I’ve never really known if I like Paris or not. I remember going to Disneyland Paris several times when I was younger and loving it, and I never remember having a certain dislike towards the city. However, when I moved to the South of France, I found myself telling my students that I didn’t like Paris because they all seemed to have some problem with it. My opinions were completely altered by the collective idea in the South of France that Paris is pourri.
When my Australian friend, Gen, who’s visiting me in Scotland, suggested that we go to Paris, I was really excited to get back to France, and to see if I like Paris once more. We booked our flights and after accidentally booking an Airbnb where the homeowner wouldn’t leave, we panic booked a second one.
So, we had 40 hours in Paris. Here was the plan:
- Visit every possible sight we can in the one full day we had.
- Meet up with my friend Anne.
- Have an amazing time.
(Ignore the awful iPhone pictures, I forgot to take my camera!)
On the plane from Edinburgh, we were super-duper excited and ready for lots of exploring. Sadly, our excitement was ruined as we stepped off the RER at Gare du Nord to find that our Airbnb was in a very dodgy area and was not as nice as the pictures suggested.
We took it on the chin and decided to just get as far away from that area as possible for the night and decide what we would do about it later. We took the métro down to the Saint Michel area, thinking it would be a lovely 20 minute stroll towards the Eiffel Tower.
After 40 minutes of walking, trying to look over the top of buildings to see the tip of the tower, and following the light that shone from it, we got a bit fed up and tired. Eventually, we saw the top tier of the tower, and found a lovely little brasserie where we could gaze at the wonder of the century old monument.
We had a lovely dinner of snails (much to Gen’s dislike), a cheese board and some wine. I was definitely in my element. This is what I’d missed since I left the country some 4 months earlier and to be back, sitting in a brasserie eating lovely French food with lovely French wine, relaxing with no pressure and no rush from the waiters or anyone around us, brought a lot of emotions back to me; some good, some bad.
Gen was getting tired, and I was getting pretty emotional at the fact that I’d have to go back to Glasgow and face the reality of university and boring, mundane life instead of going back to my beloved Aix-en-Provence and sitting drinking un apéro outside.
We headed back to the area that our Airbnb was in, and when coming off the métro, we were surrounded by a group of horrible looking men, and one lightly grabbed Gen. It’s safe to say we sprinted away from them, and jumped in the closest taxi we could find to our Airbnb 50 metres away.
Arriving back at our apartment, we felt a bit shaken up and made the decision to book a hotel in the Saint Michel area which we enjoyed wandering around earlier that day. Long story short, we found ourselves waking up at 7:30am to head to our new hotel in enough time to make the Louvre tickets that we’d booked for 9am (thanks Gen). May I add that it was pissing it down with rain, and by the time we reached the Louvre, we were drenched!
The Louvre was incredible (or incroyable as the French say). I’d been when I was young, but I don’t remember it. And I’d like to say props to my parents here for dragging three young children around the huge maze that is the Louvre. Anyone who has been will know; it’s massive!
After a few hours of wandering, wondering, glaring at the Mona Lisa, getting annoyed at Asians for pushing, taking sneaky selfies, and hunger, we headed out to find the skies of Paris had cleared and it was a beautiful day.
The rest of the day involved being huge tourists, as you can tell from my photos…
That night, with only 12 hours left in the city, we arranged to meet my friend Anne, who I met whilst living in the South of France, at one of her favourite restaurants in Paris. It was great to see her again and the meal was amaaaazing. I’d highly recommend visiting this restaurant if you’re ever in Paris!
We had a night filled with (lots of) cheese, wine from baby bottles, climbing over tables to get to our seat, chatter, laughter, strolling along the red light district of Paris and having some wine in the café the Amélie was set in. It was great.
And so, we headed back to our hotel for a grand total of 4 hours sleep, only to jump back on a plane to sunny Scotland just 40 hours after our arrival. It was definitely my favourite trip to Paris so far and I can’t wait to go back in the future.
À bientôt Paris!