Paris Diary: Part 2

On Tuesday, we had planned to go to the Louvre, it was the one museum we really wanted to go to and we were excited to go and see some amazing art and sculptures. We got up bright and early and headed across on the Metro there, when we got there we found out that the museum is closed on Tuesdays, just our luck! I would have thought that if it was shut any days it would be Sunday and Monday but obviously it’s Tuesday in Paris so do bear that in mind if you plan on going there if you go to Paris. So we headed for a coffee in order to rearrange our day with other things we had planned to do later on in the week.

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After coffee we decided to hit some of the shops nearby including Zara, Forever 21, Sephora etc and as the clock quickly rolled around to 12pm we set off in search of food. That days choice was Hard Rock Cafe because I can not visit a city in the world that has a Hard Rock Cafe and not go there. After an insanely long walk up to Boulevard Montmartre we arrived at Hard Rock as the heat of the day was really starting to make itself known. As much as I love Hard Rock and the whole vibe of the place I forever complain about the veggie food they have on offer. There isn’t much choice so I always end up going for the veggie burger even though I hate the pattie because it is way too meaty in flavour and texture, my mum [a meat eater] agrees with me that it is way too meaty for a veggie burger. Obviously it is veggie but after being vegetarian for over 10 years that burger is just too weird for me to eat. Anyway the Paris restaurant in the chain did not disappoint, an open restaurant with plenty of memorabilia, friendly staff and the cocktails were as usual to die for – my usual of Southern Rock went down an absolute treat in the early afternoon.

After dinner we headed across to the Opera district, where we saw the sheer beauty of the Opera House buildings and we totally paid a visit to Pierre Hermes for some macarons. They were quite reasonable priced, it was around 8 euros for 4 small macarons which for this quality isn’t too bad. I had a chocolate one [beautiful] and raspberry and pistachio one [nice flavours individually but for me didn’t work together] and mum had chocolate for one and rose for the other [both amazing apparently].

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That night we walked down Boulevard Magenta towards the Republique district, an area I really wanted to visit as I had a list of bars to visit. In the first La Patache I found my new favourite cider – a French made light apple cider with a slightly champagne overtone to it from the brut addition. Across the street we went for a crepe, I wasn’t overly hungry after a big dinner but I ordered a dessert chocolate and orange crepe and was so disappointed – the crepe was cold, the chocolate bitter, the orange too overpowering and the vanilla ice cream was overly vanilla almost perfumed. I felt bad leaving the whole plate but I literally could not stomach it, sorry to the server that had to take my full plate away but it just wasn’t for me. After another cocktail in a bar around the corner we headed back ready for another packed day.

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The next day consisted of a boat trip down the Seine taking in the sights of Paris from the river which is one of my favourite things to do in any city. It was a highlight of my London trip, a highlight of my Amsterdam trip and now a highlight of my Paris trip. Boat tours really do give you a whole different perspective of a city and it always hammers home the importance of a great river to a great city and the history that then surrounds it over the years. The boat tour lasted for an hour and took in the sights, sounds and long history of Paris. My photos from the boat tour weren’t all that brilliant but have a photo of me in front of the Eiffel Tower from before the boat tour instead.

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After the tour we walked up to the Arc De Triomphe via a little pop up market where we bought some amazing but very expensive strawberries to snack on while we walked. We reached the Arc De Triomphe and though again like all monuments in Paris is it stunning they were doing some building work on the side of it so not really a great time or opportunity to get a picture. By now it was around 1pm and the day was really getting hot so we went for a drink at one of the many cafes on the Champs Elysees and watched the hustle and bustle go by before decamping much further down the incredibly long street for a well earned lunch of a lovely baguette and an amazing beetroot, apple and blackberry juice drink I got from the M&S there is on there.

After lunch we carried on walking down the road taking in the sites of Paris before we ended up at the beautiful fountains at the end of the street that feature in one of my favourite films, The Devil Wears Prada. The fountains Anne Hathaway’s character, Andi, throws her phone in at the end are those one and I think that makes them even more special for me. They are clearly the most amazing looking fountains I’ve seen [bar the Trevi Fountain at night in Rome] but having a relation to a film, song, book etc that you love always makes things more amazing I think. Heading across to the gardens that are at the back of the Louvre for a late afternoon sit in the very hot sun by one of the massive pools was just a lovely end to a busy morning and early afternoon full of walking. Plus managed to catch a bit of a tan on my legs while I was sat there too.

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We headed back to the hotel and tiredness obviously caught up with me as I ended up having a 2 hour long nap as a result of that we stayed local to the hotel for food but luckily being so close to one of the big stations in Paris there was plenty of places to eat. Omelette and fries eaten and heading to a couple of bars after before we made our way back for the night.

The next morning we ventured on our rescheduled Louvre trip. We got there just before 10am as we knew that there was going to be a lot to see and we did end up spending the majority of the day in there as well. We went to buy tickets and at 12 euros they are reasonably priced for the size of the museum, I got in for free as well as I was under 25 which was a huge bonus and again an idea museums in this country should have I think as usually after the age of 12 you have to pay and I think that discourages a lot of teenagers and young adults from discovering more about history and art.

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Anyway onto the museum itself it was busy as hell and so confusing even though me and mum both had a map we got lost in the vast size of the place a hell of a lot, it didn’t help that a lot of it was closed off anyway for redevelopment so trying to make detours to get to where we wanted to go resulted in getting more lost. As a result I didn’t get to visit the Medieval or Renaissance exhibitions which is a massive shame as they are the parts of history I’m most interested in, especially in terms of Renaissance art. We did get to see the Roman, Greeks and Eygptians exhibition though which is another of my favourite historical eras and there was just so much amazing stuff in there that I really can’t put into words how much museums constantly astound me with their preservation of such old items.

We then went to seek out the Mona Lisa which even for us wasn’t difficult as there are so many signs for it. The amount of people crowding round it taking pictures is insane and the amount of people taking selfies pulling stupid faces with it in the background is also insane. I decided to use the iPhone zoom feature to the max and stand in a less crowded area to get probably a terrible photo but whatever. For me though the best picture I saw all day is the boats on the darkened river with the moonlight holding pride of place over it. As soon as I saw the painting I was totally drawn to it, the deep dark colours of the night sky and darkened river and the people bustling about in shadows but then the glow that is coming from the moon and the fire in the corner is just something else. I’m not sure my picture captures the full beauty of this painting but honestly in real life it is stunning and mesmerising to look at. I’m never usually one to wax lyrical about art and I really don’t know why this hit me so much but I just absolutely adore the work that has gone into it and it was by a mile my art highlight of the museum trip.

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After the Louvre we headed into the gardens behind it again and ate lunch as again it was such a lovely day. After the relaxed lunch we caught the Metro up to the Montmartre district, had a drink at a lovely little bar before setting off on the quest to find the Moulin Rouge. We found it quite quickly and really it’s not that difficult to spot, we took pictures and then carried on walking on a quest for ice cream as we realised we’d been away all week reached the last day and not yet had an ice cream. We walked through a quite dodgy area of Paris because though the Moulin Rouge is an attraction for all these days, the surrounding area is just a horrible area to walk through. We walked for well over an hour before reaching the Sacre Couer, I’m not even sure why it took that long to get there, it looked so close on the map but we were tired and in serious need of some sugar. We ended up in the Haagen Dazs shop opposite the Sacre Couer and I ordered the most expensive yet most amazing ice cream ever, 3 scoops – chocolate, chocolate chip cookie and caramel in a cone, it cost around 8 euros but it was so damn good. We ate it in the gardens of the Sacre Couer and then with full stomachs, plenty of sugar in us and the ice cream mission completed we walked the 15 minute walk back to the hotel.

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For our last night, we planned to head down to the Bastille and check out some of the nice bars down there. There are some lovely bars there and if you are ever in Paris I recommend that area and the Republique area for bars and nice food at much more affordable prices than in the centre of Paris. The first bar we went in I had a lovely whiskey cocktail that was very strong but perfect for the sore throat I’d been sporting for the past couple of days. Across the food I had 2 Mai Tai cocktails which were so refreshing it was a little like a mojito but with rum instead and sugar was in there too but it really was so so nice and one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had! Even though it was 9pm by now we’d not eaten dinner as we were still full from the late afternoon ice cream binge though we were clearly starving as we headed for a burger and inhaled it in less than 5 minutes. It may have been due to the fact that it was absolutely delicious though. We went to Bastille Burger which is perfect for burger lovers, for meat eaters a mix of chicken, beef and pork and a couple of veggie options for me, lots of toppings, perfectly cooked fries and plenty of other options to make your burger your own. I guess you could compare it to Handmade Burger in this country. It’s relatively inexpensive at around 9 euros for a burger and fries and then drinks ranging from cheaper soft drinks to milkshakes, tea, coffee or alcohol. My veggie burger was so good and it was a perfect end to the night and the trip as the next day we were up early to head back on yet another traumatic Megabus journey.

Bar the coach journeys and the rudeness of some of the people I encountered, we had an amazing time. We packed plenty into our trip, we walked so much, enjoyed some amazing food and I had a really good birthday. I love Paris, it is definitely one of my favourite cities for it’s rich history and architecture, amazing food, wonderful culture and so much stuff to see and do. Until next time Paris.

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