There are ten million things I want to tell you, dear world, but for now, I’ll start with Paris.
I went to Paris for the first time one summery weekend in early May.
I took the Eurostar Friday night, and Gare du Nord was magical. And 30 degrees. Mastering the metro, I took it to Ranelagh station, where my friend Pauline’s apartment was (on the third floor; absolutely beautiful, with a balcony looking out on the street and French doors letting the evening sun in). She’s an au pair who lives with her host family.
That night, we headed to Trocadero so I could finally see the Eiffel tower.
(By the way guys – the metro is super easy to use. I managed to get from Gare du Nord to Ranelagh in one piece!)
We took obligatory tourist pictures of Mr Eiffel himself, and I ooh’d and ahh’d over how golden he is. We dodged men selling tiny metallic towers, bottles of water, wine in buckets, and selfie sticks, and made our way to a street of restaurants nearby. Parking ourselves on a table outside of a restaurant on the corner, we ordered wine, snails and our main meals.
We wandered home under the twinkling lights of the Eiffel tower, and everything was magical.
I got ill. I mean, ill. On the metro home, my stomach was in knots. And all night I was back and forth from the bathroom. Definitely not the best way to spend my first night in Paris. My friend’s host father said to me the next morning, passing me in the hallway, “So, was it the snails or the alcohol that did it?”
“Sadly, the snails! It would have been way funner if it was the alcohol.”
That day, I was bed ridden but we managed to escape the house to go strolling in the Parisian sunshine and get gelato. I managed to use all my schoolyard French when ordering it!
That night, I met up with an old friend Marine, who I used to go to high school with in New Zealand. We studied To Kill A Mockingbird together when we were 17, so it was basically the start of an amazing friendship. We caught up together with dumplings and wandering the canals, watching Parisians drinking wine by the canalside and seeing a sense of community.
The next day was my favourite!
The skies were blue as we made our way to the Eiffel tower. We took the steps up to level 2, and it had absolutely stunning views at every step of the way. And guess who we saw on level 2? We casually strolled past Jennifer Garner. Low key, jeans & t-shirt, no make up. I practically brushed shoulders with her! It was great.
We then made our way to Champs-Élysées, and ended our stroll at the Arc de Triomphe. It’s beautiful, but sadly it was closed that day so we didn’t get to climb it.
The Notre Dame was next, and it was hands down my favourite building in Paris. We did the free tour of the church itself which was magnificent – the history is breathtaking and it’s amazing seeing the timeline of the church between when it was first constructed and today. The gargoyles are the best. They are all still there, century after century, guarding their cathedral; grotesque mouths open, tongues out, in the shape of every kind of animal you could imagine.
Then, we signed up for the bell tower tour which had a 2 hour wait. In the meantime, we strolled the canals and found the most amazing book shop – Shakespeare & Company. You probably have heard of it – it’s a must for any book lover travelling to Paris. It’s got poky little rooms, a whole Shakespeare section and any book under the sun that you could possibly want.
We both bought Shakespeare’s sonnets and created the Shakespeare book club on the metro that evening.
Paris was stunning! There were so many things we couldn’t do, such as Montmatre and the Louvre (+ a million things more), but I can’t wait to go back when I am not sick, and when I am able to eat the amazing French food. Next time I go = ALL THE FOOD.