Paris Part I
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Hannah and I are back from a fantastic few days in Paris! If you asked us what our favourite part was, I don’t think we’d be able to answer. We packed so much into our time there and loved every single minute of it. We walked a lot (and I mean a lot) clocking up over 75,000 steps in three days. Don’t worry, we made up for it straight away with lots of wonderful French cheese and crêpes!
We travelled over by Eurostar which we found to be a lot more relaxed than flying (French train strikes aside!) and the train brings you right into the centre of Paris which is a lot more convenient than a flight into Charles de Gaulle. There’s also no liquid restrictions like on flights which makes packing a lot easier (what more reason did we need to pack a bottle of bubbly for the journey). We checked straight into our hotel once we got there to freshen up before heading out. The hotel had these lovely little Juliet balconies, so we could admire the street below.
We’d left our first evening open to see how we felt and what we fancied eating. When booking the trip we had looked into seeing a show at The Moulin Rouge, but had a small cardiac event when we saw the prices. On a whim I checked to see if there were any discounted tickets for that evening and there were! They still weren’t cheap by any means, but we would absolutely say they were worth it. We went to the late showing of Féerie at 11PM and it was truly fantastic. The atmosphere, the music and the dancing were incredible, we just didn’t want it to end. It’s also worth noting that your tickets come with a bottle of champagne to share between the two of you, so you can toast to the trip you have planned ahead of you whilst watching the Doriss Girls dance the Cancan at the famous little red windmill.
Seeing as our show was so late and our next morning was an early start we hadn’t had a great deal of sleep, but we weren’t letting that get in the way. We’d set our alarms early as we wanted to get to the catacombs before they opened. I can’t tell you how much it is worth dragging yourself out of bed if you want to see this underground tunnel network that holds the remains of over six million people (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say). I won’t bore you with the entire history lesson, but I will say that it was one of the most interesting but deeply strange places I’ve ever been to. A warren of passages with neatly stacked up human bones on each side from floor to ceiling. The reason you want to get there early is because they only let 200 people in an hour and by the time they open the doors there’s already a queue over 400 people long. So, grab a pain au chocolat to go and get yourself in line.
After our hour underground, we emerged back onto the streets of Paris well in need of some fresh air and sunlight, so we headed in the direction of Jardin de Luxembourg, a pretty park which was on our walking route towards Notre-Dame.
There’s lots of options for getting a great view of Paris, but we decided on Notre-Dame as we wanted an inner-city view with the Eiffel Tower in (the view from the Eiffel Tower is almost identical but has Notre-Dame in instead, so take your pick). It’s a lot of steps but the views on a clear day are fab, we could take in all the city’s landmarks. It’s also free to just go into the cathedral, which showcases some pretty spectacular stained-glass windows. If you want to go up the tower, download and book via the Jefile app, it allocates you a time slot which saves lots of waiting around.
After lunch at a bistro near Notre-Dame we wandered in the direction of the Louvre, stopping at a few market stalls along the way to pick up souvenirs.
We didn’t go in to the Louvre as with such a tight schedule we only had time for one art museum and we chose Musée d’Orsay (more about that in another post), but the Louvre is worth a stop for the beautiful glass pyramids they’ve built over the entrance, think Da Vinci Code.
Just over the road from here is the Palais Royal, a palace and gardens with arcades of shops. In the courtyard are Daniel Buren’s striped columns, which we thought looked like a cross between liquorice allsorts and mint humbugs.
We carried on in the direction of the Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe, with a quick pit stop to enjoy the sunshine in the Tuileries Gardens. Yet again we seemed to be very lucky with the weather on this trip, we were wandering around in spring dresses with just light jackets, a welcome change from the April showers (more like torrential downpours) back home.
You can’t go to Paris without taking the time out to see the Eiffel Tower, and isn’t she a beauty! For the best views head to Rue de Université but be prepared for potential crowds of tourists. It’s really unpredictable, there was hardly anyone when we arrived, but then we turned to see a huge tour bus of people heading in our direction, so we quickly snapped a few pics and headed on.
Spring is such a beautiful time in Paris with blossom on the trees and flowers blooming everywhere you look.
After a day of walking all over Paris we decided to grab food and a couple of beers from the local delicatessen to eat back at the hotel, before collapsing into bed (with our alarms set ready for Disneyland!).