Paris. The most romantic city in the world and one of my favourite places to visit – I am so grateful that the world of croissants, cigarettes and berets is only 2 hours away! I couldn’t believe it when my friend Leone told me she had never been to Paris before (!!) so we decided to take advantage of the Eurostar and book a trip to celebrate her birthday (October 2017). Josh’s friend had also always wanted to go so we decided to travel together but split up and explore the city separately – girls vs. boys!
We were booked on the 08:31 Eurostar from London (Leone almost missing check in due to a 6am incident with a spider web) which got us into Paris at 11:51. As Leone has not been to Paris before, I took this trip seriously and created an itinerary (yep) to ensure she got the most out of the trip! We spent the 2 hour train journey discussing our plans, playing cards and chatting.
We arrived at Gare du Nord and headed straight for the ticket machines to get day passes for the metro, and then we split into our groups! After spending a fair bit of time trying to find a validation machine (our tickets did not need to be validated), we hopped on a metro train to Montmatre and took in the sights of the Sacré-Coeur, also known as the Basilique du Sacré Coeur or the Sacred Heart. It’s located at the highest point of the city and you have to climb 270 steps to reach the top, but the views are totally worth it (there is also a funicular if you can’t face the stairs). From there we headed to the Moulin Rouge and took a walk around the local area, whilst marvelling at how every single shop was a sex shop – how do they all make money with so much competition!?
A walking tour was next on our agenda – always a great way to see the best parts of a city in one go. We decided to walk from Montmartre to the Opera House where we would meet with the rest of the walking tour group. On our way we grabbed a quick lunch, took in all the gorgeous Paris streets and stopped to look in some cute shops (and maybe Sephora…).
We were a little early for the walk so we decided to take a look inside the Opera House, also known as the Palais Garnier – Josh and I have a tradition on trips to visit the city Opera House, and this one didn’t disappoint. The Palais Garnier was opened in 1875 and its architecture is beautiful – bronze sculptures are scattered along the front of its façade and include composers such as Beethoven, Mozart and Rossini. The steps of the Opera House seem a popular place for locals and tourists to gather, and there was even a man and mic for entertainment.
During our walking tour we visited the Place Vendome, a famous square that marks the start of the Rue de la Paix (the promenade of designer shops) and is the home of The Ritz and the Vendome Column. Sadly, The Ritz is known as the place where Princess Diana had her last meal shortly before her tragic death on 31 August 1997.
On my last trip to Paris I was lucky enough to get table at the renowned Angelina’s Teahouse, but sadly it was too busy on this trip. If you get a chance, pop in for one of their hot chocolates, you won’t regret it! We then crossed the road and found ourselves in the Jardin des Tuileries – a public garden situated between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde with beautiful views of both. We got a little closer to the Louvre for some pictures, and took a stroll by River Seine in the sunshine.
Dinner was at a little spot by the river called ‘La Fregate’ where we both enjoyed an omelette and frites with a glass of vino…or two. This restaurant was really cute and we ate like true Parisians – outside! However our table neighbours were not French – we were seated between two American couples! One couple were very chatty and we engaged in a long conversation about our trip (they couldn’t believe we arrived that morning and were leaving that evening), our jobs and their journey around Europe.
We enjoyed lunch a bit too much which meant we ran out of time to go to the Eiffel Tower, but Leone was able to experience it from afar. The sun was setting at the time and it made for some beautiful pictures. Next time it will be first on our list of things to do!
All in all it was a great trip, and Leone enjoyed her first experience of Paris! Sadly we couldn’t fit everything in to 8 hours (we had too much fun at lunch), but we did most things on the agenda. The gorgeous weather made it even more enjoyable and meant we could walk everywhere and take in the sunshine instead of getting the metro, although that meant we were exhausted on our train home! We spent the journey napping and looking at our pictures, and were back in London by 21:39.
Thank you, Paris.
Stay tuned for the boys’ day out blog post coming soon.
~ O ~