Marking the fourth trip of 2015, my boyfriend and I went to Paris, the city of romance, for the weekend. The trip was a birthday present for my 21st birthday, as you might have read about. We’ve both visited Paris before, and the weekend was about rediscovering places we’ve already seen, and discover new things we might have missed last time.
We took the bus to Paris from the Netherlands, and arrived in the outskirts of Paris in the afternoon. After unpacking, we found a nice place to eat and immediately faced the harsh reality: our French is terrible. We wanted sparkling water, but apparently “avec bubbles” wasn’t French at all, and after much gesturing, the waitress just brought out three bottles and let us pick. She was incredibly nice about our butchering of her language.
After that, we took a stroll through the city centre – from the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs-Élysées and by the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. It’s quite the walk, but it was lovely to get a sense of the city on foot.
If you’re ever in Paris during the summer and you’re not quite the morning person, it’s great to stay in the city until after sunset. There are still many people around and the atmosphere is amazing.
On the first full day, we visited some of the sights. The highlight for me was definitely having lunch of the steps of the Sacré-Coeur. Walking up all of those stairs is completely worth it – from atop of the hill the church stands on you can see the entire city. The view is absolutely stunning.
We also went book shopping that day – at Shakespeare & Company and Gibert Jeune. Look out for my thoughts on these two stores later this month!
On the second day we visited the Louvre, another Paris must-see. If you’re under 25 and from the European Union, it’s completely free! Just show your ID card at the entrance and you can go straight through. We were super tired from all the walking by then, but we still had a good time.
We had scouted the beautiful Parc Luxembourg the day before, which is where we spent our afternoon, lounging in the shadow of a few trees, enjoying the peace and quiet in the middle of the city. We needed a bit of downtime, because our “sleeping in” day was rudely interrupted by a fire alarm in the early morning. Apparently someone burnt a piece of toast. Bas took note from the real Parisians, and took a nice nap on a chair in the park. He might have snored, and I might have secretly laughed.
After a delicious dinner, we sat on on edge of the Seine, watching the sun set over the water.
It was a very tiring trip, even when taking the metro whenever we could. Paris is a gorgeous city, and I was pleasantly surprised at the price level for both food and books. We generally ate for about €15 a person (a main course and a bottle of water to share – around $16,50/£10,50 respectively), which is even cheaper than eating out in our boring little Dutch town. The people were friendly, ready to help when we were clearly looking a bit lost. The only con to Paris is that most people really do not speak English (well). Apart from the sparkling water incident, this wasn’t much of an issue for us.
After our two and a half days were over, it was time to say goodbye again. But I’m sure we will be back someday!