This time last week I was on my way home from three days in Paris, and I’m pretty sure it was the best weekend of my entire life. No exaggeration, it was all kinds of amazing. I had decided that, after last year’s stress and anxiety leading up to my 30th birthday celebrations, this year I wouldn’t do anything to acknowledge the aging process. R asked if he could plan a surprise instead and I happily agreed. The next thing you know – we’re in Paris!
If you have three days in Paris and you’re less physical than you might like, use those metros like your life depends on it. Mine does, and they were just brilliant. Metro stations seem to be much closer together in Paris than in London, and once you’re underground the platform is more often than not directly in front of you. It is not a three mile walk from the bottom of the escalator to the platform, as our very own TFL would have you experience from time to time.
This was the view when we got off the metro at Esplanade de La Defense by our hotel. Although R was panicking that he had picked a hotel in the business district that would be made up of grumpy old men in suits, I loved the contrast to the older buildings in central Paris where we spent our days. Plus, being slightly further away from the centre (20 mins on the metro) meant we could afford a nicer hotel room and enjoy breakfast in bed. Pretty sure breakfast in bed is the mark of a good birthday. We stayed at the Sofitel hotel and their pastry basket was heavenly.
From the outside of the hotel you could see across the city to the Arc de Triomphe and I was so excited by this view every morning that I basically bounced into Paris. No need for metro or painkillers here, adrenaline and excitement had me dancing in the streets. (Seriously. That happened.)
Now we all love Paris in the spring time, but – just as Ella says – I also love Paris in the fall. The sun shone brightly, the air was crisp, and though I had moments where I needed my gloves, hat and scarf to keep warm, I also had moments where an ice cream cone was completely appropriate – and delicious.
Our first day in Paris was mainly made up of eating. Shock horror. We wandered around some of the lesser-known streets and for some lesser-known reason ate Mexican food for dinner. When in Paris: FAJITA. Apparently.
Saturday was dedicated to full on tourist behaviour and did not disappoint. We revisited some of our previous favourite spots and had cheese, cured meat, fresh bread and red wine all day. Now *that’s* how it should be in Paris.
The Sacré-Cœur remains one of my favourite buildings in the world and it couldn’t have been a more glorious day to enjoy it. Those in pain should get the funicular to the top of the hill – it’s included in your normal travel pass and you only have to sweat with hundreds of other tourists for two minutes whilst you’re all squeezed in to the cable car. The walk back down is somewhat easier and we had a quick wander around the Moulin Rouge before getting back on the metro and going to Concorde before experiencing one of the best things ever: Angelina.
Look at this beast! Angelina was recommended as a delicious tea room that I was bound to love. We wandered up the beautiful Parisian streets and arrived at a very grand tea room with one very long queue. Now I don’t queue for anything. Anything. Except, it appears, tea and cake.
We queued for what felt like forever but was in actual fact about fifteen minutes. We were seated upstairs overlooking the busy tea room below and given a menu that, quite honestly, made me squeal with joy. I could have happily spent all day in that tea room and never left, just working my way through cake after cake. In fact – I’m kind of gutted that I didn’t.
If my pictures aren’t enough and you fancy drooling some more, check out their Instagram feed.
When we eventually dragged ourselves away from Angelina, we walked through the gardens to The Louvre – my favourite part of Paris. And I when I say “walked”, I mean “slowly plodded, full of cake”. Oh, and pranced about taking photos.
And then we arrived at The Louvre – the glorious Louvre! I have no words, just pictures. It’s so busy and bursting with tourists and selfie-sticks, yet I find it totally relaxing and calm. I mean, it’s THE LOUVRE!
From The Louvre we wandered the streets to Notre Dame and promptly plonked ourselves down at a cafe around the corner from Shakespeare and Company. That cafe served good but cheap house red wine and free popcorn with every glass and it had free wifi and heaters outside. It was the dream. We sat there for hours, resting and recuperating, before going out for dinner and more drinks and crashing in a king size bed that had been made in a way only hotel staff can achieve.
Sunday was a relaxing day of more gardens, bread, cheese, meat and wine before catching the Eurostar home. It was a weekend full of absolute delights and deliciousness. I wouldn’t change a thing and I can’t quite believe R planned every moment without revealing a single thing. From now on, he’s planning everything.