- 7:30am departure
- Ferry past the white cliffs of dover
- Lovely bus ride to Paris
- Hotel check in
- Night bus tour of Paris
- Eiffel tower
- Arc de triomphe
- Place de la Concorde
- The Louvre
- Chanel window shopping
- Moulin Rouge
- Palace of Versailles
- Opera shopping
- Dinner at Montmartre
Paris is a beautiful, elegant woman. Strong and classy, romantic and unattainable. She speaks with actions rather than words and enjoys all of the pleasures life has to offer. Even when there is hurt and ugliness in the world she is still able to show you the beauty in life. She offers nothing but love to those who are worthy and still believes in achieving ones dreams. She is drop dead gorgeous and she knows it.
We hit the ground running at Paris, with a delayed start we arrived in Paris later than expected cutting our free time for the day and instead heading straight to dinner before our night bus tour. The day we left for Paris was the day of the Belgium bombing so as expected security was on high alert and our bus was thoroughly checked before boarding the ferry.
The news of the bombings was very unsettling to hear especially when there was majority of exchange students from Sunderland travelling around Europe for spring break. This was one of those moments I was thankful to be with Contiki as they gave us all the information and assured us there was nothing to be worried about and the trip was still going ahead as planned.
The ferry ride from England to Paris allowed us to see the white cliffs of dover, not to mention the weather was beautiful so we were able to sit on the decks and wave goodbye to England, for now.
As you know we had to leave at 7:30am and by the time we boarded the ferry I was hanging for a coffee……..
……something I was obviously destined not to have. (thanks to Cailin who was there to capture this moment.)
Docking at Calais was a sight I was not expecting, it was not the lovely Paris I had imagined in my head but a prison like surrounding with barb wire fencing and security patrols all around. Our tour guide was then to inform us of the transformation of Calais due to the migrant crisis and as we drove away we passed 100’s of tents all set up by the asylum seekers near the fences. It was truly eye opening to see and scary as just further up ahead peoples houses backed on to these sites, there was a definite line between them that was unfamiliar to anything I had seen before.
As I said before once we got to Paris, a short 3 hour bus ride, it was go, go, go, which was pretty much the whole pace for Paris. Something that I will always remember from this first day was seeing the Eiffel tower lit up in Belgium’s colours, it was heart warming and so real all at the same time.
If someone was to ask me what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Paris? I would say stairs. Those two days in Paris were equivalent to a years worth of leg days.
Our first leg workout started bright and early at the Eiffel tower where despite there being an elevator that takes you up to all the levels, Cailin and I decided to climb the first two floors to get a real experience. You don’t realise how big something actually is until you have to each step to get to about a third of the way to the top. Although it was a good way to try and burn off the croissants, cheese and Nutella I had for breakfast. We then proceed to the top by the elevator and oh my god. I have never seen anything so breath taking in my life. You could see for miles and miles. Despite it being very windy it was truly amazing and a must on any ones bucket list. Our next stop being the Arc de triomphe, (our second leg work out for the day) which in my opinion the roundabout surrounding it was more entertaining to watch, kind of like a roundabout hunger games. My recommendation for the best place to sit and have lunch whilst the carnage unravels right in front of you for some light entertainment.
The best thing about Paris is that it is so easy to walk around to all these places, we were able to walk to all the spots and an added bonus was that it then meant we could eat more crepes! Walking down from the Arc de triomphe to the Louve through the Place de la Concorde with a crepe in hand was probably the most wonderful experience ever.
Then came Moulin Rouge, something I was a bit hesitant to do as it came with a hefty additional cost turned out to be a magnificent night and something I will never forget. It was truly amazing how they could make such elaborate and over the top costumes yet cover so little. The night also came with a three course meal, wine, champagne and waiters with french accents. Who could ask for more.
The palace of Versailles was a surprise to me, apart of our tour and something I had never thought to have visited. All that came out of my mouth for the first 30min we were there was “WOW”. Boy did this King have money. It was the most grandest building have seen so far. The detail and art work put into this place was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. The thing I love most about all this travel is all the history I am learning. I had no idea about any of Paris’ history and now I have walked through one of the most historical palaces. I was seriously in awe and got a neck cramp from constantly looking up at the ceilings. The down fall of being on a tour is that you are constantly on a schedule so we were kicked out of the palace and back on the bus sooner than I would have liked.
After that we visited a “perfumery” which was more like a museum of the history of perfume, interesting yes but I would have actually liked to go see it be made. From perfume to shopping in Opera then back on bus our days in Paris were all over too quick.
Then came our third leg workout, the climb to our authentic Paris dinner at Montmarte. Despite not being able to feel my legs when we reached the top the view was magnificent, in the night light all lit up it was well worth the climb. When we arrived at the restaurant they weren’t ready for us so they set us up outside and provided us with complimentary champagne which in my opinion was better than being seated straight away. The dinner consisted of a three course meal and endless wine. Now I am not a wine drinker but when in Paris and if it is free, okay! Entree I had snails which tasted to my surprise amazing, full of garlicy goodness then came the duck a l’orange and I don’t know if it was the wine or the fact that I had climbed 1000 steps but it was the best god damn meal I have ever eaten. We also were served cheese and then desert but by that time I was so full I could only take small sample bites. The night continued with more drinks, dancing and laughter at a bar before we all piled into a cab and headed back to the hotel. At that moment we all felt on top of the world…..
……….although getting up the next morning was not the most fun I’ve had on the trip.
(I am sorry for the long post there is just so much I want to share with you all. If there is something you want me to elaborate on or have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.)