Sounds very romantic right? Well, it kinda was except I was going there for non personal reasons already but I thought this would present an excellent opportunity to buy Faye a ticket and do some sightseeing whilst we were there. The trip was a huge success and we both had a lot of fun. So much so that by the time we did get home we were so shattered that we pretty much went straight to sleep!
First things first, we managed to get seats next to each other both ways up which was a bloody miracle as the trains were packed. As usual the Eurostar service was excellent and I couldn’t recommend it enough for getting places where possible. I even managed to sleep on the way up which was a godsend considering we had to get up at 4:30am!
Let’s get the second thing out of the way – the Eiffel Tower. Kinda cool, kinda awesome – then boring as hell. It is nice to look at, especially at night but at the end of the day it’s a hunk of Iron and we did leave pretty sharp-ish. We walked around for about an hour, saw the queue to go up and thought “sod that” then took more photo’s and left. It was unfortunate really because it was bloody freezing cold and there was a ton of building work which kinda ruined the atmosphere. I suspect in the summer the entire experience is much nicer especially once the building work is complete. They plan on building a middle floor which people can go up with some shops and cafes and things which sounds great. A modern twist on a historical and iconic landmark could work really well for Paris as a whole because let’s face it – there is not much else to do in that area.
That evening we found a really great aspect of Paris though and suprise suprise, like the Italians, it’s about Food. Restaurants were open for quite a while. We left our hotel at around 11:30 PM, walked for 1 minute down the road and bought ourselves an amazing desert. Camembert and some Chocolate brownie/tart thing that was amazing. That is just not possible here in England unless you are one of the lucky few that live next to a restaurant that are willing to take on such crazy customers. Either way, it really was the cherry on top of a very good day.
The next day after a really good nights rest (well sort of good – my mattress had huge dip which leads me to believe someone incredibly heavy slept in that room the night before) we were ready for the days activities. My very clever and very wise girlfriend thought it would be a good idea to hire some bikes to Montparnasse tower instead of walking. It seriously was a nice idea and the bikes themselves are a great addition to the city. They are very much like the Boris bikes in London but without Barclays plastered all over it. It was also just as cheap.
After faffing around for an hour to get the bikes out of the stands (I’m exaggerating) we were off. The journey ended up being quite pleasant reaching our destination in 1 hour. Side note: walking would have taken 10 minutes because we got lost on the bikes (no exaggeration!) The top of the tower was absolutely amazing and for a mere 13 euros we saw the entirety of the City.
It really was a beautful site and unfortunately the pictures do not do it justice due to the fog. These photos are from the observation deck but the level below you could look through glass and the room was littered with 30″ touch screen displays that would allow you to zoom in to different areas of the City and allow you to learn about what each building was and it’s history.
After some crepes and horribly expensive coffee and tea we were back on the bikes to Notre Dame and it was a journey and a half. If you really want to see a City in all it’s glory don’t just take the underground transport, also take some bikes and ride on the road. It’s fun, exhilarating at times and you see so much and getting lost means you really learn about the City. I suspect this method wouldn’t work in a place like New York but certainly most European Cities.
Unfortunately Notre Dame was very busy so we didn’t go inside however like proper tourists we took lots of photo’s. I shall spare you from them all so here is just the one however the best thing about going to Notre Dame was the journey (sounds disgusting I know). We were on main roads with taxi’s flying past us. We were on one way streets going the wrong direction. We were on small pavements when the roads were just too damn scary. The cycle paths around the City are brilliant – so long as you can recognise there is a cycle path which was a mistake we made early on! This isn’t to say that the Metro wasn’t good because it was. Reminded me of the tube quite a lot actually apart from it was a little smaller and in some ways more difficult to navigate for tourist (although this is something I would imagine). The Metro wasn’t a joy though – the bikes were and for that reason Faye became quite attached. Exhibit A.
Overall it was a great trip with the only downside that were not there for longer. A lot was crammed into a short amount of time but Paris is a great city. We really wanted to see the Louvre also but strangely it is closed on Tuesday’s. To a certain extent I was glad it was closed. It allowed us to explore further and not feel quite as rushed. I would recommend Paris to anyone – but it’s more of a 3/4 day holiday and you will need a lot of money if you plan on eating out. 36 hours in Paris including travel would have cost just under £400 and that was us being careful. It’s worth it just be prepared! 🙂