Firstly, if you have never travelled to Leeds then you should. In terms of shopping it is pretty cool; we have designer stored in Victoria Quarter, boutiques all along towards the Corn Exchange, great food (even vegan), and the city is lively. As far as the arts go, there are things that people aren’t aware of, I have only just started realising how many theatres we have, the new exhibitions we have in small art spaces throughout the city, and Leeds is about to get more money injected into it. I for one cannot wait.
We caught the train from Leeds to London then the Eurostar from London to Paris. The reasoning behind this was that flying from LBA-CDG or ORY would have cost us a fortune because of all the luggage we had. Catching the train was the same price as flying without all the luggage, and, we wanted to be able to say we had done it. Well first things first, if you get motion sickness, the train is not for you. Oh dear. I am also one of those people who doesn’t like medicating for anything. Honestly, I think I would have to be in excruciating pain before I start taking meds. So as far as travel sickness goes, I am going to remain quiet and focus on arriving and not how I feel in the present moment – sick, sick, sick. The Eurostar lounge was surprisingly nice. If truth be told, it did not make up for the journey. Once I was on, I noticed how dirty it was, and my ears popped, and I felt sick to my stomach… I would have quite easily walked from the shore of France to Paris at that moment. In all honesty it was bad, I will never do it again. Was it worth it? No. But we saved money. I did see a little of the French countryside on a nice sunny day which was nice. It was also really strange/nice that when we came up onto French soil the sun was out, where as when we left English soil it was a overcast. It never occurred to me till just now.
Arriving in Paris
It was my second time in Paris and I think I truly fell in love with the city all over again. This was my apartment. I do not recommend if you have large suitcases, I do recommend if you regularly enjoy running up six flights of stairs with luggage. The apartment was beautiful and small and the host was amazing. The building it was situated in, was truly Parisian. Although it was high up, it had the most beautiful view out to Sacré Coeur which was amazing at night.
Le Tour Eiffel
The first night we got out as quickly as possible after freshening up and I wanted to walk to the Eiffel Tower. We stopped a Parisian and asked him how long it would take us, he kind of laughed in our faces and showed us on google maps. We were confident we would get there, it was summer weather, it was light, it was our first night in Paris – of course we were confident we could make it. And, we did. After stopping to amaze at the light show on the Eiffel Tower, and, I stealthily took photos of a cute couple watching the light show.
The photo is slightly blurred. Annoying. But, I was stealthily trying to capture them. We managed to walk to the Eiffel Tower though it was dark and my feet hurt by the time we got there. We were friendly with some girls from America and were asking about the cost to get here and how they usually travelled, how long they stayed etc. It was interesting, we always try to talk to as many people as possible whilst away; its interesting to meet people, even if its only a brief five minute chat. Afterwards we used the awesome bikes in Paris. You must have a credit card to use and you must dock the bikes before 30 minutes is up, otherwise you are charged. We had to ask some Parisian girls for help because we got confused, and the bikes can be trick to operate. If the seat is to the side it means its broken. Always kick the foot pedal backwards to make sure its working and check the tyres. When placing the bike on the rack lock it in until it flashes green otherwise… it hasn’t locked and you will be charged for eternity and it will take out the £150 deposit per bike. You can buy three day passes for the bikes in Paris so it worked well for us, we cycled everywhere after that night. Also, Paris is very safe in respect of cycling. The only issue we had, apart from stressing out waiting for the green light, was finding somewhere to dock at night. On a few occasions we had to cycle around looking for docks. If its night time, just ensure that you have enough time to cycle, or if you pass a dock that has space, dock it and wait a few minutes to dock another one. It will save you time in the long run.
Parc des Buttes – Chaumont
In preparation for my trip to Paris, whenever I managed a spare minute from writing about the rights of the child, I came upon this park and just knew I had to visit when I came to Paris. The morning we went up here was beautiful. We set off early and I decided we should walk because, it didn’t seem too far. What an idiot. I should have picked up a bike, as we had three day passes. We were near Gare du Nord, if you go straight up towards the Canal Saint Martin and take a North-easterly road and walk to the top, you will hit the park. We got into the park and there were many runners, nannies, people tending to the grounds. It was divine. Exactly how I had pictured it, truly Parisian. We sat on a bench and just people watched, wildlife watched and looked at the views.
As you can imagine, after a long walk there, people watching and a long walk up to the top and around the park, we were in need to food. We found a fantastic restaurant, cheap, vegetarian and not too far. Les Marmites Volantes it has set menus so for the two of us it cost €26. Not bad in Paris. And the food was really good. They even had black rice!!! You can imagine our shock, not many people understand the true greatness of black rice. Me and my boyfriend were very happy.
Our last day in Paris isn’t really worth a mention. We packed for most of the morning and checked in to our flight. Afterward we walked up to the Moulin Rouge passing Sacre Coeur in the area of Montmartre. I do not like the area, I didn’t the first time, I still don’t. We found a really great expensive store named Pigalle (boyfriend almost blew a gasket over a hat he saw, and almost bought (thank God he did not, it was horrid)) and found an amazing lunch place.
All in all, Paris was wonderful. I just regret not getting enough done whilst there. I wish I had a phone that connected to internet so I could google map to places and find local reviewed Bistros. I wanted to do so many other less touristy things. I can wholeheartedly state I enjoyed Paris. We have already been considering driving over… we shall see what the future brings.
Q: Have any of you been to Paris, and if so, what was your favourite thing?
Mine was sitting in the Parc des Buttes. The only thing I needed was a drink, and my hair to be out of my face, it was so perfect.
Keep young my fellow travellers.