48 Hours in Paris
As someone who prefers wide open spaces and a distinct absence of people, I am surprised that in my thirty years on the planet I have never not wanted to go to Paris. It was a childhood dream, and I would be lying if I said that moving the UK was largely encouraged due to my proximity to Paris! I did a LOT of research ahead of this trip because we only had two days and I wanted to make the most of them.
We woke up early in our little AirBnB after landing on the evening flight flight from Bristol. I can’t sleep when I am excited so at 7AM I was cuckooing and dragging Ali out of bed. We found a street side café serving cappuccinos and croissant, which is basically how I imagine all French people begin their days. That’s totally true by the way! I am a certified bush woman, but I dressed as stylishly as I could to try blend in, knowing Parisians are famous for their perfect sense of style… although let’s bear in mind that my version of stylish is most people’s weekend BBQ look. Oh well.
We got tickets for an 11AM entry to The Louvre, and contrary to what I had read there was virtually NO queue! Maybe because it was a weekday, and out of tourist season? Well, we were standing below the famous glass triangle in less than ten minutes and I was having a small meltdown; EVERYTHING was beautiful, even the signs! My favourite section of the Louvre was the marble statues depicting famous Greek mythology. There were also artefacts from ancient worlds and paintings; oh the paintings! We wandered the vast halls of the Louvre for 2.5hrs and I feel as though we only dabbled in its magic.
Around 2PM I was starving on the verge of malnourishment, so we found our way to a cosy restaurant called La Jacobine in Saint-Germain. Of course we ordered French wine and snails, ate slowly and it occurred to me that, so far, I was living my Parisian dream.
We picked up some high sugar treats to go and in hindsight I would have taken the metro, but I was filled with wine, sugar and joie de vivre and insisted we walk to the Eiffel Tower. Friends, I urge you to use the metro wherever possible. My sense of humour and poor feet barely made the journey! Though I can’t say I entirely regret it because it granted me the opportunity to pass by Calzedonia enroute to pick up a few goodies.
The Eiffel tower impressed me more than I thought it would. It is truly spectacular and easy to see how love stories have become crafted around it. We took the pictures (note it’s so big it doesn’t even fit in frame!!) and then wobbled home to dinner and cocktails in our neighbourhood restaurant.
With the typical tourist activities out the way we felt more free to have a sleep in and rest our feet, then after our (now traditional) coffee and croissant we wandered up the hill to the Sacré-Cœur which was, lucky us, just a twenty minute walk from our AirBnB. It is spectacularly built on a hill overlooking the entire city. The views were unbelievable. Better yet we had stumbled into a Montmartre food and wine festival! So, we parked off on the steps in the sunshine, with bubbles and nutella crepes and marvelled at the incredible views of the city.
This evening we were invited by a friend to Chalet Savoyard. I love a raclette - cheese is life, people! Turns out, Parisians love cheese too - we couldn’t get a reservation until 10.30PM and even then it was so busy you could barely move. The smell of cheese hits you like a small, delicious truck when you walk in the door. Now, I have fantasised about all you can eat cheese before, and I thought I was ready for what was coming. I was not. It GOT ME GOOD. We pathetically put away about ¼ of the cheese block before everything started to look a little woozy. We decided it’s best we admitted defeat, left and never spoke of this fateful night again! Tip: take a big crew to help you with this cheese block!
And there you have it. Paris was pure bliss, and I felt like we barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer. I can’t wait to go back; take in a cabaret, explore the catacombs, and the Versailles.