With the lateness of my blogs I’m guessing you just came from my Slovenia/Croatia blog (if not, check it out here).
So, being the mad eejits that we are, we had booked another trip away the day after we got back from Croatia, after all, we only had 2 weeks holidays and we wanted to make the most of them! So, after recovering from the bus trip on Tuesday, we began packing on Wednesday for the next bus trip – to Paris!! I really considered getting a last minute flight and meeting the girls there for the sake of some beauty sleep, but after remembering the cheap as chips £32 return bus fare, I decided to just take the (shorter) 7 hour night bus to Paris. After the usual over packing issue, we set off to central station on the bikes at 11.30pm to get the midnight bus. This time, we were going with FlixBus which is much more comfortable, has more leg room and wifi! Although I didn’t sleep on this bus either (I don’t know how Erin did it with a man to our right snoring like a Boeing 747), it was made much easier by having some contact with civilisation!
We arrived in Paris around 7am, and saw the beautiful familiar sign that is Starbucks, so off we went for some breakfast in this Starbucks, situated in the fanciest shopping centre I have ever set foot in, we felt so out of place with me running about in sports leggings and Erin in her holey leggings (she promises they’re being thrown out after Erasmus… Let’s set up a GoFundMe page for another pair for her) but nevertheless we got ourselves tidied up and headed up the Champs Elysee for some retail therapy. Unfortunately, with the shootings nearby a few weeks ago, security has been increased considerably, so every shop we went into we had to open our backpacks, which got to be very irritating after a while, so we decided to head to the Sacre Coeur to sit on the steps, as Erin had talked about the amazing street artists in that area – which of course on that day were nowhere to be seen.
We just people-watched instead, which wasn’t a bad alternative! Finally, 2pm came around and we were able to go check in to our AirBnB. The man was late, and it turned out the beds were all sofa beds, but we were just happy it wasn’t a bus!
Afterwards, we went back to the Sacre Couer, dandered around Montmartre and ‘Painter’s Corner’ and then went for dinner in a piano bar. We were astonished at the price of Coke in Paris – 5 euro for a can!! A Chinese family behind us were also clearly astonished at the price of drinks in Paris, as they told the waiter they didn’t need water, they had brought their own… Cue a French-Chinese argument..
After a long day, we were glad to get back to the apartment, and all I was looking forward to was a hot shower … But lo and behold the shower was just lukewarm, so I called to Erin/Rachel to work out what was going on, resulting in Erin turning off the immersion heater and getting a stone cold shower…. Not good! We got a good laugh out of it anyway!
The next day, we headed to a bakery to do as the French do and have baguettes and croissants for breakfast which we ate in the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens. It was quite warm that day – I say warm, but I mean it was over 15 degrees, so Erin the wee sun worshipper that she is, whipped out the shorts. WELL, the French men must have never seen such a sight before, because everywhere we went, you’d have thought Erin was running about in a bikini there were that many people staring.
Anyway, next on the itinerary was the Notre Dame, so Erin the wee hussy that she is got the coat tied around her to look a bit more respectable. The Notre Dame was beautiful, however they have commercialised it so much, and there were some elderly ladies handing the priest rolls of notes to be blessed, which is really sad!
Next up, we went towards the lovelock bridge, which I questioned as we walked, as I had heard it was being taken down last year… So yeah, arrived at the ‘lovelock bridge’ to find it completely replaced … Dear love all the soppy couples whose locks are now at the bottom of a dump or made into a coke can!
As we dandered in the direction of the Louvre, we also discovered the ‘Inside Out’ building, which is constructed with pipes etc. Shout out to Davy Glenn, we knew you’d love pictures of this one!!
We eventually made it to the Louvre, and we ended up getting lost in an African Tribal display with some questionable art (which of course, being the young cultured ladies that we are) that we decided to mock. After some judgemental glares from the security men, we decided it was time to make a swift exit and make our way to the Eiffel Tower, getting some ice-cream along the way.
We got to the Eiffel Tower and it was such a beautiful day, we sat down and just took in the fact that we were sitting in Paris on a Friday afternoon! After some pictures (have you really been to Paris if you haven’t got a million photos beside it) we discovered that I was indeed sporting a Meryl Streep from Mamma Mia look, either that or a painter – take your pick!
After that photo shoot, we decided to go along the River Seine to see the Princess Diana memorial, where we attracted the attention of some young French men who wanted to know what we were looking at, they were very excited to hear we were from Northern Ireland and started singing Will Griggs on fire to us – the GAWA must have made quite the impression during the euros last year!
Our final stop that evening was up the Arc De Triomphe – it felt like 10 million steps to the top, but the views were definitely worth it!
Saturday was our final day in Paris, so we checked out and went to leave our luggage in Gare Du Nord, the day before had been pretty full on so we decided to go to Galleria LaFayette (another massive department store, boasting every designer you can imagine from Gucci to Fendi) and take her handy. The finance minister even allowed a cheeky splurge on lunch on the top floor with a view of the Eiffel Tower!
We grabbed dinner in Erin’s much loved Chipotle (American version of Boojum) and headed back to Gare Du Nord for our luggage, where the security guard made Erin remove everything from her pockets, coat etc. It took her about 10 minutes to get through the security gate, meanwhile Rachel and myself were wetting ourselves laughing at the idea of Erin being a criminal smuggling something in in that empty purse!!
We finally got sorted, and started heading back to Porte Maillot to catch our last (EVER hopefully!!) night bus back to Nijmegen. We decided to stop in at McDonald’s for a quick toilet stop, which was 50c, no big deal, we’ve gotten used to paying for toilets now.. The big deal though, was Erin (whose bladder is the size of a pea) had no 50c coins, so instead of exchanging it at the till or asking a stranger for 2 50c, she decided to jam a euro coin in the door!! So with Erin having wrecked the chance of a pee for the poor public of Paris, we went back to the fancy shopping centre to use theirs, but were soon stopped by the security guards, who said they didn’t speak English and then proceeded to tell us we couldn’t use the toilet because they were closing… Poor Erin had to wait on our (late) bus to use the toilet.
We got the bus home to Nijmegen and Rachel and I actually managed to get some sleep whereas Erin gained a friend beside her so couldn’t get sleeping. We arrived in Nijmegen at 5am to a dreaded cycle home where we collapsed into bed yet again!!