Saturday, July 16, 2016

Paris - The City of Love

What a magnificent, whirlwind trip we've had to Paris. We travelled on the Eurostar to the city of love & arrived around 8:45pm local time. We had our first Uber ride & Airbnb experience. Our apartment in Paris was huge (by French standards) & had a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower. 

Eurostar snack

Such a fast train

Our apartment in Paris

We were a bit nervous being in a completely foreign country & arriving so late into the evening, so we decided to stay close by our accommodation to have a quick dinner. It was also our first experience ordering food where people had limited English. We had to google vegetarian in French but eventually ordered something to eat.

Not exactly sure what we ordered but mine had no meat so that's safe!

I was thrilled to be able to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle from our room & had trouble shutting my eyes to sleep because I just wanted to gaze out the window all night. 

I was sitting in bed when I took this!

Monday morning we were up at 6:30am to head off on a guided tour of Claude Monet's garden. We found a cute little cafe for breakfast & enjoyed coffee (my first of this whole holiday), hot chocolate for Jeff & shared a French pastry. We caught a double decker bus out into the beautiful French countryside to a little town called Giverny. I was a bit worried as it was lightly raining all the way on the bus. & we didn't have our raincoats. The gardens were stunning & I could just imagine Claude Monet sitting with his paintbrush in hand, ready to create one of his beautiful paintings. 

It was truly incredible seeing & photographing the water lilies & wandering through the house that Monet lived in. I commented to Jeff that I could happily live there & enjoy the gardens everyday. We couldn't believe our luck, just as we got back on the bus, it started to pour rain. 

First copy of our whole trip

French Countryside

Our tour guide

Monet's beautiful house

The famous water lillies

Here comes the rain

Arriving back in Paris it was still raining. We found a typical French cafe to eat lunch & people watch. Afterwards we set off on a long walk to the Arc De Triomphe and along Champs Elysées to look at all the expensive shops. After a long walk & climbing up lots of steps in the acre, we were exhausted. We caught an Uber back to our apartment & enjoyed just sitting down and watching Paris go by.

People watching in Paris

We found Nutella crepes!

Climbing the Arce

Legs were very sore

I love the way Paris is set out

Walking in the rain

The eternal flame

Jeff's dream car

Shopping was different yet the same. Note the fake milk I had to buy.

Just a view from our room

At 8:30pm (sun still high in the sky) we arrived at the river Seine to board our dinner cruise. The boat was stunning and we were greeted with Champaign & a 3 course dinner including cheese tasting. We had decided to go on this dinner cruise as an early 6th wedding anniversary celebration & it was perfect. Fairy lights across the whole roof, amazing food, watching the sunset over Paris & listening to a very talented violinist. My favourite part was listening to the song Memory from cats whilst eating chocolate soufflé  watching the Eiffel tower light up for the evening. What a night to remember.

Tuesday we were up early again, this time to climb up the Eiffel Tower. When we arrived there was already a long line so we waited. About 20 minutes in we were told that the workers were on strike & the tower was closed for the day. We also found out the Louvre was closed. We felt so disappointed but decided to head towards the Notre Dame.

On the way we stopped for breakfast where I had cheesey eggs & bread. Eggs cooked in a bowl with melted cheese & a basket of soft bread. Very odd but delicious. The Notre Dane was quite a walk but we made it & did an audio tour. The building is exquisite & I adored those big stain glass windows. The history was also really interesting.

All of these are made of chocolate

Notre Dame

Next we were off to find the lock bridge where people put a lock on the railing & throw their keys in the river, locking your love forever. It was quite a mission but eventually we had a lock & I even engraved our names on it myself.

I was impressed with my engraving efforts

He threw that key as far into the river as he could!

The louvre was shut but that didn't stop us visiting the pyramid & looking at the beautiful building. We had macaroons and drinks at the cafe too. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon after walking all over the place.

In the evening we walked down to the Eiffel Tower & sat with all the holiday markers in the park eating crepes & fresh baguette for dinner. We spent the rest of the night walking around the tower, watching it sparkle on 3 different occasions & much to my joy, we had a ride on the carousel, right in front of the Eiffel Tower. I will never forget my last night in Paris, it was absolutely magical. We finished off the night with Nutella and banana crepes to share in a little café not far from our apartment.

Last night in our amazing room

I woke up in the middle of the night to find Jeff sitting at the window looking out. He said he didn't want to leave the amazing view. We were so fortunate with our apartment.

Our last day in Paris was Wednesday & we were determined to get up the Eiffel Tower. We had to head to the airport at 10:30am to fly to Rome and the tower opened at 9am. We woke up with the sunrise at 6am and headed down to the tower. We were first in line & eventually when they opened we bought tickets & were in the first lift of the day to floor 2. From there we went to the summit. While in line we met a lovely Australian lady with her two girls who helped to make sure we made it up before we had to leave. We couldn't believe that we'd got to the top & even had time for a coffee & pastry at the 2nd floor cafe. It was the perfect way to end our time in the city of love, Paris.

Sunrise over Paris

First in line

Our new friend who helped us get to the top

We made it!