Our train from London to Paris departed at 9:10am, which, if Fella hadn’t checked the tickets the night before, we would have missed because for some strange reason, we were both adamant that it was at 12 noon. This all meant that we had to be up-and-atum earlier than originally planned. Poop. Oh well. It also meant: More time in Paris!
We got to the station early enough to get through customs and grab some breakfast from a little café. Nothing special by any means: a scrambled egg sandwich on a baguette and some extremely hot breakfast tea, of which, I couldn’t even sip on for at least 20 minutes. Seriously though, why serve a beverage the same temperature as lava? Its not enjoyable when it leaves second degree burns down your esophagus. Just sayin’…
I’d never ridden a train before. There I said it. The metro in D.C. and the tube in London are the closest to trains I’ve been on which, to some, are the same thing, but not to me. With that being said, I was pretty excited about traveling by train. Even more excited that the train was taking me to Paris! I was surprisingly able to capture some decent pics of the English/French county-side traveling 186mph.
We hopped off the Eurostar and hopped on to the Paris Metro where I got my first experience of the French culture: the smell of urine, overcrowded metro cars full of people with blank stares in drab clothing, and the sound of the train cars snaking down the rails, interrupted sporadically by the intercom’s announcements of upcoming stops (at least, that’s what I think it was saying; it was in a whole different language!). Not the best first impression, but I held out hope…
With our luggage in tow, we hit the streets looking for our hotel. I was relying on Fella to lead the way as I was taking in the sights and sounds of the so-called ‘city of love.’ At one point, we had stopped to get a bearing of where we were and I heard Fella say, “Oh, look.” I turned around, and there it was:
We found ourselves at a rather busy intersection before Fella announced he was lost. In any other instance, I would have slightly freaked out, but we were on an adventure and I was with my favorite person, so I didn’t mind. A mere 10 minutes after making the realization of not knowing where we were, we found it: Hôtel de la Tour Eiffel. After making the stupid decision of lugging our suitcases up 5 flights of stairs instead of taking the lift, resulting in having to lay down on the bed while having heart palpitations, we headed out to do some sightseeing before heading back to get ready for dinner.
On our way to the Eiffel Tower, we stopped in a local café for some French macaroons and tea. Fella had to order because I have practically zero knowledge of the language whereas he has a basic understanding from grade school. After a lot of pointing and shrugging, we settled into a corner with our mini macaroons, a chocolate filled croissant, and 2 cups of tea and watched as the day-to-day Parisian life unfolded before us. It was very idyllic. Then this happened…
Everywhere I go, I’m always enamored with the animals, especially the ones who don’t run the other way when people are around. Every bird we passed, I would greet with a friendly, “Hello, little birdie,” but then I realized; THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND ENGLISH! Then my heart broke for a moment, realizing that all the other birdos I had previously greeted didn’t understand me, so I had to come up with a greeting that they would understand. But like I said earlier, I don’t know French, so I had to use what little of the language I did know to come up with: “Bonjur, petit avion.” I now know that I was calling them all “little airplanes…” I’m sure they didn’t mind such a high compliment, especially my little birdie friend pictured above that I named François. Doesn’t he look like a François?
We then made our way back to our room to get dolled up for our dinner cruise down the Seine.
Guys, if you ever find yourself in Paris during the evening, I highly recommend taking a dinner cruise. We booked our’s with Bateaux Parisiens and it was amazing! You get to see the city from a different perspective during one of the most magical times of day in Paris; when the city seems to come alive with lights. You get to eat ridiculously fancy foods like veloute of butternut squash, mushroom royale and toasted pumpkin seeds, poultry pate with foie gras in a pastry crust served with a red onion and grape compote, poultry supreme with a herb crust, spelt and lemon confit sauce, pollack steak served with black rice and lobster sauce, poached pear with spiced red wine, walnut and almond crumble and chocolate caramel tart (and yes, these were all purely delectable). Plus, it gives you a fabulous reason to get all dolled up and head out for a night on the town. It was the best way we could have spent our one night in Paris.
With our bellies full, we made our way back to the hotel room to grab our padlock (cause I was a dummy and forgot it) and ventured out to find the Pont des Arts or the Love Lock Bridge. I had read many articles before our trip stating that the love locks had recently been removed due to the weight of thousands of locks jeopardizing the structural integrity of the bridge, but I was determined to place my lock of eternal love somewhere in Paris, dammit!
As we were walking back to the hotel, we saw a set of steps leading to a little clearing, so Fella and I walked over to explore what secret passage it was hiding. As we walked arm in arm up the steps, the bushes gave way to a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling its little heart out. I turned to Fella. “This is quite romantic,” I said, resting my head on his shoulder. Then, without missing a beat, he held his hand out and exclaimed, “Look, a rat!”
Sure enough, there was a giant rat bounding away from us on the far side of the clearing. Quite romantic indeed…
We grabbed the padlock and made our way to the metro. We got off at the Louvre- Rivoli, so we were able to peak inside the windows of the Louvre at some of the art work and pass the infamous Louvre Pyramid on our way out to the river. Since I figured the Pont des Arts was a lost cause, and I remembered seeing what looked like locks on another bridge further down the river during the dinner cruise, we set out on foot to find it. Of course, I had to be a girl and don 3 inch booties during our ‘romantic night out,’ so about 30 minutes into walking, my feet started killing me. Yours would too if you walked 1.5 miles in heels!
Near the end of our trek, I was miserable; my feet hurt, it started drizzling so I was wet, I was cold, and I just wanted to be in bed. Luckily my suffering wasn’t all in vain. We found the other bridge, the Passerelle de Solferino (the one we crossed on the map), where like minded love-birds started placing their love locks. We staked out a little piece of real estate right in the middle of the bridge next to a cluster of other locks. 100% worth it!
The next morning, we woke, got ready, packed, and made our way to a bistro we saw the day before advertising a bucket list food item for me: crepes (in France). The bistro was called Le Champ de Mars and it was the cutest little place ever! I mainly say that because they had the most adorable maître d’ and greeter.
I had my first ever taste of Nutella on my crepe (yum-mie) while Fella had his with sugar. Both were delicious (but mine was better 😛 )!
After breakfast, we headed back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and made our way back to the Eurostar to take us to London where we (right-side-of-the-road, left-side-of-the-car, drivers) rented a car. More on that next time!