So I asked myself:
“What should my first post be?”
One cold night in early January, I was chatting away on the phone to my best friend Roannah where we were reminiscing on how perfect Christmas and New Year’s was. We were expressing to each other how much we were fed up of being stuck in England with nothing to do or see…
It happened so fast that I can’t remember who suggested it first but before we knew it we had spent the next hour or so investigating booking.com, skyscanner and eurostar.com for the cheapest travel and accommodation! By 8 o’clock we were squealing with excitement over the fact we had just spontaneously booked the Eurostar to the city of love – Paris.
Monday 20th February 2017: My 6am alarm overwhelms our London hotel room, hurrying us out of bed. We dashed around the room to put on our first-day outfits while brushing our teeth, and then wrapped up warm for the walk to the underground.
As we arrived at St Pancreas train station, the air was mild and the sun was rising. We quickly grabbed ourselves breakfast on the go from the station’s Costa and headed towards our awaiting train, luggage trailing behind. You would think that the train journey would drag as we were far too excitable, but amused to find out that we had passed through the channel tunnel and whizzing through France unknown to the fact we had even left England!
On arriving at Gare du Nord station, Paris, we darted straight for the subway to take us to our hotel which was located along Av.de Friedland, within 200m of the Arc de Triomphe – much to our liking! We ditched the bags off at the hotel where we tried our rusty french on the receptionist: “bonjour”, “merci”. Lusting after experiencing as much as possible, we ventured out to the magnificent Arc de Triomphe. Truly a work of art. I recommend going to visit both day and night, the darkness of the evening sky contrasts against the pale building making it a treasure to photograph.
After admiring the Arc we hopped on the subway to make our way to the next destination on our list – The Louvre. Much to our delight, we were allowed in free of charge because we were under 25! I hadn’t really thought much about what to expect, but by God I was impressed. The ceilings were incredible. I must have nearly bumped into someone about 7 times because my eyes were transfixed upon the golden framed paintings above. Finding Mona was a workout in itself though. We must have spent around an hour trying to navigate our way through the maze of paintings to set our eyes on the Mona Lisa herself. I recommend you ask a security guard straight away to save precious time! The crowd surrounding the painting was huge but definitely worth waiting for a close up: she’ll be watching…
We decided to then walk to the Eiffel Tower; walking is the best way to discover hidden cafés or cute shops that you might not have ever known of if you had taken a taxi or the subway! I love to feel like I’m eating or shopping like the locals. It probably took us around 40 minutes to reach the Eiffel Tower on a leisurely stroll, I mean, you don’t exactly need a map to find it! We decided to walk through back streets until we came across the base of the colossal tower, it emerged from the off-white Parisian buildings in front of us. In ore of its’ size and structure, we decided to head up to the viewing point which was a quick 15 minute walk away. The weather was perfect to be honest, not too cold for the winter month of February and it didn’t rain! It made for a very moody but seductive Paris, that’s for sure! This area was filled with budding tourists, professional photographers and couples admiring the towers’ beauty from a far. I couldn’t help but take hundreds of photos, it would be rude not to right?
So the Eiffel Tower was amazing to see during the day but I certainly recommend that you see this beauty at night. Its’ glistening frame lights up the dark sky every night, showing off a display every half an hour which is truly captivating…
Tuesday 23rd February: Waking up in Paris felt like I was still dreaming. To make the most of our two days we made sure we woke up bright and early to climb the stairs of the Arc de Triomphe, which looking at it, you wouldn’t expect to be so tiring! The staircase is in the form of a tight spiral running to the very top of the Arc, prepare yourself for a dizzy head! Oh, and the entrance was free for this too; I’ve never felt so lucky to be 23… As we drew closer to the top, the daylight shone bright compelling us to keep climbing to the very top, breaching the surface to see the streets of Paris from above. Distant sounds of the bustling city below: commuters on their way to work, tourists wandering the streets and beeping cars meandering traffic. Yet standing there, camera in hand, it felt peaceful.
To the Montparnasse! We caught the subway to the Montparnasse tower, we heard the views were fabulous and they really were! The roof has an ice-skating rink and a small bar, this would have been great in the summer months but instead we were wrapped up trying to keep my hat from blowing away haha!
Food, food and more food! As passionate foodies ourselves, we wanted to find a cute cafe to eat like the locals! We stumbled upon a hidden cafe, Le Pain Quotidien, tucked away down a back street of Champs-Élysées, as we walked through the door we were greeted with a friendly “Bonjour” and the sweet scent of pastry and coffee. I ordered a hot chocolate with a fruit salad and a pot of delicious chocolate spread… yum! My bestie, Roannah, ordered a traditional slab of bread with all the spreads on offer.
Next stop – Ladurée! When in Paris… lust over macaroons. For a moment I was channelling Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf as my eyes widened, gazing over the countless flavours of perfectly circled macaroons sitting there pretty, tempting me to buy them. I bought a box of 8 to take home with me to share with my family, they were incredible!
Before leaving, we wanted to see the Eiffel Tower one more time to say our farewells to such a beautiful city. I can say I have completely fallen in love with Paris, the people, the streets and the culture!
Au revoir Paris, see you soon!
Love Thy Traveller