I was going to try my hand at an informative post for my trip to Paris. In my head I had planned restaurant reviews, transport help and a rough schedule to fit all the key sights into a long weekend in Paris. But having done my planning and thinking of everything in a formal manner, I realised that this weekend was one of the best of my life.
Therefore, this may not be of any interest to, well, anyone, but this is my weekend in Paris. The food, the sights, the everything, told from my eyes.
The reason for the trip was simple. It was Yasmin’s Birthday and I wanted to surprise her and take her away somewhere. I looked at Prague, Venice, Florence, Amsterdam, but I couldn’t help but think we should tick off the basics first. Neither of us had been to Paris, well, she had at a very young age, so it seemed okay to take her to the most cliche place in Europe, because she loves Disney, and I’m a soppy bastard.
I had looked at Eurostar, but by the time we’d have gotten into London on the train with suitcases, travelled to Paris and then got to our hotel, it seemed easier to fly. Plus it was a bit cheaper, meaning more money to spend on cuddly toys at the Disney Store, which I’ll get to later.
When we arrived at our hotel it was late, so we dropped our bags off, sprayed some (lots of) deodorant and went straight down to a little cafe next door. It was perfectly Parisian, not an English native in sight, and we drank ice cold wheat beers and got excited about our weekend ahead. There was a black dog there too, which was nice.
Day one was a trip to Disneyland Paris. Getting there was nice and easy, a short Metro ride then a train straight to the gates. I’ve been to Disney World in Orlando and was curious to see how they compared. Honestly, they look pretty identical when you first enter, and a lot of the rides are indistinguishable. It was hot and sunny in Paris, but not the suffocating treacle-like air of Florida, so that was cool. Overall, I actually preferred Paris, mostly because it’s a smaller park and therefore it didn’t take 20 minutes to walk to each attraction, but also because they had a whole Star Wars area.
My favourite ride was probably Big Thunder Mountain, although the Buzz Lightyear lazer-quest style ride was good enough to go on twice, although it broke down just before we got on the second time, so I couldn’t record a second overwhelming victory over Yasmin.
We ate at Walt’s, which was amazing. Not cheap, but it didn’t feel like we were in a theme park at all. Eating incredible food and looking out the window at Main Street was surreal, and we’d definitely eat there again rather than get a quick pizza at one of the kiosks.
We left absolutely shattered, but had an incredible day, and I got my strawberry-smelling Lotso cuddly toy from Toy Story, so I was happy.
Sunday was a sightseeing day, although first we stopped at Cafe Les Deux Magots, which was nicer than it sounds. Apparently they filmed a scene from Inception here, although I still haven’t seen the film yet. We went and walked across the love lock bridge after breakfast, and although most of the padlocks had been removed, we managed to find space for ours on a streetlight.
We went to Notre Dame, where I posed alongside an Asian couple who were doing a photoshoot.
They quickly left. Notre Dame was impressive, but we were more amazed by Sainte Chapelle, a place we stumbled across on the same island as the more famous cathedral. It has 360 degree stain glass windows and blew our minds.
That evening we got dressed up and went for dinner at Frame Brasserie, which was brilliant, and our view as the sun set was of the Eiffel Tower, beginning to light up. Yasmin isn’t hugely romantic, but even she loved this.
After dinner and enough wine to silence my fear, we walked to the (far larger than I had imagined) Tower. We were too late to go right to the top (such a shame…) but walked up as far as we could. Yep, walked. Well, more of a jog, because it seemed less scary that way. Covered in sweat and close to seeing my dinner for the second time, we reached the second floor. Without sounding all mushy and painfully cliche, standing up there and looking over Paris at night was up there with the best moments of my life so far.
Our last day there was meant to be spent visiting the Catacombs, but despite my extensive planning for this trip, I failed to notice that they weren’t open on Mondays. So instead we did some more exploring. We first tried to visit the Erotic Museum, only to find that it had shut down. Yasmin was devastated. Instead, we looked around some of the sex shops and it took every part of me not to buy an Eiffel Tower dildo. For display, of course. We also saw the Moulin Rouge, and although I thought the film with Ewan McGregor was rubbish, it was a cool landmark to see.
Next up was the Arc de Triomphe. We didn’t realise that you can climb to the top (via more stairs), and get a totally new view of the city by day. We walked back and I was treated to a ‘thank you lunch’ at another outdoor cafe, with views of the Eiffel Tower. Yasmin bought a crepe and a jumper with the word Paris on it, we took an obligatory cute photo in front of the main feature, I kicked her drink over by accident, and we went back to the hotel to begin our journey home.
Paris is quite expensive, but so is every other major city in, well, the world, going by my experience. It was meant to be a birthday treat for her, but it turned out as just as exciting for me. The city has brilliant public transport, but is equally as easy to explore on foot, and every street is littered with excellent cafes and restaurants.
This article wasn’t the in-depth travel guide I had intended it to be, but I fell in love with Paris, and there is no way to explain it without trying to convey how many incredible things we managed to do in one long weekend. Even so, we’ll be going back someday, to see those damn Catacombs.