Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Parisian adventures, day 3: a Batobus trip down the Seine and the Louvre

On my final day in Paris, Harriet and I decided to do something I'd actually never done before: a boat trip down the Seine!

It was a super hot day, so the prospect of being on the cool water was mighty appealing. Don'tcha just laaaave being by a huge body of water?

There are a whole load of boat tour companies in Paris, the majority of whom offer one simple trip and are rather pricey. Boo to that.

The Batobus, however, is different. It's unique in that it has eight stops and passengers can hop on and off as they please - it serves sort of as a means of transport as well as a tour. Très efficient. I like that.

Equally pleasing is that a student ticket is 10€, for which price you can use le boat as much or as little as you please. Heck, you could ride that thing round and round in circles all day if you really wanted to get your money's worth.

Yeah, we didn't.

Each stop is at a particular attraction or point of interest, and we got on outside the Musée d'Orsay.

Oh, I shall also add - because I'm still chuffed about it - that not only was the ticket man delightfully friendly but he was also highly complimentary about my French. So that's nice to hear having just finished a blimmin' degree in the subject. Would've been awkward if the case had been otherwise really, wouldn't it?

Moving on.

We hopped on the boat after a brief wait (the boats come roughly every 20 minutes) and made our way straight to the sun-drenched back deck. Most of the boat is covered by clear glass and the roof does open, but Haz and I wanted to make the most of the sunshine and the view behind the boat. #backrowlads #notreally

With the flags billowing behind us, the Seine shimmering below, the wind in our hair and the sun on our faces, we had a beaut time cruising through Paris.

Having been to Paris my fair share of times, I particularly loved seeing the city from a new perspective. We breezed our way past Notre Dame, under the bridges and further down the river than I'd ever been on foot.

It was great!

You don't feel like the boat is stopping too frequently, and we thought it traveled at just the right pace.

I thoroughly enjoyed admiring all the gorgeous buildings and fantasising about what it must be like to live in them...

Haz and I hopped off at the Louvre stop, walked along the Tuileries gardens and made our way to what is probably the most famous pyramid outside Egypt.

Did we go into the museum? Negative.

So why were we there?

To take pictures, obvs.

I've been to the Louvre before and I'm sure I'll go again, but time was a-ticking and it was far too gorgeous a day to be in a museum.

Here's the thing: I really want to love museums, I do. But I just don't. Most of the time, I get bored. Pretty quickly.

I have loved some museums, for sure. But if I'm perfectly honest it's usually the classic ones - you know, the ones you're meant to go to - that fail to interest me. Sure, you feel all cultured if you go, but they're just not my fave way to spend a day. Ya feel me?

Museum rant over, let's take some pictures!

It's fun to be a tourist.

All that posing had made us hungry though, so we moseyed back to the river to eat our picnic with a view. (Although potensh not quite as good a view as the previous day's spot.)

Post-lunch we jumped back on the Batobus to finish the tour.

Ooh, what's that iconic landmark I spy?


The boat got super close which was pretty cool.

It was the perfect way to end my little trip to Paris, and I couldn't have asked for a better pal with whom to do it all.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Parisian adventures, day 2: a picnic by the Eiffel Tower

This, my friends, was one pretty dreamy day. Some may call it heaven. The word "bliss" was bandied around.

Haz and I spent the morning shopping (I got a graduation dress wahoo!) - when in Paris, it would be rude not to - before making our way to that most iconic symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower.

We arrived round the side, which I'd never done before, and I thought it looked super lovely amongst the green green greenery and a pond.

With the main lawns closed off, one side being watered (I had to somewhat embarrassingly try to outrun a moving sprinkler) and ALL the tourists, it wasn't the easiest of tasks to find a picnic spot, but we eventually found the perfect patch of grass and laid down our picnic blanket.


Aaaaand the behind the scenes shot:

Boy, do I love picnics. There's something about being outside in the fresh air, the simplicity of sitting on the grass and sharing nibbly food that I love.

And sure, it helps when you've got a pretty sweet view to admire.

Oh, and it also helps when you have Prosecco.

Prosecco makes everything better, doesn't it? So bubbly, sparkly and sweet. My new fave type of Prosecco is called Asti. Have you tried it? It's the sweetest I've ever had and suuuuuper delish.

We munched on fresh baguette, houmous, crudités, Doritos and fruit until we could munch no more. All that was left to do then was to lie back and soak up the sun.

It was hot hot hot in Paris that day!

I made sure to really appreciate the moment: the sunshine, one of my best friends, the Eiffel Tower, Prosecco. I felt so lucky to be there with no responsibilities, especially after finals.

The only thing that made it less than perf was the frequent pestering by men trying to sell us miniature Eiffel Tower souvenirs and selfie sticks. We don't want one now, and we didn't want one five minutes ago either!

Oh, and if someone comes up to you with a form and a pen and asks if you speak English, just shake your head and walk away. (I pretended to be German myself). They're scammers trying to con innocent tourists.

After a leisurely lunch and doze in the sun, we eventually felt strong enough to get up...

...aaaand do an Eiffel Tower photoshoot! What else?

I encouraged Haz to do her scorpion pose again...

...whilst deciding it was probably best I didn't attempt it. Jumping, however, I can do.

Shame about the bus in the background but you can't have it all, can ya?

I may have seen the Eiffel Tower many a time, but it never fails to make an impression. It's just so unique, and iconic, and well, when you think about it, kinda weird. But I like it a lot anyway. Did you know it was never meant to be permanent? This is a new piece of knowledge for me, so just thought I'd pass it on.

Le sigh, another day living the Parisian dream.

Miss my first day in Paris? Have a gander here.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Parisian adventures, day 1: Notre-Dame, the Marais and the Hôtel de Ville

Oh Paris. Lovely, wonderful, beautiful Paris. You never fail to charm me.

Although I’ve visited the French capital many a time, (remember this spontaneous weekend? And this solo visit? Oh, and that quick stop-off?), the prospect of a few days back in Paz post-finals was one of the things that saw me through my exams.

As Audrey Hepburn once said: “Paris is always a good idea.”

My fabulous friend (and the sassiest gal I know), Harriet, is spending the summer in Paris (#HazInPaz), and I obviously wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to go and visit her now, was I?

I'd thought I might do one blog post for the whole trip. PAH! What was I thinking?! Paris is far too beautiful for that.

One of my fave cities of them all with one of my fave gals of them all. Allons-y!

I arrived the evening after a rainy Parisian afternoon, and all the streets had a lovely freshness about them. The clouds were clearing and Harriet and I sat outside at a typically Parisian restaurant (I love how all the cafés and restaurants have tables and chairs on the wide pavements), caught up about ERRYTHANG, people-watched, ate croque monsieur and planned the next few days.

Because if you want to make the most of a holiday, you need a plan, am I right? Organised fun ftw.

The next morning was spent wandering through the gorgeous sixth and seventh arrondissements and admiring both the beauty of the architecture and the chic-ness of the Parisians sashaying through the streets.

We may have also popped in to Ladurée to do some admiring of the goodies on offer there. Just window shopping, but everything sure looked wonderful.

Instead of spending 10€ on an éclair, we grabbed ourselves some viennoiseries in one of Paris’ many fine boulangeries and ate them on my fave bridge, Pont Neuf – it has these lovely little alcoves you can sit in and admire the view.

Haz went for a classic pain au chocolat, whilst it was a pain aux raisins that most tempted me that morning (it just managed to see off competition from a rather scrummy-looking almond croissant). Super yum.

Next up we joined the throngs of tourists outside Notre-Dame, Paris’ très famous cathedral (but I’m sure you knew that already, espesh the Disney fans amongst you.)

We took a quick few snaps and admired the building before retreating out of the hustle and bustle of the crowds. You guys, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many selfie sticks.

Through the Île Saint-Louis (a delightful island in the Seine in the middle of Paris) we strolled and out over the river again on the other side.

We carried on to one of my fave areas of Paris, the Marais. It's both the Jewish and gay region, and was the setting for that infamous John Galliano incident.

However it's also home to a ton of super chic shops not to mention some incredible falafel restaurants, but we'll get to them all in good time, my dears.

Haz didn't really know the Marais at all before, so we had a lovely time ambling through whilst I pretended I knew where we were going.

Realistically though, we couldn't afford anything in any of the shops, and all I was really tracking down was a certain falafel place...  Priorities, right?

There's this little area of the Marais on Rue des Rosiers that is home to a cluster of falafel shops. I've tried a couple, but L'As du Fallafel always has the longest queue, so that's where we went. 

I've harped on about this falafel before so will keep it brief: this is great falafel, warm and freshly-fried, layered up in a pitta with different veggies, sauces and houmous right in front of your eyes.

The big challenge then is walking the five minutes to beautiful Place des Vosges without devouring the whole thing. It's difficult, I tell thee, but it's worth it if you can hold out as Place des Vosges is super lovely.

Find yourself a bench under the trees and take a little while to eat, people-watch and rest your feet. Walking round Paris is exhausting, but without a doubt the best way to see the city.

We carried on exploring and stumbled upon some graffiti which I loved...

"Smile, it's free"
...not to mention the most gorgeous bouquets of pink roses outside a florist.

After a little more strolling and shopping, we got to the Hôtel de Ville.

I feel like in any other city, the Hôtel de Ville (AKA town hall) would get more attention. But in a city such as Paris which is stuffed full of crazy impressive buildings, it doesn't majorly stand out. I like it a lot though, and if you manage to keep reading this post till the end you may just see it in a whole new light. Literally.

After a spot of postcard writing in the sun, it was time to amble home for some dinner. And wine. Because, France.

Having had dinner in, we figured going out for a crêpe was totally justified. So that happened. I didn't even take a picture of it (bad blogger) because I was too keen to stuff my face with warm nutella-y, crêpe-y goodness. #sorrynotsorry

A digestive stroll was very much in order, and it was too delightful for words to walk through the city as the last traces of sunlight left the sky and darkness fell.

Oh look, it's your old friend Notre-Dame again!

Hey, pal.
We also ended up at that beaut of a town hall once more, which I think looks even better at night than in the day.

Haz showed off her mad skillz:

Did I mention she's a cheerleader? 

And let's be honest, if you could do that pose, you so would've done that too, wouldn't you?

Bonne nuit, Paris! And à demain...
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