So I did it. I went to Paris. Was it everything I had hoped for?
I’ll start from the beginning. I dropped Dexter off to a very obliging best friend who kindly took him to school for me, and I made my way to St Pancras where I met mon ami for the day, Alice from An Essex Wife. In fact, she photobombed me as I was doing a selfie and that’s how we found each other!
Customs and the checking-in procedure for the Eurostar was painless, although, of course, I set the x-ray machine off as usual and was given a very thorough body search … but I’ve grown quite fond of it now! It happens every time I travel so I’m not phased by it any more. Dexter is convinced it’s my “dodgy face.”
You have to check in 45 minutes prior to departure so we didn’t have long to wait before we could board the train. You are already allocated a seat so there is no real need to rush because you know where you’re sitting. It was a busy train but we didn’t foresee any problems with our journey. However, there had been a fire in the Eurotunnel the previous weekend and the knock-on effect was that our journey would actually be over an hour late.
I can’t fault the Eurostar staff who kept us fully informed on what was going on, unlike my usual train operator. In fact, because they were over an hour late, we have been offered 50% off our next Eurostar ticket, which I will definitely be using.
Alice I chatted all the way to Paris. We tried out the on-board bar for purely research purposes, but decided against a glass of Leroy and went for a coffee instead. Which didn’t taste as nice as champagne would have done.
The journey took just over three hours and we arrived at Gare de Nord 1pm France time. We didn’t really have a plan for the day, other than the fact that I really wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, so we looked at the tube map and decided that we would head to Notre Dame and walk along the Seine from there. Alice suggested going to Disneyland Paris for some fun and games, and I was tempted, but I didn’t think Dexter would forgive me if I went!
Alice speaks some French, I speak un petit peu, but between us, we managed to work out where we needed to be and I wasn’t nervous at all. In fact, even if I had been on my own, I think I would have still managed to get where I needed to be. I think some women are scared to travel on their own and you do, of course, have to have your wits about you, but there is no reason at all why you should let the fear stop you experiencing new things. It really upsets me to hear friends of mine say “Oh I’m waiting for Dave to take me to XYZ.” I would imagine if Dave hasn’t taken you already, chances are he probably won’t … so why not just take yourself?
Slight preach over, once we arrived at Notre Dame we headed out to the cathedral – you can’t really miss it! The architecture was amazing and we were blessed with awesome weather and although cold, it wasn’t bitter. We even had a blue sky and sunshine too!
It was definitely beer o’clock by now so we found a local cafe where we could sit outside and look at the cathedral. The prices were quite expensive, but I expected that being in a touristy area. I think we paid about €4.5 for a really small beer. Having said that, sat outside that cafe, in Paris, it couldn’t have tasted sweeter.
Just ignore the next part where we had to decide whether to go left or right at the Notre Dame and went the wrong way up the Seine for an hour. After some excellent map reading by Alice, (think Joey standing IN the map in Friends), and we were finally back on track.
I loved the idea of just sitting in a cafe and watching the world pass us by all day but in reality we were only there for another four hours before we had to make our way home, and so we just decided ‘to wander.’ An excellent plan I think you’ll agree!
Now we were back on track, we were quite sure we were going in the right direction and just followed the river, admiring the architecture and riverboats as we passed. You are obviously restricted to how much you can fit in by just going to Paris for a day trip, but I think we fit a lot in!
Another iconic sight we came across was this one:
Isn’t it stunning? Alice and I knew of a couple of friends who had actually left a lock on the bridge before we arrived but strangely enough, we couldn’t find them 🙂 But the romantic in me was really touched by the sight of this ‘Love Lock’ bridge – quite if you’d find somewhere to put your own though, I’m not sure!
The city was really quiet. Eerily so, and I can only think that this was down to a combination of it being low season and also the recent events that had happened in Paris and perhaps put people off going.
Our next plan was … to do more wandering up the Seine! … but by now we were getting a little peckish. Tune in to Part II of my review to find out what the food was like!