Paris is the city that I always find myself coming back to. The city that provides the perfect escapism when real life gets tough, a magical wonderland to go and explore as much or as little as I wish. And then sometimes I just go for the croissants. Because, let’s be real, French food is just a dream.
Living in London means that we are lucky enough to feel like Paris is on our doorstep, with the Eurostar making it a mere two and a quarter hours away. Seriously. I can get to Paris more quickly than I can get to my dad’s house, it’s a bit ridiculous.
I’d been whittering on about wanting to book a ‘spontaneous’ trip to Paris (I like to plan my spontinaety) for several months when M bought me Eurostar tickets for my birthday this summer. Perfection.
November seemed like the perfect time to go, because hello cold wet and gloomy London. Why not spend a long weekend in a cold wet and gloomy Paris instead?
We stayed in Le Marais, a new to me area that I’d read a lot of wonderful things about. And it was just the perfect base for our wanderings. Both of us had visited Paris instead, so it was a treat to take our tourism at a slow pace. Instead of ticking off the lists of museums we opted to get lost in the city streets instead.
We wandered the banks of the Seine, trying to pretend it was all blue and bright.
I did a mini photo shoot with M around the back of the Notre Dame, quite possibly the best backdrop for this camera shy girl. And, I’d actually go as far as to say that the back of the Notre Dame is even prettier than the front. I think the lack of crowds there bring a more intimate experience.
From there we wandered across the square to Sainte-Chapelle, my favourite church in Paris. Seemingly uninteresting from the outside, you’ll find yourself in a lower chapel before climbing a spiral staircase to the main church. Even on the greyest of days the sun finds a way to sparkle through the rainbow hued windows, bringing a sense of cosyness to this stark stone place.
Next door you’ll find the Conciergerie, once upon a time Paris’ Palace and formerly Marie Antoinette’s prison. A prime spot for fellow history buffs. (I lie, I’m not a buff, I forget it all!)
Then, we headed south. Through the bookshop lined streets of the Latin Quarter, over the hill of the Pantheon, ending up at the Catacombs. I didn’t take any pictures whilst we were there (photographing people’s bones just doesn’t sit right with me) but I can’t not talk about this eerie underbelly of Paris. Originally a limestone quarry, millions of graves were excavated throughout the 18th and 19th centuries to reduce over crowding in graveyards. In the dead of night, they were brought down into the Catacombs, where they were painstakingly arranged into an odd form of museum walkway. Bizarre but a totally fascinating experience.
Oh, and of course, we couldn’t end our day without going to see Mr Eiffel’s creation herself. Nestled in the mist up above, the iconic Eiffel Tower didn’t disappoint.
After all that walking, a quick nap was in order before heading out to dinner. We dined at Ellsworth, as recommended by Simon Eats. And the food was indeed glorious, though sadly it did feel very touristy that particular night*. Still, the doughnuts more than made it for it. Holy moly.
*I know I am a tourist so can hardly talk, I just wish that I’d heard some French accents there!
A quick detour to the Louvre later and then these two sleepy travellers made their way to bed.
The next day it poured with rain. I mean seriously poured. I didn’t take my camera out for fear of it drowning but we merrily dodged puddles and hopped from doorway to shop to church to attempt to stay dry. A leisurely browse of Shakespeare & Co, plus a few shops later, and it was time for our Eurostar home. Two nights, two days and one magical Paris shining through the rain.