Unlike our visit to Dubai, I had heard so many negative things about Paris that I didn’t have high hopes at all. Yet another example of how misleading expectations can be! People had told me it was smelly, full of pickpockets, and the people were rude, with some suggesting we just bypass Paris altogether. As I told them, at least they had the opportunity to make up their mind about Paris, and I intended on having that opportunity too – and I’m so thankful we did, because (cue the cliche) I absolutely fell in love with the city of love!
Wes and I had grand plans for our day in Paris, which included visits to the Eiffel Tour, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and the Notre Dame, and a lunch consisting of ham and cheese baguettes (well for me, anyway). Unfortunately, we did a terrible job of navigating our way around the city. Not only was the weather terrible and we completely underestimated how far apart everything was, I also had the flu and was relying on regular pseudoephedrine doses to keep me going. We missed out on seeing a lot, and if i have any regrets from our honeymoon, it’s how much we failed at being tourists in Paris! Nonetheless, we still had an amazing and memorable day – and this is what we got up to!
The Iron Lady
I’m a complete sucker for tourist attractions and I simply could not get enough of the Eiffel Tower! (Hence why it’s in 99% of my photos from Paris.) It honestly took my breath away every time I spotted it, and I could have spent hours just gazing up at it from underneath. Our first stop included a picnic dinner with frogs legs, snails and a view of the Eiffel Tower all included – it really doesn’t get much more French than that! The next morning we headed off early to line up for a ticket to the top. It took a couple of hours to go the 276m up to the viewing platform and down again, including getting through security and lining up for tickets. Despite the fact it was completely overcast and freezing cold, I wouldn’t definitely recommend going to the top of the Eiffel Tower! Would it have been better on a sunny day? Absolutely, but I don’t have any regrets what-so-ever in ticking that item off my bucket list!
Take a walk
When we realised we weren’t going to make it to all of the places we’d planned on visiting (and my flu was getting the better of me), we decided to change our plans and walk around until we found a warm, dry place to eat lunch. We ended up strolling a few kilometres through the Tuileries Gardens and along the Champs Elysees, and to be honest, it was one of my favourite parts of the day. Instead of sulking over the fact we missed out on exploring the Louvre, climbing the Arc De Triomphe and visiting Notre Dame, I just accepted we didn’t have enough time and soaked in every bit of the city I could whilst just wandering through it. Fortunately, I also found myself a hot chocolate, a cheese and ham baguette and a couple of cold and flu tablets to keep me going for the rest of the afternoon.
Get lost in the culture
Find a bar where no one speaks English, or a restaurant where you can order raw mince for your main course (sorry Jessie!) and just appreciate everything the French have to offer. My favourite memories from our time in Paris were our evenings spent wandering with our newly found tour friends, getting to know one another and new city all at once. On our first night we sat in a bar where we ordered ciders in broken French (ah, cidre!) and listened to live music despite not understanding a single word. I spent most of the night sitting there in amazement that we were actually there, in Paris, in a bar, on the other side of the world. For someone who doesn’t consider herself that cool – well I felt pretty damn cool at that moment in time.
Despite not being the most road savvy person, another highlight of Paris was a bike tour with Fat Tire Tours where I not only learnt tons about the history of the city, but managed to stay upright the entire time! It really was a fantastic way to see as much as possible in a short period of time, with plenty of stops along the way to snap some photos and learn all sorts of quirky facts from our tour guide – including a very bizarre story about Napoleon Bonaparte (but I won’t spoil it for you here)!
A night at the Cabaret
An optional activity on our tour was a night out at the Cabaret with complimentary wine included. We weren’t originally going to go, but as it was the start of our tour, we thought it would be great to have a night out with the rest of the crew. Tickets were $100+ each and to be blatantly honest – it was a total let down. I’ve heard the Moulin Rouge is amazing, but this wasn’t the Moulin Rouge unfortunately! Some of our fellow travellers loved it, others chose to nap through it (myself included), and we didn’t have the best seats either. As we were seated under a balcony, we missed the entire acrobatic act, and the wine wasn’t great either. But hey, you can’t win them all!
Trip for travelling
If there’s one piece of advice I can leave you with if you’re heading to Paris, it’s knowing how you’re going to get from A to B before you head out for the day – especially if you’re on limited time like we were! When we realised all of the main attractions weren’t really walking distance from one another, I had to try and master using Uber for the very first time (and epically failed at it too). Whether it’s working out the metro system or grabbing a ticket for the hop on-hop off bus, just have a plan and stick to it so you’re not left disappointed.
Paris is definitely a city I’d love to visit again, and stay a little longer next time too! If you’ve been to Paris before, let me know what your highlight was in the comments below and please reassure me that’s it’s totally ok I went all the way to France and didn’t see the Mona Lisa! 😉
Next stop – the Swiss Alps!