Well Paris really is quite fantastic isn’t it?
It was even better than I remembered to be honest. I think as a teen there was no way I could really appreciate it, but now I’m in love! I know more about it, I love the history, the food, the fashion. It’s a big place and naturally there is a lot to take in but me and my mum covered it in ONE DAY! As crazy as that may seem, it was actually a lot of fun and totally achievable. Running around a city, trying to take in all the architecture, sights, smells and sounds, is just one of my favourite things to do. I’ve got to admit, we did it this way because we’re trying our damnedest to be sensible with the pennies and at this point all this budgeting is getting pretty tough -but I’m sticking to it and getting closer to that goal! 🙂
All we knew was that I wanted to see as much of Paris as we could. And we did just that, by embracing the open top tourist buses that go all over the city, allowing you to hop on or hop off wherever you like. There are many of these buses available but we went for the lime-green L’OpenTour option, as it covered much more of the city than the other buses. http://www.parislopentour.com/paris-accueil.php
Initially we had our doubts about it, as the first bus near Gare Du Nord took over an hour to turn up, thanks to the driver clearly having rolled out of bed late (and being very grumpy about it). This was definitely the point where I thought no way are we going to achieve Paris in a day but somehow we DID it.
The first route from Gare Du Nord took us through very heavy traffic at 10am but we eventually got off at La Madeleine, a beautiful church which celebrates St. Mary Magdalene (all the more interesting after a read of the Da Vinci Code eh?).
Then it was on to another bus route, through the centre of the city. I was especially quite enamoured by the architecture and the elabourate wrought-iron balconies that seemed to frame every building we drove past. I also spotted Fauchon, the amazing Parisian luxury food boutique http://www.fauchon.com. I just knew I had to go, just to see the awesome neon pink and black lacquered decor. It really was cool – it was like Patricia Field but for foodies 🙂
I naturally bought macaroons from there. I had never tried them before and for some reason I expected them to be hard but they melt in your mouth like butter – mmmm.
Then it was on to the Louvre:
As soon as I seen the pyramid I was so excited – my first major Parisian sight! I enjoyed hearing my mom’s views on it, though even more, as she last came to Paris in the 60s when the Pyramid didn’t even exist. She kept telling me fun stories of her and her friends getting in trouble in the city and an adorable story about my Grandad seeing the Mona Lisa (his favourite song was Mona Lisa’s Smile by Nat King Cole) and him saying ‘Oh! It’s a bit small isn’t it?!’ hehe – as I imagine many responses to it were!
And to be honest yeah, it was a bit small, and a bit hard to reach. The Louvre is crazy busy, all the time! So it can seem like you have to fight your way through a little bit. In fact in Mona’s room – things were getting a wee bit aggressive! So watch out for those lenses mon amis!
The gallery is much bigger than I expected but we were still so overwhelmed by the amount of people trying to get in, it made us want to leave quite sharpish. But once you do step outside there’s just as much to see – the architecture just blows my mind. Beautiful!
Next we continued across the Pont Neuf bridge to Notre Dame, taking in all the scenery. You can scowl at these bus tours but trust me, if you want to see everything, then this is the way! We were honestly just so happy to be in front of these spectacular buildings and just having a great day out!
Just driving through L’Arc de Triomphe and listening to all the historical facts about Paris, in the little lime-green headphones we were given by the driver, was quite the treat. I was learning facts about the city which I never knew before. It was just making me fall in love with it even more.
To be honest I cannot recommend short trips enough! I’ve done a fair few before and they’re loads of fun because you get to challenge yourself to see how much you can fit in! I decided whilst I was in Los Angeles last year that I was going to see San Francisco by hook or by crook, so I went for a day and a half and I loved it. I got to see so much by getting a bus there too! They are great for spontaneous travel trips where you just decide ‘ you know what? I really just want to see this city’ and bam! you can say you’ve seen it all! It’s all possible!
…Now to continue mine and Mo’s journey through Paris, I just could not wait to see the Eiffel Tower! I had been looking at images of it on Tumblr (follow me on http://martinisandmoonbeams.tumblr.com/) for what felt like weeks, so when I finally seen it through a gap between a few buildings I was ecstatic! You just forget sights like that are real things! I was the same when I went to The Statue Of Liberty – I was just in awe. These emblems of popular culture that we know so well, once they’re in front of you, they’re just even more inspiring. And, well, as you can image, as soon as I got in front of our friend the L’Eiffel Tower…I just couldn’t help myself! HA HA HA…
I cannot tell you how much fun it is just making a fool out of yourself in random places! I have no fear about these things, I just twirl, jump, dance and act like a dork! I just think when you’re travelling around, you don’t know anyone – so just do something silly and laugh and be dumb. It’s so fun!
In fact, get your friends or whoever is around you to get involved too. I noticed on this occasion, actually, that once people started seeing me and Mo jumping and twirling in front of the camera, other people started doing it too.
We were just honestly laughing so hard, I don’t know how you wouldn’t want to join in with us!
Mamma taught me a very valuable lesson growing up, that you have a real age and your inner child’s age. She claims her inner child is 7. Mine is 6.
We continued our trip by getting onto a river cruise along the River Seine. It was such a hot day, just sailing down the Seine was just so dreamy (at points I’ve got to admit I was falling asleep). It was divine, just sailing along at a chilled pace, seeing more of the fantastic Parisian scenery, beautiful statues and the intricate stone carvings (some of the gold covered carvings on the bridges were just incredible!).
We then had to end the day by heading back towards to Gard Du Nord and so towards Montmatre. I was so excited to see this Parisian district – completely swooned by Baz Luhrrman’s vision of the area in Moulin Rouge and it’s quirky, risque style. I also love my mom’s hilarious stories when she was there in the 60s – having to pull her gay guy friend away from the female prostitutes, coz he thought he’d made friends with them. Only the problem was, the pimp didn’t quite see it in the same way! Oops! Haha!
In true Parisian fashion I couldn’t resist a rendition of the Can-Can myself. But rather than continuing to Can-Can when I got home, I actually can’t stop listening to this fabulousness hehe:
And imagining me dancing in a Parisian cafe like this next time (Go Audrey! Go Audrey! It’s ya birthday!):
The facts: I travelled by Eurostar on the first train from London St Pancras Station at 5.25am and returned from Gare Du Nord on the last train at 9.13pm. It was £69 return and we travelled mid-week in July. For more information visit http://www.eurostar.com.
Hit the road Gohos!
L’amour Em xx