Paris

15 July



I’ve wanted to go to Paris for a very long time (and can’t believe I haven’t been before considering how close it is!) so on our anniversary way back in November, Pete suprised me with a long weekend trip which we decided to book for June. Rather than going with a travel agent we booked flights (was cheaper than Eurostar at the time and we could travel from Birmingham) and hotel individually which turned out pretty well both on cost and getting times and locations we wanted. We had looked at AirB&B but there wasn’t any difference in cost and the check in times weren’t as good as well as the hotel being able to store luggage until check in.

 

 

When we had landed and stored our backpacks at the hotel we headed for Notre Dame. The walk from the metro station to the cathedral was pretty, crossing the river. It was a spectacular cathedral, we at first just looked from the outside and then headed for lunch. We picked a place close by and sat outside (the weather was amazing whilst we were there, so sat outside as often as we could). We were both very keen to try and speak what French we could so when we were done I went inside to ask for the bill in French - unfortunately she responded in French and I have no idea what she said! I took it she was asking where we were sat so I pointed at out table and said “just over there” and ran away! Not very French... Once we had managed to pay (and grabbed a crepe en route) we headed back to Notre Dame to have a look inside. It was amazing on the inside too, the stained glass windows and the architecture along with the story of the build (particularly the length of the build - 200 years!) were really interesting. We would have liked to go up the tower too but the tickets were fully sold out so we instead headed for Conciergerie. It was a political building turned prison which at once point held Mary Antoinette. 



There was an art installation when we went in which was pretty impressive, bringing the Seine inside to symboloise when the building got flooded. There were areas that were very clearly the political areas before you move through to the cells and yard area. It was worth having the visit and we were glad we’d found it in the guide book because it was quite hidden so not something we would have stumbled upon (it meant it wasn’t overly crowded as well). 

 

 

After we headed back to the hotel (Hotel d’Argenson, which was a lovely hotel with a great mini balcony) to check in and change before heading out again for the evening. We went for some drinks at a place called Flow which was right on the river - it seemed a little hip for us (as we are not hip in the slightest!) but it was nice to chill out by the river in the sun. We stopped at Le Bistro Marbeuf for dinner where I had sea bass and Pete had duck, both were lovely as well as it being a lovely restaurant and very helpful waiters. We then moved on to Trocadéro to see the Eiffel Tower - we arrived in the light and watched as it got darker and the tower got lit up. We hung around for the light show which was very pretty. 

 

 

The next morning we were up pretty early to get to and queue to go up the Eiffel Tower. It’s pretty cool seeing it up close from the base. We were expecting huge queues but we were up within 45 minutes (including second elevator). I have to admit, I was dreading the lift and Pete wasn’t helping but it was fine in the end. The views were great, we went to the top first then made our way to second level and I thought it was worth doing both as they were very different perspectives. 

 



Once we were down we went for an walk round the Champs de Mars park then onto an early lunch which we had sat outside in the sun. Because we had been up the Eiffel Tower a lot quicker than expected we were actually ahead of time with our plan for the day so we decided to go to Montmartre for the afternoon. 


When we got there we decided to climb the steps rather than take the vernacular to Sacré-Cœur. We had a look inside the church, which despite the crowds didn’t take long to get into. The view from the front was amazing so we didn’t feel the need to do more climbing to the top so we then moved onto exploring the area which was so pretty with a buzzing atmosphere. There were many restaurants, bars and brasseries as well as touristy shops and ice cream places. We did go to the vineyard but they were closed. After a good look around and a sit outside with a drink and afternoon snack we headed back to the hotel for a nap and a refresh before the evening. 



For dinner we went to La Fourmi which had been recommended by the guide book as a casual place. They were very friendly there and we were able to sit outside. We started with a drink and whilst the menu was limited we were both happy with a burger so stayed to eat. Whilst we were there we were looking at other things to do whilst we were there; I’d wanted to go to Moulin Rouge but Pete wasn’t fussed and due to the price we decided to leave it. We looked into a river cruise but a lot were booked already and were nearly as much as the Moulin Rouge so we had a look and booked to go the following evening! Pete was prepared to give it a go because he knew I’d love it and so we just said sod it and booked.



After dinner and drinks we made our way back to Montmartre as Pete said there was a great evening vibe there so we went back, had another look around. There were more artists round that we could watch work and we had a drink before heading back to the hotel for the evening.

Sunday morning we had pre booked with Holland Bikes to go on a cycle highlights tour of Paris which we were really excited for. They we based near the Arc de Triomphe and we ended up having breakfast at a place on the Champs-Èlysèes as the patisserie by the hotel was closed but it was lovely to have the change and it was exactly what we were after. Holland bikes are a little tricky to find as they are in an underground car park but they are signed well enough and we knew from Pete’s previous visit they were a good company to go with. 



It was a fantastic way to see Paris, because we’d been using the metro it was lovely to take in the streets and sights and the tour encompasses the main sites as well as stopping in a beautiful square for lunch and we enjoyed seeing some of the sites again from another perspective and some we hadn’t seen such as the Louvre and Le Centre Pompidou. We were out for a good few hours and throughly enjoyed it all and it was topped off perfectly by cycling back on the Champs-Èlysèes. 

 

We then went for a closer look and a climb up the Arc de Triomphe. We went underground and came up into the centre of the roundabout. It’s an impressive monument and I didn’t know until we were there about the Eternal flame. We went to the top which gave some impressive views and was cool perspective on all the roads that stem away.

 

After a spot of lunch we had a walk down Champs-Èlysèes, popping into some of the shops (Disney store was a must!) and then onto the hotel to get ready for Moulin Rouge.

 

We booked the Moulin Rouge with the champagne option which was well worth doing and we were right at the front. There queuing system to get in had been a bit odd but once we were in it was brilliant, the lighting and decor was great, setting the scene for the show. I don’t want to give away too much about the show itself because it’s one of those that is better when you don’t know what is going to happen but I will say that it was brilliant, we both had a fantastic time and agreed it was well worth going to. It was a great way to finish the trip.

 


Dawn x


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