It turns out that blogging while travelling is even harder than blogging at home! Hence why it has taken so long to publish one post, but hopefully we will stick to a better schedule from now on. We’re 6 days in now, but we’ll start from the beginning.
Getting to Paris was supposed to be easy…
All we had to do was meet at Paddington and then get the tube to St Pancras by midday. Katy managed fine, she got to Paddington in plenty of time and waited for me. I got on the train from my parents town at 10am, which should have given me plenty of time.
The journey starts well, I’m relaxed and en-route to Paddington. Then we’ll have around an hour to get to St Pancras. That’s all going to plan until the train comes to a total stop at Slough.
10 minutes pass until the announcement that there has been a fatality on the line and no trains will be moving until further notice. Next announcement, there will be delays of around 60 minutes. Then everyone is ordered off the train.
From here I can see my only option is to try and get a taxi as it could be hours until the trains are running again. So I sprint out of the station and jump in one – at this point I’ve only got just over an hour to get to St Pancras and I’m still in Slough. It isn’t looking good.
Luckily we make good progress along the A40 into London, somehow hit no traffic whatsoever, and I stumble into St Pancras with seconds to spare before bumping into Katy who has just arrived. Phew! The taxi cost £60 but in this case it was well worth it. Lesson learned – expect the unexpected and leave LOADS of time for connections!
At least we could finally relax and enjoy the Eurostar. We had a glass of champagne (and some M&M’s) to celebrate.
2 hours 22 minutes later we were in Paris
We had booked an apartment 2 minutes walk from Gare Du Nord. We met the owner straight away and checked in. It was a great base – small but fully featured, and with an incredible view from the 6th floor. We were pretty tired, so we picked up some bread and wine, headed out for a pizza and had an early night.
On the second day all attempts to get up early failed, and we made it out of the door at midday. We had only a rough plan – head to the Lourve and surrounding areas and have a walk around. So that’s what we did. The Lourve is a beautiful building, as are all it’s gardens, and we had a great few hours walking and exploring them. We walked up to Place de la Concorde, up the Champs-Élysées and stopped for some lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant.
Bellies full, we walked some more, the full distance of the Champs-Élysées up to the Arc De Triomphe. By this time however the relentless rain was getting depressing, so we headed back to the apartment with a takeaway. By the evening the weather had cleared up though, so we went on a stroll to the Moulin Rouge for no other reason than for us to get a photo in front of it like typical tourists!
Our last day was the most productive, as it always seems to be on city breaks. We didn’t get up much earlier but did have a plan. We walked from Gare du Nord to Montmartre as we could see the Sacre-Coeur cathedral from the window of our apartment so we were curious. It was only around a 20 minute walk away and after avoiding the scam artists at the entrance we climbed the stairs to the top. The view was pretty special – for a relatively small hill you could see most of Paris.
After popping in the cathedral to see the beautiful interior, we walked on to our next destination – the Canal St. Martin which was lined with lots of interesting shops, cafes and street art. After all this walking, we were again hungry so sought out another Vietnamese, this one even better than the first!
Lunch finished, we hopped on the Metro and went to see the Pompidou centre. I’d always wanted to see this building in person as I’ve been fascinated by it since seeing it in a book as a kid. It still looks really cool! We were tempted to go to the gallery itself but short on time, we opted just to admire it from the outside.
We then walked across the Seine and explored Notre Dame for a while, taking in our second cathedral of the day.
In the evening we finally made it out for some French food, at a bistro near our apartment. Lots of meat and a bottle of wine later, we were ready for what we had been most looking forward to.
The Eiffel Tower
Before we left I made sure to book tickets for the Eiffel Tower as we wanted to see it on our last night. For days before we were checking the weather forecast and it continually said heavy rain so we didn’t have high hopes. Somehow though the whole of Friday was completely dry!
When we arrived at 9.30 it was clear we needn’t have pre booked – the line for ticket holders was longer than those without! After around 10 minutes waiting we were on our way up one of the legs of the tower. We arrived at the second floor and were immediately taken aback by the view. I’ve been up lots of tall buildings in lots of cities, but the view here was definitely one of the best. Sadly the top of the tower was closed – not entirely sure why as the weather was calm and clear – but it didn’t matter too much as the view was still fantastic.
And that was the end of our short but very enjoyable time in Paris. The next day we were taking a train to Frankfurt to visit Katy’s family, but that’s for another post.