could sit in the tube and it had weight restrictions. But apart from being able to accept 6 people in the tube, it cannot be called as a family ride since there is extreme adrenaline rush from the second you are on the ride.
    Free falls and funnel kind of pathways and cold water being splashed from the sides. I was screaming and closing my eyes so tightly that I didn't know what really happened. I only thanked God for being alive after the ride.. Thrill seekers you will enjoy this!!!

·        Jebel Drop : This according to my hubby was the scariest ride in the park.. There was almost 80 degree open vertical drop which was really scary.. So do take care..

·         Sebag: This  is a real fun ride as you can compete with friends/ family to see who finishes first.. There is also a big board that shows your timings .. Really cool!!!

There a lot of other rides like the bandit bomber, serpent spin , lazy river and others which will keep you occupied for the whole day.. But our tip is do the above 5 first before the others..

Tips :

1. We arrived probably 30 min after the waterpark opened and the queues were mind boggling which made us wait almost 30 mins to get the tickets.. So please book tickets online and arrive early to make the best use of your day

2.  Girls can wear their swimsuits if they are comfortable or tights with t shirts. Men can go for shorts that are not very loose. Islam being the main culture in the country there is no hard and fast rule that you need to wear only a swim suit .. 

3. Make sure your dress does not have any zip/ anything that can cause damage to the rides. 

Day 4- Exploring the hotel, Mall of Emirates- Ski Dubai

So after 3 grueling days we began day 4 a little late.. After a relaxing swim in the swimming pool we decided to explore the hotel and take some pics.. 

Dubai Mall Shopping-Dubai Mall Entertainment fountain- Mall of EMirates- Ski Dubai- Ice Rink Dubai Mall- Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel-Dubai travel blog- Dubai tips
View of Burj Khalifa from JW Marriot

Post a sumptuous breakfast we checked out and leaving our bags in the hotel we proceeded to the Mall of Emirates ..

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JW Marriot Reception Area

Mall of Emirates - Ski Dubai

Being in the southern part of India and my parents being workaholics, I have not got much opportunity to travel to other parts of India or abroad before my wedding. Just been to Singapore once before my wedding and travelled to places in South of India. I have never been to a place where it snows..So Ski Dubai was my first experience with snow- a world of snow filled landscape with fun activities inside a mall! Kudos !!!

Skiing, Ice flyer(chairlift),tube rides and other thrilling activities all organized perfectly. Such a good getaway it was. When my husband was busy with his ski lessons, I was having my fun quotient too in the Ice Flyer, tube rides and watched cute penguins in a performance.

Perfect clothes, shoes, gloves were provided according to various sizes and we were allowed inside.
Dubai Mall Shopping-Dubai Mall Entertainment fountain- Mall of EMirates- Ski Dubai- Ice Rink Dubai Mall- Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel-Dubai travel blog- Dubai tips
Me in Ski Dubai

After all the fun and frolic we were damn hungry and took the ice flyer to a restaurant situated inside the snow resort. We had hot hot drinks and some nachos with cheese. They tasted heavenly!!

Dubai Mall Shopping-Dubai Mall Entertainment fountain- Mall of EMirates- Ski Dubai- Ice Rink Dubai Mall- Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel-Dubai travel blog- Dubai tips
Penguins show

Gold Souk : 

Spent 1 hour here taking some snaps as my MIL got some jewellery.. Really interesting place if you are into purchasing gold..

From the gold Souk we headed back to the hotel to go back to the airport. 3 days was indeed too less a time to spend here and we hope to return someday..

Dubai Mall Shopping-Dubai Mall Entertainment fountain- Mall of EMirates- Ski Dubai- Ice Rink Dubai Mall- Atlantis Palm Jumeira Hotel-Dubai travel blog- Dubai tips
Gold Souk , Dubai

My husband contributed a lot towards writing this post.
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