Monday, 11 August 2014

Once upon a time in Paris

So the other day, we sort of decided on a spontaneous whim to go to Paris.
No biggy, lets hop on the Eurostar and go say hi to Ollie.
Sound like us?  Yeah.. plans :P What are those?
I've been to Disney Paris a couple of times, and even gone around the city but only on the coach on a school trip stopping off just to "nip" up the eiffel tower on foot where they had free ice skating! Never truly exploring the city, So when Georges brother moved to Paris, we both exchanged glances that said... "Holiday?"
No, okay that's totally unfair... it wasn't like that at all :P We thought we'd go pay him a visit and have an awesome fun time checking out his new flat and offering moral support, take him for lunch and all that :P

Last week (Literally last week) we figured we had about 4 days off work in a row so George's stepmum suggested we went to hang out with Ollie and have a good look around Frances one and only capital in the height of summer. That same day, I booked the Eurostar tickets (Which were a small fortune, but accommodation wasn't an issue) and three days later we were on the train to St.Pancras International to get the Eurostar!
I'm afraid this isn't going to be an extremely photo heavy post, see Paris is rife with crime and every corner there's pickpockets waiting to fleece you of your latest gadget or contents of your purse. After the first day, we just didn't feel comfy carrying around a Nikon D610 so decided that when we'd retire it for the rest of the trip but when we go again, we'd take my naff old Pentax K1000 because lets face it... who wants to pinch that old beast :P
So Ollie lives near Montmatre, a truly charming and bohemian quartier of this old city, the Sacré Coeur literally "round the corner" an immensely beautiful piece of architecture. He let us stay in the spare room, we had a balcony and a view from right up high. We even had a fireplace in our room! Loved it.
The first day, we got up early and crammed in the typical sights like Notre Dame, Eiffel tower and pretty much loitered around the eiffel tower most of the day. It was a scorcher, and the sights were lovely and obviously massively busy.

Our main source of transport! Le Velib 

Paris Tips:-

Don't buy anything from the persistant guys who loiter under the eiffel tower and don't let them put bands on you. This didn't happen to us, but we saw loads of people who were harrassed constantly by all of them once they bought one item. It sort of reminded me of St.Ives in the summer when the tourists feed the seagulls...

Don't carry bags. Put your wallet as far deep down in your front pocket and take a crappy camera. Try not to look like a tourist

Take an umbrella... the thunderstorms are immense :P

Le Velib is a godsend, as long as you have E150 in your account to act as a deposit they are the cheapest way to get around all day and are the most fun way to see the city. My favourite memory in Paris was riding along the roads in the sunshine with all the major sights passing me by, I felt so European. All I needed was some bread in my basket :P I should probably have explained that Le Velib is the Parisian answer to London's "Boris Bikes". Just be weary to check you didn't pick on up with a broken chain/flat tire and the biggest issue is finding a station with a free space to park it when you're done with it :P

So yeah, we saw the city entirely by bike. We took the metro a few times, St.Martin being one of my favourite stops as you pop out at the Latin Quarter which is typical oldee accordion-street Paree. don't bother with the restaurants there as they're all tourist traps. We got a Greek kebab from the takeaway (They are amazing, really not what you get in England) and ate by the Seine in the evening light looking at Notre Dame. There's also a beautiful little restaurant at the foot of the steps going to the Sacre Coeur that is cheap and cute with rainbow tables and chairs. I forget the name, but the food is spot on. Coq-au Vin and the best chocolate fondant that ever was.

I pretty much had the "Hunch Back of Notre Dame" Soundtrack in my head the entire time... that and all of Yann Tiersens pieces from "Amelie" :P

I was delighted to find at least one accordion player in Paris!  

We found a flash little bar called "Les Antiquieres" which was averagely pricey for Paris, but when realisation dawned that I wasn't driving, and I was in Paris on a hot summers day... I excitedly ordered my favourite cocktail which was on their menu! Weirdly an English classic called the Bramble. It was almost as expensive as the water :P What makes me laugh about Paris, is that you can get a bottle of wine for just over a euro but water is pretty pricey!

We were writing two version of the same story here, a short story I started about the sun and the moon and how the eclipse came to be.

Some of our favourite bits about Paris were:-

The Latin Quarter during dusk
Take away Greek Kebabs
The Shakespeare bookshop
Notre Dame
The Eiffel Tower's light displays
Le Velib

We sadly didn't get time for any museums and funds were low, but next time we'll definitely be exploring some of Parises quirky museums and galleries

Went for a dip! These were the fountains by the tower, we went in and our clothes dried surprisingly quickly. Water was a bit green though :P

It was really fun spying a newly married couple strolling along the Seine having their wedding photographs done... What a beautiful setting for a marriage!

I really don't like cola :P George was trying to force feed it to me. yuck :P

There are so many incredible things to photograph in Paris, so many adventures I didn't document... such as our trip to the Champs Elysées, St.Martin, the beautiful ancient bookstore in the Latin Quarter and our midnight bicycle ride miles home across the city cause we missed the metro >.< Sorry these are so simply touristy and selfie, next time I'll be taking my old film camera and hopefully do this lovely city some justice.
We only just scratched the surface of what there is to see here, but we were lucky enough to stay in an apartment with people who lived in the city so it felt much more relaxed and less like a holiday. It was great, and George was secretly pleased to spend time with his big brother. It's only just turned August but its started to feel like Autumn's on its way already, as I write this I'm dying to stick my head out the window to catch a glimpse of the Perseids which are happening tonight. I look forward to coming back for more and bigger adventures in this romantic, bohemian city and really getting to know it.
If I'm lucky, I might be able to weedle in a day trip over to Disneyland.

For now,
                                             A Bientot


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