Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Ooh la la, bonjour Paris!

Back in August, I got a mail from Eurostar saying they were celebrating their 20th anniversay (wow doesn't time fly), and to celebrate, they had released 10,000 seats at £59 return.  Bargain I thought, and quickly enlisted Gemma and Samia to come with me for a day trip.

Fast forward a few months and Gem has a broken foot (drunk dancing on tables is never a good idea) and can no longer come, so it was just me and Samia on a romantic date to Paris.  I got up ridiculously early due to my inability to plan appropriately and got to St Pancras a full 40 minutes before I needed to.  Samia on the other hand, was early too, except she was early at the wrong station.  Numpty! She'd turned up at Euston and had a panicked fast walk down the road to St Pancras.

As we were only there for the day, we decided to hit the most popular tourist spots, starting with a walk down the Champs-Élysées.  We got an all day travel pass (€6.90) and hopped on line 4 to Châtelet, then line 1 to the Champs-Élysées.

Arc de Triomphe from the Champs-Élysées

Citroen dealership that had a slide from the top floor to the bottom - amazing!

Beautiful autumnal tree lined streets

I prefer these green man crossings to ours

We grabbed some brunch (steak and frites), then, powered up on meat, headed on up the Arc de Triomphe.  It's only €9.50 to get in, and here you can wander around the arch, and if you're feeling energetic, climb the 284 steps (yes I counted them all!) to the top to get a 360deg view of Paris.  We were lucky - the sun decided to grace us with its presence as we reached the top, so we were bathed in sunlight whilst the rest of Paris was decidedly grey.  It's quite impressive as the Arc is built on a massive roundabout with roads radiating off it, so you get a good birds eye view of the city.

Tomb of the unknown soldier, surrounded by flowers left from Remembrance Day

I like the above photo - we look like little kids on a school trip.  Samia got asked if she was under 16 at one point!

Looking south down the Champs-Élysées

North West

Looking north toward La Défense

West towards the Eiffel Tower

My face when I had to pay €5.20 for a can of coke

That done, we spotted our next target, the Eiffel Tower, descended the stairs and headed in the general direction of the tower.  It's actually not as tall as I thought it would be and looks quite squat, but up close it is very impressive architecture.  I may have squealed a little bit when we turned a corner and suddenly there it was, just over the river.

We took plenty of photos, wandered underneath it, saw the queue and decided to bail on going up it.

Next stop - the Louvre. We had a pleasant walk along the Seine to get to it, stopping off at some of the beautiful bridges to take photos.

Locks of love

The Louvre also had queues and to be honest I am not ridiculously fussed about paintings, so we sat in the beautiful "Jardins des Tuileres".  Here they have free metal reclining chairs by one of the ponds and we sat and people watched for a bit, then wandered around the grounds of the Louvre.  It's all very grand!

After the Louvre we headed on down the Seine with the idea of seeing Notre Dame Cathedral.  However we got distracted by a pet shop with real live puppies in (can you believe that I have never seen a proper real life puppy before!), and then it started to rain, I needed to pee and we were getting quite hungry, so we stopped in a cafe instead.  We wanted a croissant and a coffee but, despite our half hearted efforts, we could only find restaurants, none of which did croissants.  Samia settled for another plate of  'frites' while I had a bowl of disappointing veg soup with cheesy bread.   By the time we had finished it was time to head home, so back on the tube we got, but not before I took a few pics of Paris in the dark.

On the bus back home in London, an oddly dressed man got on the bus and was talking to what I assumed was his child as he was climbing the bus stairs.  Turns out that the perosn he was talking to, 'Herbert', wasn't a child at all and was instead his pet dog.  Some of the passengers started to talk to him to tell him what a lovely dog it was, and he then proceeded to feed his dog some 'ganja cakes' he'd bought in a shop down the road.  It made me want to stay on the bus to see what happened to the dog, but alas I had to get off as I had a bed to get in to.  A bizarre end to a lovely day.

1 comment:

  1. They built the Arc de Triomphe on a massive roundabout? How silly was that? ;)


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