Initially when organising my holidays, I had intended to stay with my friend C in Paris for 3 or 4 days. Unfortunately though, like they easily do, our plans changed. Despite it all though, I managed to squeeze in a tiny visit before embarking home. And didn’t we fit a lot in!
I got into Paris Bercy around 10pm on Wednesday night after a rather quick trip from London. It was my first time going through the Euro Tunnel and that was a strange experience to say the least. I met C and her new man friend O at the station and we headed into the city for a quick night cap right near Opera National before heading back to C’s house in Maison’s Lafitte for some shut eye.
We woke the next morning rather late (we didn’t get back until 2:30am though!) and were greeted with the sound of rain and miserable looking weather. Not to be disheartened we got organised and jumped on the Metro and headed into the city for a day of playing tourist. First stop was La Defensé where we grabbed some coffee and walked through the shopping centre to the Grand Arche. This amazing structure is perched on a set of stairs and gazes out over the Champs Élysée. It was pretty cloudily but you could just see the Arc de Triomphe in the distance. We stood in one particular spot where there is a black line running directly from the Grand Arche to the Arc de Triomphe. We followed this black line down to the Champs Élysée where we strolled through the luxurious street, admiring the extravagance and the brands I can can only one day dream of being able to afford – like Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. We walked down the entire street, getting rained on most of the way until we changed direction and walked towards the Invalides going via Pont Alexandre III, for a stunning view of the Seine and a glimpse of her Majesty, the Eiffel Tower. Despite the gloomy, miserable weather, the ornate gold statues shone brightly, making walking through the wind and rain worth it.
We continued onto Napoleon’s Tomb which is nothing short of incredible. The detail and wealth that has gone into creating this building has made it an absolute wonder to look at. Napoleon certainly achieved his goal of never being forgotten – one step into his tomb and you will never forget his name. When we came out of Napoleon’s Tomb the rain had stopped and the sun started to peek out from behind the grey clouds. Our spirits lifted a little and our stomachs growled a lot so we headed down to the Metro again to go to our next stop – Chipotle. Now, I am totally aware of how un-Parisian of me it is not snack on a baguette or a croissant for lunch but C has been raving about this Chipotle business ever since I met her three years ago. Seeing as though I haven’t made it to America yet to experience it with her there – we settled for the Paris version and let me assure you, this did not disappoint. Chipotle – for all you Aussies out there like myself who had never heard of it before – is a chain of Mexican restaurants that make the most delicious burrito bowls I have ever tasted. Topped off with fresh guacamole and their smoky Chipotle sauce and you have heaven in a styrofoam bowl. We sat and chatted for a while, letting our lunch digest before a coffee refuel and a quick catch up with C’s friend and fellow au pair G.
The rain started to come down again but C and I were unstoppable. After coffee we went to the nearest Metro and headed in the direction of the Notre Dame. To our delight but the time we got there the rain had stopped again and the sky cleared up completely, making the already magnificent Notre Dame even more beautiful. We ventured inside and were taken aback by the grand beauty of the cathedral. The high ceilings, intricate stained glass windows and the wonderfully carved arches make this one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve seen. We sat down for awhile to rest our feet and reflect, thanking for world for letting us be in this exact spot right now. It still continues to amaze me that I am living in Europe after dreaming about it for so long.
We walked around the entire Notre Dame and over one of the many love locked bridges in the direction of out final destination and my eternal Parisian favourite – the Eiffel Tower. It was a bit of the trek and we passed Pont Nef and where we had been earlier, Pont Alexandre III – where the gold statues reflected in the sun’s light. The tip of the Eiffel Tower was slowly getting bigger and bigger and as the sun started to drop we reached the base with the balls of our feet well and truly worn out. We bought a drink and some Oreos and perched ourselves on one of the park benches and watched the sun set on Lady Eiffel. I couldn’t think of a more sublime way to end my trip.
The rain haunted us again, so we hurried down to the nearest Metro and set off for Maison’s Lafitte where we caught our breath and I re-packed my bag for my journey home to Den Haag. 6 hours later I arrived into Den Haag at the god awful time of 5:30am and the city was desolate. I stumbled into my bed, glad to be home but sad to be back to routine. My last seven days have been an adventure and a tonne of fun and the coming Monday might actually feel like a Monday should. Though with three weeks until St Patties Day in Dublin I think I will cope.
From the sleepyhead who is suffering serious jet lag (bus lag?) and the holiday blues.