I cannot believe it has been two months since I was in Paris, it almost doesn’t feel real! I have been meaning to write some posts about my epic adventure, but time just went by so quickly. My friend Sam called me to tell me she was going to Paris for a few days and needed some tips. I went through my photos (I have over 1500) and it got me thinking, I have way too many beautiful memories not to share.
I will be taking you though each day, instead of telling you where to go, what to eat and what to see. I am all about maximising the areas I am in, when it comes to food, I don’t mind grabbing a sandwich or even hitting MacDonalds occasionally. France does not have the best cuisine so I was not too concerned about missing that element.
I flew direct with Air France, such a great flight. It was a bit more pricey but I did not want to waste time with a connecting flight. I arrived bright and early at 6:30 on the Saturday morning. I was not tired at all because my strategy on any flight is: I get served a meal, watch one or two movies or even read and take a long snooze and then I am there. So I was feeling good, I arrived at Tanya’s apartment which was in the business district in Paris – Esplanade de la Defence. We chatted like two high schoolgirls, we caught up and the decided to get going! We walked down to the train station which is right near where we stayed and our first adventure was to Sacré-Cœur Basilica which is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
I am the type of person who loves architecture, especially churches and iconic landmarks, so this was right up my ally. We also then canvased the area, we walked through Moulin Rouge which I recommend you do during the day as it is the red light district of Paris. have been there before on my last trip to Paris, so this time I just posed for photos. We also popped by the Arc de Triomphe and walked down Champs-Élysées past all the designers including Louis Vuitton and so much more. Of course last but not least I was able to see the Eiffel tower in all its glory at night, it lights up Every night, every hour on the hour, the tower is covered in golden lights and sparkles for five whole minutes.
Part of the biggest reason I decided to go to Paris, apart from visiting my bestie Tanya, was to make one of my life long dreams of going to Disney Land come true. And so Tanya and I made it happen. When I ran the idea past Tanya, she was just as excited as I was, so of course we went to H&M, bought matching t-shirts, got on a train and heading to Disney Land, exited as ever! I will be doing a full blog post on Disneyland because it deserves it. We spent the whole day there, we walked our hearts there. Let me tell you, if it was up to me I would have stayed there longer, I now understand why people have annual passes for Disneyland. So we did not go on any rides as the queues were so long – it was the school holidays. But we had the best time exploring the resort. Disneyland Paris, originally Euro Disney Resort, is an entertainment resort in Marne-la-Vallée, a new town located 32 km east of the centre of Paris. I had a smile on my face the whole day!
It was a Monday and my first day on my own, Tanya was at work, so I thought it was a great day to hit the shops, this would be me in my natural habitat causing strain on my bank account! I was on a mission to find Sephora and a Zara! So I took the scenic route through the business district, stopped at a Starbucks – you know, in a foreign country, cannot speak fluent french, Starbucks is universal right? Not so much, most expensive breakfast I had on this trip! However, I then missioned to my first stop which was huge mall (the size of Sandton roughly) called Les Quatre Tempes where I walked through stores like Zara, Sephora, H&M, Mango and New Look to name a few. I wanted to see what they had so if I had any regrets I would have time to go back and buy what I wanted. I also thought, let me go grocery shopping to pick up a few things I cant live without and surprise Tanya with some goodies. Rookie mistake to go grocery shopping without a shopping bag in the middle of a normal shopping trip, also forgetting that I had to walk back home instead of drive like I would back in South Africa…. Lets just say I was more than exhausted and learnt a hard lesson!
That night we headed out to the Notre Dame cathedral where we witnessed the breathtaking illumination called the “Dame de Coeur” sound and light show. A video was projected onto the landmark’s front supported by sounds which surround the cathedral. The show is absolutely breathtaking and well organised.There were so many people there which added to the hype. We also had the opportunity after the show to enter the church, bare in mind, the cathedral is normally closed at night. They also illuminated the inside which was so amazing.
The next day we did some more exploring, this time I needed a few more touristy gifts from the locals, so we headed off with a plan, when in Paris, every girl know how important skin care really is. So I needed to hit City Pharma, and so we did! I was also dying to have a macron, so we popped into Pierre Hermé who are well known for their pastries and chocolate delicacies. No regrets, except my hips were cursing me. The macrons taste different in Paris, they are so soft and delicious, melt in your mouth little creations that are available in so many different flavours. We were lucky enough to stumble upon a vintage market right next to the Luxembourg gardens where we were headed. There were so many gorgeous designer items, Chanel bags, Hermes scarves and so much more, so awesome. I am so into markets at the moment but that was by far my favourite market to date. The Luxembourg gardens are mesmerising, I wish I had more time to site there with a book, snacks and a blanket, the gardens and flowers are beautiful, it is very peaceful. I did have the chance to sit on a chair close to the ponds where kids were playing with boats. We ended up at a local cafe later that night before going home, I was able to taste a crepe filled with chocolate, yum yum yum is all I have to say!
It was a rainy day but we still made time to head out, we popped into Angelina’s, a lovely chocolate and pastry heaven, everything is pink and chic! I had to have their world renowned hot chocolate and of course a macaron directly across from the Tuileries on rue de Rivoli, it need not be a fantasy – it was spectacular. We then head out to our destination which was The Louvre Museum which is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine. I am not a huge art lover but considering it was closed the last time I was in Paris, I had to make a point to go in. I was surprised at how big the museum was and how rich all the history is. Of course my mission was to find the Mona Lisa. I was slightly disappointed as it is rather small, but still a great experience.
We decided to visit the The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682,under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789. It was a great little adventure and the town is very small and unique.
Many of the rooms are still in tact and the grounds itself is something to marvel over, we walked the palace after waiting an hour in the queue (not as long as we thought) We did not have the energy to walk the gardens as this is also something beautiful, but we did go outside to get some views in.
Day 7 and 8:
My last two full days were spent going to nearby locations that we decided last minute to visit. I went to the Grand Palace, walked through the instagramable black and white courtyard, walked through the gardens. I also went back to Notre Dame to see the building in daylight, as its a different view completely.
I also got to visit Shakespeare and Company which is an English-language bookshop in the heart of Paris, on the banks of the Seine,opposite Notre-Dame. Since opening in 1951, it’s been a meeting place for writers and readers like me. The bookshop is a tiny gem filled with so much literature, you can sit and read in the bookstore if you can find the space, areal treat if you love books. And of course I had to go see the Eiffel tower AGAIN during the day – I forgot to mention that it was soo cold on the last two days, my friend and tour guide was a real trooper for walking around in the icey cold weather! Even though it was freezing , my heart was happy. What was my final stop you may ask? Ladurée of course, you cannot come to Paris and not stand in a queue for Macarons! That’s me being sarcastic! But I did stand in a queue! Ladurée is a French luxury bakery and sweets maker house created in 1862. It is one of the world’s best known premier sellers of macarons, Apparently over 15,000 are sold everyday. Can you just imagine that! And yes if you must know I did some shopping through out these days. I am a sucker for buying gifts for my loved ones as well as things that say “Paris” on them…
Have you ever been to Paris? I would love to know. I would definitely go back!