WARNING; This post is very photograph & text heavy.
As you all know I ventured to Paris last week with Hayley from Strangeness and Charm. We spur of the moment booked it back in July when the Eurostar tickets for October came available to buy. It cost us roughly £75 return each with a little extra on top for insurance. Hayley booked us three nights in a hostel since I bought the Eurostar tickets. After hearing positive reviews she went with St Christophers, The Canal Hostel which turned out to be bloody awesome (more on that a bit later). We roughly paid the same each. So over all, a three day city break to Paris cost us £150 each! Bargain holiday for two broke girls.
|London from our Travelodge Floor|
We stayed in a Travelodge in London the night before since we were booked on a 7:55 train to Paris (aiming to give ourselves three days rather than two in the city) however we had a LOT of problems in regards to the Travelodge and i’ve ended up lodging a complaint (not that they’ve responded yet). It was so much additional stress and I’m unsure I’d ever risk booking with them again. I’d purposely booked us into a Travelodge around the corner from Kings Cross/St Pancras to ensure we’d be there to check in a good 30 minutes before departure (as it’s required with Eurostar) however on arrival at the correct hotel we were told we didn’t have a room “due to renovation work” not that anyone tried to contact us before hand! What made it worse is that there wasn’t even a room else where lined up for us so we had to sit, freezing cold after being caught in the rain and wait for them to find us a room. We were then shipped off to Covent Garden and once again on arrival had to wait for a room, this was now after 11pm and we had to be up about 6am. On finally getting into our room we discovered it was a double, not a twin like i’d booked. The story sadly gets worse… we were informed by both hotels that we would be able to get a taxi from the hotel to Kings Cross on their dime the next morning if we came down to reception for 6:50.. we were there at 6:45. Guess what? No bloody taxi! After ringing around they told us we’d have a 25 minute wait for a taxi. By this point, I kicked off. I was tired and stressed so one of the members of staff flagged us down a taxi. I double check that this would be paid for by the company and again he assured me it was.. Alas on arrival a St Pancras we found it there was no such arrangement and since we were already running late I just threw cash at the situation. Luckily my dad had given me some emergency money.
SO that’s the tale of woe. Luckily it’s the ONLY tale of woe from Paris. So here is what happened for the rest of our first day.
We made it through check in, passport control and had our bags scanned. We managed to grab a croissant and coffee from Cafe Neros before it was time to board. Despite the storm that was seemingly affecting the country, we left St Pancras on time and sped through the English Countryside for a while before eventually hitting the tunnel. The actual tunnel part of the journey took no time at all and we were in France before we knew it. The most boring part was definitely waiting to arrive in Paris, the excitement of being in France but having well over an hour to wait to get to Paris was frustrating but before we knew it, we had reached Gare du Nord and our Paris adventure could begin!
We got slightly lost making our way to St Christophers but on arrival we were no disappointed! It was situated right by a canal and the view was beautiful (not so from our room but we barely looked out so it didn’t matter much). The place was definitely aimed at the younger crowd. Graffiti and decoupage walls and all the rooms were named after places in Paris. We got the Library of France which was right up both our street! The staff were all so lovely and helpful, the bar & restaurant area were awesome. While we waited on check in at 2pm we had a drink (non alcoholic) and some potato wedges. I think it came to 7e for us each which was a nice surprise as everyone had warned me how expensive Paris was yet so far we had seen little of the high costs.
After dumping our bags we headed back into the heart of the city. We decided to hit the Louvre first so we made our way back to the metro stop (which was less than 10 minutes walk away, always a bonus). We’d bought 3 day passes which cost 23e I think and were unlimited between zones 1-3 which would be the only zones we were using. The metro was so easy to navigate once you got used to it and not much different from the tube in London or the subway in New York. We stopped via the Cafe du Chat to make a reservation for the following day as it was high on Hayley’s places to visit. On arrival at the Louvre we had a quick coffee stop in Starbucks (how authentically French, not) before tackling the museum. Thank god we had a caffeine top up because I can only describe The Louvre as hell on earth. I’m sorry but it’s true. So badly laid out, so badly sign posted. At one point we followed signs to an exit only to find it no longer existed but no one had removed the markers! It was hot, crowded and I would of been so disappointed had I paid for it! Luckily we simply had to show our passports to get in for free. We did see the Mona Lisa, so at least that’s something to mark off the bucket list. Also saw the Venus de Milo, as well as a lot of other sculpture. My favourite bit was the old ruins in the basement though, fantastic how they managed to preserve them!
|Venus de Milo|
|The famous Mona Lisa|
|After surviving The Louvre (just)|
We finally escaped the maze that was the Louvre after gone five and we decided to walk along The Seine to see Notre Dame as neither of us were that bothered about going inside but we did still want to say we’d seen her. The walk took longer than expected but it was lovely. We saw the sun go down and the lights all come on, we saw The Eiffel Tower in the distance which did get us excited and we managed to see the Love Lock Bridge i’d wanted to go to. Unfortunately I didn’t have my lock with me, but it was a sight to behold! Those thousands and thousands of locks attached all over the bridge. Hayley remarked “I wonder how many of these are still together” and she’s probably right! After a good half an hour we finally came upon Notre Dame. She was beautiful and we got some good photos before making our way into the Latin Quarter to find a place for dinner.
After a bit of wandering we came upon a cafe called Le Village Ronsard which was an authentic French Bistro.. and as you know the saying “when in Rome” or Paris as it was, we thought we’d go native. I’m not going to go into too much detail or post photos as I have a whole food and drink related post planned to share but it was good. We finished the night by grabbing a nutella crepe each from a street vendor and heading back to the hotel where on arrival we were so exhausted that we couldn’t even partake in Mojito Mondays in the bar! We just called it a day and headed to bed.
Tomorrow I’ll share what we got up to on day two in Paris!