A Travellerspoint blog

France

Au Revoir Paris

An amazing few days in a city of lights, city of love, the city of pastries... the city of everything!

So we are currently on the train heading away from the first stop of our adventure; the magnificent mistress that is Paris. We jammed in as much as possible (too much if you ask Lewis) exploring and seeing some of the major tourist sites. We got use to attempting French and trying to make ourselves understood. I got really good at asking parlez vous l'anglais? We never once had anyone get annoyed at us trying to speak French and some of my year11 french came back.
As there is so much I figure it is better to take the blog day by day.
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Day 1:
We arrived after 28 hours in transit (2x12.5 hour flights and a 3hour stop over in KL). After the first flight of staying awake the whole time and discovering near the end of the flight that I had some decent cankles the second flight revolved around eating and sleeping (well for me at least…I was asleep before the plane was in the air). We arrived at our first AirBnB accommodation at about 10am and had our first experience with the metro. I have to say we loved the metro in Paris. We need one in Auckland! It was a breeze to use and once you're in you don't pay again (so you can make as many exchanges as you need). This was the main way we got around Paris.
Paris welcomed us on our first day with a beautiful sunny day and let us acclimatise to the city and its massive population. Everyone lives in apartments and use communal green garden/park areas in Paris (we didn't see a backyard the whole time). We visited the Notre Dame while finding our bearings and encountered our first lot of Romanian beggars. The church was amazing from the outside.
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This was also the area where we saw our first love-lock bridge. Apparently there are three love lock bridges in Paris. But it seems that locks are just being put everywhere in Paris. We saw them at pretty much every tourist spot and most weren’t even on a bridge or near water (it kind of seems to defeat the purpose). The bridges are chocka I honestly don't know where they find room to put more locks on! We discovered croissants and Lewis favourite Doughnuts with Nutella pretty much straight away. My buy of the day was 1kg of black grapes for 1euro from a fruit market we stumbled upon. We also discovered our local boucherie with his delicious roast chickens and the best roast potatoes with chicken gravy. (I ate these ALOT). We attempted to have a picnic in the local park that night but all the wasps and Lewis' jet-lag sent us home to rest. Wasps were everywhere!
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Day 2:
Due to us always leaving late we arrived at the catacombs to discover a 2 hour wait. The bonus was at least it was an entertaining wait (a car crash, people everywhere and entertaining American group behind us).
The catacombs themselves were eerie as expected. The lack of people following the rules and flashes from cameras going off like crazy was sad. You can see why tourists get a bad rep. Lewis and I avoided taking pictures of the bones as we felt it was disrespectful (Lewis’ saying “If I wouldn't do it at home why would I do it here”). It was amazing seeing the millions of bones and the thought of how old they were!
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That night we did a night lights bike tour with Zorra of Fat Tire bikes. It was amazing! We biked (dominated) for 3 hours around the major icons of Paris all lit up at night on bike lanes and main roads. We dealt with a few crazy Parisian drivers (with our hand of power). The tour finished with red wine and a cruise on the Seine. This was amazing due to the amount of people of all ages out on the river bank (mid-week) dancing (there were bays with a DJ and techno next to Latin, next to Waltzing) and having a great time (it was only 10pm). We also got to see the Eiffel tower and its amazing light show. Every hour on the hour from 9pm-1am the tower glimmers like a diamond with 5minutes. It is beautiful!
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Day3:
The crown of thorns was on display at the Notre Dame today so we went inside to have a look. Calling it amazing is an understatement! The windows and the amazing architecture is breath taking. We stayed for part of the service also. The place had an amazing calm about it. Zolla the night before had explained how the Notre Dame took over two centuries to build and a lot of work was done by volunteers who were overseen by master craftsmen. She also explained that they are in the process of cleaning the outside of the cathedral; there cleaning tool of choice is a laser.
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The St Chappelle was our next stop. Its stained glass windows were breath taking and just like the Notre Dame photos don't do it justice. The architecture was completely different to that of the Notre Dame too and more gothic.
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Louvre late night is the best time to go as it has much smaller lines. I don't even think a day would give you enough time to see the Louvre and all its magnificence (The building was just as spectacular as the artwork). We saw a few of the more important pieces of art before leaving for dinner with extremely tired feet. We both found that some of the less famous pieces were our favourite as they had amazing lifelike detail. We topped dinner with amazing crepes for desert. I am going to dedicate a whole post to food in Paris.
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Day 4:
We started our day with Musee d'Orsay, which was my favourite museum! It was previously a hotel and train station and there are still parts of the original there to view. The party room was amazing and again my photos don't do it justice.
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We then started my self -made patisserie tour through Paris where we went to three of the best patisseries in Paris for macaroons and dessert. They tasted as good as they looked! Dinner that night was along Canal St Martin where we ordered pizza and took a balloon. The Pink Flamingo has a bike boy that brings you the pizza. It is so cute and the pizza was really good!
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Later we went to the Arc de Trimophe to see the city lights from a different perspective. The views at night were worth the 300 stair climbs to get there. It was crazy watching people try and run across the amazing busy roundabout to get to the middle. (There are stairs under the road).
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Day 5:
We did another bike tour, this time for the day to Versaille palace. Pete, our guide was awesome and gave us an excellent run down of the revolution in a thoroughly entertaining way. We brought food at the Sunday market (potatoes, cider, nectarines, crepe) then went through the estate.
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We picnicked on the lake, watching people try to row around in dinghies. Walking up to the chateau after our history lesson made me feel like we were walking up in the olden times (well we would have been in a horse and carriage but still).
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The chateau itself was nice but the really magnificent thing was the fountains and garden outside the palace.
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The fountains are only put on in the weekend (we went on Sunday) and there is classical music playing in the background with them. Sadly we didn't have enough time to get through all of them but the parts we did see were stunning.
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Day 6:
We started our final day in Paris the day with a few more famous patisseries. They again were delicious! We then headed to Sacer Coeur and the love wall (Je t’aime), I was so proud when I found ‘I love you’ in Maori and English in the 320 languages on it.
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We then headed to the Sacer Coeur, the highest point in Paris to admire the view and see the amazing church. Our trip home via the Garde du Nord was entertaining due to a bomb scare (bag left in the middle of the ticketing office) meant we were evacuated. That night we had delicious Mexican and down time to end our amazing time in Paris.
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Day 7:
So today we are on the train (first class :D) Comfy chairs, free food and free wifi (even if it is slow).

Our Accomodation:
Our first AirBnB experience has been amazing; I felt like we were actually living in Paris rather then observing it. We weren’t in the tourist district- which is exactly what we wanted. Maguy our host left us to our own devices but was around whenever we needed her. She let out two rooms on AirBnb. Maria and her mother-in law who were in the room beside ours were our breakfast companions. It was excellent having a chat and bouncing ideas of what to do off them. Our breakfast was the perfect start to the day -baguette, jam, orange juice, and tea. We had some trouble with our Wifi but really our first AirBnb experience was excellent and just what we hoped it would be.

Favourite Parts of Paris:
Patisserie
The bike tours
The metro
Paris at night
Crepes :D

Sorry this is a bit rushed.

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xx

Posted by chellebelle 06:31 Archived in France Tagged paris one trip amazing Comments (2)

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