Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Paris

We managed to travel the world for 12 months, catching numerous planes, trains and buses with no problem. But throw a little snow down in England and we’re hit with a huge disaster.

On the morning of my 30th birthday all I knew was that I had to pack a bag and be ready for 8 in the morning. I was ready at 8 in the morning and so was the Beast from the East apparently. The snow was deep and still falling, and traffic in and out of York was at a stand still…not quite the start Kyle was hoping for, only things were still to get worse.

Not even 2 miles down the road the car gave up hope, she overheated to a major lack of engine coolant, the tank was actually empty. Combine this with all traffic moving at 40mph on the M62 we were massively late for my surprise. 

Half way into our journey I’d guessed that we were heading to the airport, 40 mins before our flight time and a detour to the wrong car park (thanks Google maps), we both guessed that we were going to miss our flight. 

I learnt the destination of my surprise in the dullest way, through no fault of Kyle’s, and all thanks to the check-in clerk when he handed us our “chance only’ tickets to Paris. I mean I was buzzing to be going to Paris, but devastated to be missing the flight!

We were given priority check in, what an absolute waste of time! Since when did hand luggage mean 3 suitcases and 10 handbags per family? Hand luggage is a small bag that fits in this little compartments, not a bag big enough for the contents of your kitchen! Why does nobody check these things when people get their boarding passes? So yeah, “priority” was actually slower than normal thanks to the family in front and we were far too late for our flight, we did get to see it sat on the runway though.

I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed Kyle so mad, I thought this is it birthday surprise over! But seen as we had a return flight and Kyle had paid for the hotel, we got over it, booked new flights and boarded the next plane 3 drinks and 2 hours later!

One hour later we landed in Paris and caught the subway into Paris, all going well…..erm, well it was until the subway line we needed was closed and Paris has the most confusing underground system ever! Even China was easier. However, we were soon at our hotel, The Kensington, and staring at the Eiffel Tower from our bedroom window. Boy did good, hey?

Keen to explore we wrapped up in our woolies and found ourselves alone under the beautifully lit up tower. Neither of us expected to be as impressed as we were, we have spent 30% of our lives in Blackpool, but the Eiffel Tower blew us away! It is stunning and the light show is not one to be missed, especially when it’s so cold nobody else can be bothered and you have the whole tower to yourself! We walked round it, underneath it and thought about going up it, but somebody is still afraid of heights. I’ll let you guess who.

After a lovely first meal, obviously a cheese board and a cheeky glass of wine, this is Paris after all, we were quick to bed after a fairly stressful morning ready to start a fresh and face the next day head on.

We walked 10 miles on our first full day, and to be honest we probably would’ve walked more if it wasn’t so cold. Paris is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to, I am in love! We followed the river to see the main tourist attractions, including the Concorde, the Louvre Pont Alexandre and Notre Damn Cathedral. Everything we saw was so impressive. I felt like my head was thrown in so many directions, there’s bits of gold here, palaces there and statues that are so well looked after. You just get lost in the vibe and comfort of the city.

What made the day more magical was the fact it had snowed over night, so everywhere had a sprinkling of white and I couldn’t help but feel that this is how Paris is meant to be seen.

Of course we lit a candle for Nana in Notre Damn Cathedral, making sure she had prime position for people watching and services. I liked the Cathedral, though not overwhelming in size, the architecture and stained glass windows are unique, and it was interesting to see how the building had developed over time.

Our evening meal was enjoyed in the Latin Quarter, a place I could quite happily move to next week. We had a delicious cheese fondue and of course followed this with a creme brulee and a little more wine. We walked for hours in and out of the little streets in the Latin Quarter, getting lost in the tiny streets, appreciating every different building, looking in boutique shops, drooling over patisseries and wishing we had more time to visit each Bistro.

Drunk and excitable, we spent another night at the Eiffel tower light show, walking around the gardens and stumbled upon the Wall Of Peace. Built in 2000, this monument is made of wood, steel and glass and is dedicated to world peace. A simple yet effective, beautiful piece of art.

Our final day in Paris was a wet one, but not ones to be deterred we set off in search of the Arc de Triumph. Which we found by accident and would’ve completely missed if I didn’t look left. After our epic day of walking the Champs Elysees was tough. Who knew when your watching the Tour De France that this is actually a bit of an incline? Not only that I had to avoid looking in any shops, including Sephora, as I didn’t want to break my own, one bag only, hand luggage rule. So let that be a tip for you if you ever go to Paris, book baggage for the way home if you like shopping, because you’re going to need it!

We had been pleasantly surprised by how quiet Paris had been UNTIL we reached the Arc de Triumph! All the tourists in France must have been there at the same time as us waving their selfie sticks around it was crazy! I’m not shocked, again it is another great site, a roundabout, but still a bloody brilliant one! We used our heads and walked underneath to the other side, where we could view the detail without being barged out of the way!

For lunch we found a cute little bistro for more coffee and cheese and pastry, I couldn’t say no, and revelled in the Parisian life…getting only mildly jealous watching the workers enjoy their lunch breaks with a bottle of wine! I could seriously get used to that?


3 days just isn’t enough, I am desperate to return to Paris, I still want to head to Montmare, eat more of the food on offer and visit the Moulin Rouge, see the parks in Spring. So without a doubt we will return, maybe setting off a little earlier or using the Eurostar next time. But for now je’taime Paris!