After potentially the most stressful journey ever [only topped by the journey back home] we arrived in Paris after hours and hours of coach travel and word of warning I would not recommend Megabus for a journey to Paris. The cramped conditions and not stopping for the majority of the journey made for one of the worst starts and ends to my holiday I’ve ever experienced and genuinely made me ill with how long I was cramped into one seat for.
Anyway, I’ll move onto the good stuff now and that was the entire trip really bar the constant staring me and my tattoos received and the rudeness of many Parisians it was a very successful and enjoyable week away from England. Sunday was out first day in the capital of France and we spent it exploring some of the landmarks that are a bit further out of the centre of Paris. Firstly, the Sacre Couer, it was around a 10-15 minute walk there from our hotel but with the nice warm weather it was a lovely and enjoyable walk up there. As usual the building stunned me to silence, the sheer scale, beauty and wonderful architecture of the building is just insane and we spent a good half an hour or so just sitting there taking everything in. A quick coffee stop, pick up of a few touristy pieces and a quick tour around the chocolate shop my beady eyes immediately spotted and we walked back to Gare Du Nord station to catch the Metro down to the Bastille.
The Bastille is by far one of my favourite monuments in Paris, it seems rather simple in comparison to other buildings and sights in Paris but the simplicity gives it poignancy to commemorate the deaths and bad times of Paris. It was pretty busy around the Bastille on the Sunday as it was the Paris marathon that day so we walked up the Seine with the intention of going to the Pompidou centre. Some museums and attractions are free for all on the first Sunday of the month in Paris which I think is a brilliant incentive to get more people visiting museums and more cities should adopt this approach in my opinion. However, when we got there the queue was so huge and we were so hungry that we decided to pass on the Pompidou for food and some more walking around the city instead. Just around the corner from the Pompidou in a little square was an abundance of restaurants and coffee shops so we picked one and I’m so glad we went for the one we did. I don’t remember the name but it sold crepes – savoury and sweet ones, I went for a savoury as it was lunch time and to my surprise they had an array of vegetarian options. I went for the tofu crepe filled with slightly spiced tofu, cheese, tomatoes and onion in a whole-wheat crepe it was literally one of the most delicious and filling meals I’ve ever eaten. It was more on the expensive side on what I would usually pay for a crepe with side salad and a drink but in terms of Paris prices and the amount you got it was actually quite reasonable.
After that we headed to a flower market – cue plenty of insta-worthy snaps from me and then onto the Notre Dame and the surrounding streets. Again the Notre Dame is one of those buildings whose sheer size, beauty and architecture as well as the history surrounding it just completely takes your breath away fully astounding you. We had a much needed drink as daytime drinking in Paris is basically mandatory before heading back to the hotel and getting ready for heading out for our night time meal and some drinks. I took my mum to my favourite bar in Paris and she loved it too, hence why we spent so long there that.
Monday was my 23rd birthday so what we decided to do on that day was completely up to me, which for the most indecisive person in the world ever was actually quite a daunting task. After stocking my stomach full of all of the French pastries at the hotel breakfast, which was free and all you can eat full of wonderful fare FYI, we headed out and down to Boulevard Saint Germain des Pres for a day of walking, exploring and spending some of my cash because if you can’t treat yourself on your birthday then there is just no point is there.
We started at the far end of the long street and made our way up, after an hour or so we stopped for a coffee before carrying on for me to find Kilo Shop, a vintage store and Sephora before heading off after a couple 2-3 hours walking to pick up some bits at City Pharma and then heading to Lauduree for lunch. A nice little treat in the form of those macarons because again it was my birthday. We only opted for a macaron, ice cream and a drink as the sandwiches were on the very expensive side but a large macaron with a scoop of ice cream was more than enough to conquer my sugar cravings. I went for the chocolate macaron which was beautiful and the salted caramel ice cream which was just perfect.
As mid-afternoon rolled around we headed to the Eiffel Tower to spend a good hour or so in the sunshine and the shadow of one of the most iconic structures in the world. It was pretty special to visit the tower for my birthday and I think it is another one of those moments that I will never forget. I didn’t go up the tower as my fear of heights is way too extreme but sitting in the sun with a drink and the lovely view was good enough for me.
After heading back to get ready we headed over to the streets surrounding the Notre Dame for dinner. After a few restaurant mishaps and an epic lightening storm [why is there always a storm on my birthday when I go to Europe?] we ended up in a lovely restaurant near St Michel metro station. I had an Italian tart which was a bit like a savoury tarte tatin in the way it was put together with cheese, basil and tomato with a lovely side salad and beautiful fries to share with my mum and inevitably bread which comes with basically every meal for free there. I was full but birthdays call for desserts and I’m glad I had this one. A chocolate crepe [well 2 actually] which was so gorgeous my mouth is salivating just thinking about it. Honestly, the chocolate in there was some of the best I have ever tasted. After a couple more drinks it was a wonderful end to a lovely birthday.
Part 2 of my Paris diary will be up soon.