My Holiday in Paris | Travel Post
So back in July – I am so behind with blog posts – me and my best friend Freyja (not a typo, it’s spelled that way!) went to the city of love (no, not as a couple). We went to Paris.
We were both feeling a little down at the beginning of June due to personal reasons so, of course, we sat in Pret Manager and booked a holiday to Paris. Like you do.
It was the first time either of had been abroad without an ‘adult’ – yes, we’re adults at 22 respectively, but still! – and it was terrifyingly exciting.
We went by the Eurostar train and were really surprised by how quick it took us to get there. We were literally talking and eating Konditor & Cook brownies (Curly-wurly brownies! Best culinary invention of the 21st century) and suddenly we were in France! Epic!
It was 34c when we arrived at Gare Du Nord but to both of our surprise, it was extremely bearable as we had had that 2-week heatwave in Britain so we had built some tolerance.
An hour after getting lost later we managed to find our hotel and check-in. We had a balcony with a view and it was a really lovely place with very accommodating staff who accepted our lack of French with a roll-of-the-eye-oh-your-British air. Thanks, Brexit.
Almost immediately after checking in we left to grab some food! French cuisine – bread, butter, and Prosecco was pretty much my diet for three days because they were best tasting bread, butter, and Prosecco EVER!
That afternoon we strolled down to Louvre with our pre-paid, late night tickets (we’re smart!) and were totally knocked off our feet with how stunning the outside of the Louvre was.
Still hot and starting to feel it by this point we did as all the other people were doing and bathed our feet in the Louvre fountains – which to me was a real highlight of the trip.
We skipped into the Louvre as there was no queue and went exploring, getting lost so many times in the process. We found the Venus de Milo and invented a back story for her as no one knows who she was sculpted by.
Got trampled in the room with the Mona Lisa and basically stood there long enough to dismiss it as an over-hyped painting – sorry!
There was beautiful portraits, landscapes, and sculptures, some of Freyja – who’s an artist – favorite painters, sketchers, and sculptors.
Generally, it was just a lovely way to start our Paris experience and we went back to our hotel room that even, equipped with a bottle of white wine and a pack of plastic champagne flutes, very cultured.
The next day we started using our Big Bus Tours. Now, as a London commuter, I generally see these buses and tut ‘tourist’ but they are actually really good – I’m feeling I might even play tourist for the day soon and book the London version.
Not only was the tour good for taking us to the really big locations and filling us in with little details about each, it was also a great way to travel to and fro each one without having to pay extra. You just jump on and get off whereever you want etc.
The plan was to go to the Notre Dame and Shakespeare & Co Bookshop. Notre Dame is very beautiful on the outside but the queue was so long I think I could have queued for every Thorpe Park ride on a Saturday and made it round quicker than get inside the bleak cathedral. So we skipped that.
Instead…we went straight into Shakespeare & Co and let me tell you…I could have dropped dead of happiness outside of it. It is stunning.
Simple, full of beds and little nooks where you’re welcome to fall asleep. There’s even a cat, who was asleep on the hot tin roof! They’re dedicated to all literature, not just novels.
I got two books whilst there:
- All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg – as I was really after this book and I thought ‘why not buy it in this classic shop!’
- The Oranges are not the only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson – as Jeanette was actually one of the authors that has stayed at Shakespeare & Co, in order to complete her book. I thought it was suitable.
I had a great time exploring and sneakily taking photos – as you’re not technically allowed to take them inside – and then Freyja and I had a wander around the back streets looking for something to eat and settled on an awesome cafe for cocktails and cake. The servers were hilarious and the experience alone was great, although the cocktails and cake were pretty amazing too!
We got back on the bus and traveled down to the Musee d’Orsay and explored another art gallery, passing the love locks which have now moved, and seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
The Musee d’Orsay was lovely, it’s actually an old station and still has that station vibe which I love.
We found a load of Van Gogh’s and whilst I was feeling extremely tired Freyja and I still managed to walk all around the museum before jumping back onto the bus and heading towards the Eiffel Tower for the ‘big reveal’.
Neither of us was impressed. Let the rotten fruit throwing begin.
We looked at it, it was nice enough but it wasn’t ‘oh-my-god-the-beautiful-Eiffel-tower’ moment that everyone seemed to suggest it was. Like New York, where Freyja and I went the previous year, the Eiffel Tower felt over-hyped simply because it is the epitome of Paris.
You think Paris you think Eiffel Tower, you think New York and you think Statue of Liberty. For some people to see the iconic landmark in person is a huge deal, for Freyja and I it was meh. We clearly appreciate the smaller things.
Don’t get us wrong, it is a lovely piece of architecture but neither of us wanted to go to the top or stop and stare at it for more than 5 minutes. So we jumped back on the bus saw all the remaining sights on the tour, which we planned to get off and see properly the following day, and headed back to the hotel. Grabbing yet more bottles of Prosecco and white chocolate Oreos – these are heaven on earth! – and watched Midnight in Paris!
Usually, Prosecco comes in a bottle with a cork you can twist and pull out, but the bottle we picked up that evening required a corkscrew. Dangerous! We were unable to pull it out so we went downstairs and asked the French receptionist if he could try. He proceeded to open the bottle by placing it on the floor between his shoes and pulling the cork out with force… it exploded all over his feet and the nice shiny floors.
We took the bottle and ran.
We got up, slightly worse for wear after yet more alcohol, and headed out for a day trip of shopping on the Champs Elysee. It’s a very long street, with the Arc de Triomphe at the end and absolutely massive shops but many of them weren’t to our taste.
I got myself a MAC lipstick, which is a tradition for me when I go on holiday now, and Frejya bought some special rose tea. We both got ran around the Disney store like little children – forcing ourselves not to buy anything and later we would think ‘why?’
We hopped back on the bus and then got on another Big Tour bus which took us around Montmartre where we saw the Moulin Rouge & the Sacre Coeur. Both of us were still hungover/tired so we stayed on the bus rather than get off and investigate but we were happy as we were.
The Last Evening
Our intentions for the remainder of the day was to go back to the Eiffel tower at night to have a glass of champagne as we said farewell to the city, since we were leaving the following day.
We went out for dinner at a pizzeria and about 9 pm we wanted to head to Trocedero…but it started to rain. And not just spit but rain. Hurricane rain. No-one-was-on-the-street-rain.
So what did we do… we forgot our Eiffel tower plans and walk the mile back to the hotel and got absolutely drenched singing Edith Piaf and ‘bonjour-ing’ to every huddled person standing in the innards of the windowless cafes and shop doorways. And no, we weren’t drunk.
We got back to the hotel and was met by the same receptionist who basically shuffled us back outside whilst he went and got us towels. We weren’t going to ruin his reception again.
Back in our room, we opened all of the doors and windows and basically just sat on the bed listening to the thunderstorm and watching the lightning with our remaining snacks and alcohol.
We eventually fell asleep and whilst I’m sure the Eiffel Tower is lovely at night we had a pretty spectacular one not looking at it, regardless.
We packed our bags and vacated our room.
As it was our last day we didn’t want to stray far so we wandered back down to the Louvre, our favourite place of the holiday, and walked around the Jardin Tuilliere and went to the Musee de Orangerie to look at all the famous Monet lily paintings.
We also stumbled across the oldest English bookshop in Paris and had a good old browse in there. Both of our purses were feeling a little strapped so we didn’t buy anything but it was lovely to just look around.
After our wander, we got some lunch and finally returned to the Gare du Nord to get back to London.
It was a really lovely holiday, relaxed yet packed full of things and extremely funny experiences! Everything you can possibly want from a holiday with your best friend in your twenties.
I can’t wait to go back
Paris City rating: 4.5/5