For years I’d been the girl who had never been to Paris despite calling myself ‘well travelled’. I’d listen intently when people talked of this amazing city that everyone loved but I’d worry because I don’t have a good track record with cities and was convinced I wouldn’t like Paris. After falling in love with Barcelona earlier this year I was even more sceptical and curious in equal doses. Turns out I shouldn’t have been any of these things. During our France road trip we spent exactly eight and a half hours in the city and I was completed fascinated. So much so I was booking a return trip in my head before our day was up.
A Day In Paris
We took the 9 am train to Paris from Reims and didn’t even have enough time to get comfy in our first class seats (they were cheaper than second class!) the journey was so short. Knowing we had little time on our hands we had decided to buy Big Bus Tour tickets as a way of being able to see lots during our precious time. We had loved our time on them in New York and they provided a way to learning valuable information about the city. However, just like in New York the route took longer than we’d expected and our day was immediately on the back-foot. That being said we had a very relaxing and exciting morning spotting all of the famous landmarks of Paris. At least from the top of the open deck bus we could take in the sights, sounds and smells of this pulsing city. I would much rather this than being crammed on a stuffy metro train without any view of Paris.
It was 1pm by the time we reach the Eiffel Tower, yes we had seen The Louvre, The Seine, Notre Dame Cathedral, Champs Elysee, Arc du Triumph, Grand and Petit Palace and so much more. But I was dying to experience something. I’d tried to pre-book the Eiffel Tower but even a month before hand it was already full and with our time fading away we didn’t have time to queue for entry. We still had cruise tickets to use (we’d purchased these with our Big Bus ticket) so marched down to the river to find our boat. We seemed to arrive at peak time and ended up waiting for over 30 minutes for our ride. The boat was huge and as some of the first to climb on we could pick the best seats in the house. On such a sunny summers day it was certainly one of the best places on be in Paris, the cool breeze whipped through our hair as we took in more of the sights, sounds and smells of Paris. Cruising along the Seine before turning just beyond the Notre Dame and heading back to our dock at the Eiffel Tower, I finally felt like I was experiencing some.
We docked a little after 3pm realising all we had eaten since arriving in Paris was ice cream, still we didn’t want to waste our time sitting for a meal. Instead we began our walk to the love lock bridge in hope we would find something along the way. First we found a water fountain on the edge of the Seine, expecting it to be fresh still water I gulped some down. It was instead sparkling water and oh so refreshingly cold, where else in the world would you find a sparkling water fountain? We then ordered freshly made pancakes from a little river side stall and gulped them down even faster than the water. We’d seen many a love lock bridges while on our boat cruise but opted for the one closest to the Eiffel Tower and not far from the Louvre. After borrowing a pen from some of the touts selling locks, our deed was done and locks firmly attached to the bridge with the key sinking into the water below. This was the Paris I’d imagined experiencing but my list for the day was longer than the hours we had left.
We continued our walking for the rest of the afternoon entering the Tuileries Garden towards the Louvre itself. We’d seen it from the bus earlier that morning but decided to take in the views from a closer angle. It was worth a second visit as the crowds had dispersed a little by late afternoon and we could take in a proper look albeit of the outside only. As we wandered back up to Gare l’est for our train out of this city I marvelled in the sights, sounds and smells of Paris once again. Fascinated by the small streets with breathtaking architecture above my head, how every cafe had those picture perfect seating arrangements and how nobody really seems to walk anywhere expect around the famous landmarks.
Paris in a day was a rush and a situation that would normally have stressed me beyond belief. I only managed to achieve a handful of the things I’d wanted to do but for once that actually didn’t matter. I’d explored a city with some of my favourite people and just relaxed in the atmosphere of Paris – that alone is certainly enough to make me fall in love with this city.