Ridonculously late post, but given the Christmas and New Year's festivities (and special guests from home coming to stay), things have been a little busy! But with the new year comes a new resolution to be better in keeping this blog up to date (which coincides with my resolution to do a whole lot more adventuring around Europe!)
Rewind back to a cold evening in November - with the realisation that I'd been in London for 2 months and hadn't ventured outside of it (The furthest out I had been was in Hampton Wick, which is still technically part of Greater London and that was only because I was working there!), I decided immediate action was necessary! I booked accommodation and eurostar tickets to Paris for early December and immediately began researching countless food and travel blogs and practicing the remnants of high school french.
The last time I was in Paris I was 21, on a whirlwind tour of Europe with 4 friends. I honestly couldn't remember much about my time there, apart from being whisked from place to place on the tour bus, trying escargot for the first time (it wasn't that bad! kinda like eating mussels!) and one of the most stressful hours of my life as the other taxi with 3 of the girls took a turn away from ours and failed to turn up at the hotel! (They eventually did arrive after 2 cabs, a 30min walk and a long story to tell!)
So this time, a little older and hopefully a little wiser, I ventured to Paris on my own (cue Les Mis soundtrack.)
A few memorable moments from the trip:
- (almost) running into trouble with the law mere minutes after leaving my apartment buliding, when I hopped on to the DLR (light rail) just as the ticket inspector was kicking someone off and realising that I had forgotten to "tap in" - ticket inspector was actually very nice and suggested I hop off at the next stop and tap in there before continuing my journey
- having the "privilege" of sitting next to an aroma-challenged gentleman for the 2+ hour trip to Paris. (I escaped to the cafe car for a good 45 mins and sipped that chocolat chaud ever-so-slowly)
- looking out my hotel window and seeing the Tour Eiffel peeping over the rooftops *squeal*
- wandering through the Christmas Markets along the Champs Elysées , wanting to eat everything from Raclette to Canneles, Crepes to Barbe à Papa (Fairy Floss), Frites to Beignets and so much more...
- resting in the beauty that is the Monet's Water Lilies rooms at the Musée de l'Orangerie (new fave place in Paris!)
- unexpectedly getting to see the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibition as well - her life and art was so fascinating
- witnessing a middle-aged Parisian woman intercept, chastise and eject a group of gypsy teenage pickpockets on the metro to the applause of fellow passengers
- late night picnics-in-bed with the spoils from the local markets and department store food halls - the baguettes were amazing, as was the butter, cheese and jambon de bayonne (and Badoit - my new fave mineral water!)
- the unexpected street art in Beaubourg and Montmartre (wish I could've wandered around and seen more of this!) - in particular the mosaic Nintendo/Pacman style figures randomly placed around town...
macaron overload - Pierre Herme, Laduree, Carette (Pierre Herme's limited edition White Truffle and Wild Hazelnut is definitely an acquired taste...)
feeling like I could very well die from either heart failure on the way up the Arc de Triomphe and from tumbling down the never-ending spiral staircase on my way down (the view from up top was stunning though and worth facing my fear of heights!)
bumping into the Café des 2 Moulins from Amélie whilst on a Montmartre Walking tour! Favourite Movie of all time!
seeing snippets of Sacré-Coeur through the alley ways of Montmartre and then being amazed by its presence when in full sight
getting lost in the cavernous shopping alleys of Les Halles and surfacing to find the joy that is HEMA (dutch store that has gorgeous stationery and decorations and what not at great prices)
wandering along the Seine river, breathing in the crisp air and chomping on a bag of chouquettes (choux puffs)
train being delayed by an hour or so on the way back to london, leading to eurostar offering me a free trip in compensation!
I definitely need to go back to see more - good thing I have that free trip!
Anyone for a cheeky Bastille Day celebration? Vive la France!