We boarded the Eurostar from the upgraded London St Pancras to Paris with somewhat of a heavy heart. This leg of the journey was to be shared with my Mum and her husband, John, but due to illness they couldn’t make the trip.
It’s only 2 hours by rail and we were quickly settled into our Paris apartment, which was a typical Parisian apartment furnished beautifully with an artistic flair and in a fantastic location. Only a short stroll to the metro, and a nice park for the boys just across the road to burn off some excess energy. Also in this pleasant family neighborhood were all the food options required. The French have it sorted the way they buy locally. One shop for cheese, next-door is wine, over the road is the butcher and baker (no sign of the candlestick maker). All very fresh and well priced. Put these together with a few hundred restaurants/cafes – fantastique!
We only had 2 full days and the only thing the boys wanted to see was the Eiffel Tower so we queued in blazing sunshine for an hour or 6 and made the ascent up. No matter how many times you’ve been up there the view never ceases to impress. Well worth the EUR50 (NZD85). It did take most of the afternoon due to the vast numbers there. Amazingly, over 250 million visitors have been to the top since it opened in 1889 and another interesting fact learnt that day was the Auckland Sky Tower is 4 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower. That pretty much took care of the first day although we did have time to enjoy a drink in a typical Parisian cafe, complete with little round tables and cane chairs all facing the same way out to the road. The tables are so close together and don’t allow much room to maneuver, as I found out after spilling a full pint of 1664 over myself and 2 young local girls. What was impressive was the speed at which the waiter had whipped away my now near empty glass and replaced with a nice new full one.
The famous Galeries Lafayette was on the list (Trina’s list, not mine) for the next day. Built in 1912 it really is a stunning building and offers the bonus of a free rooftop terrace view of Paris. Unfortunately for Trina we ended up spending most of our time in the toys section. We also managed to sneak in a trip to Montmarte and the Sacre Coeur. Artists are everywhere plying their trade trying to flog you a self-portrait for EUR50 a throw (no thanks!). Some of the sketches of those who did take up the offer were sort of lifelike but most were shall we say down to “creative licence” and some were just downright hilarious!
That was about it for Paris. Enjoyed by us all mostly because of the great apartment and location which really made us feel more like a local than a tourist. The Eiffel Tower was certainly the highlight for the boys. It was only a short stop before we headed south to the country for some much needed R&R.