Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Happy in... Paris. Part One.

Last October I spent a weekend in Paris. The trip was a pretty brilliant wedding anniversary gift from my husband and I'd been desperate to get on the plane since opening up this beautiful box he'd made up to present the surprise. Bless him!
Before this trip, I'd stood in front of the Eiffel Tower as we passed through Paris on a school trip and I had visted Paris with my parents as a small child, but I had never had the chance to explore it for myself. I was so excited! I was excited about the sights, the food, the wine, the hand holding, and also excited about taking photographs as we moved through Paris. I thought I'd share what we got up to and some of the photographs we took. There's a lot to say so I've split it into two parts.

We checked into our Mr. & Mrs. Smith hotel, Hotel des Academies des Arts, in Paris' Left Bank around midnight. This was after a rush home from work, mad dash to the airport to find a delayed flight, followed by a paniced run to catch the last metro out of CDG airport into central Paris plus a little bit of map reading in the dark. Once checked in, we were treated to a glass of champagne and gorgeous, light Pierre Hermé macrons in our small but charming bedroom. A very welcome treat! We had planned to have a late dinner in Paris but this plan was scuppered by the delayed flight, the pouring rain in Paris, and our very tired bodies. Instead, we stayed in with our champagne and planned for the next day.

Our hotel was a short walk away from Les Jardin du Luxembourg, or the Luxembourg Gardens. On a sunny day, this beautiful park would be a perfect place to while away the hours reading a book, people watching or picnicking with some lovely French treats. Sadly, we walked through with our umbrella up and the wind blowing the rain onto my recently pampered hair do. Any hopes of looking French-chic were dashed immediately. The rain didn't put a stop to a local TaiChi group, though! We had picked up obligatory patisserie goodies before entering the park and spent some time wandering through the park past ornate fountains, including the breathtaking Medici Fountain, colourful flowerbeds and orchards. 
Over the day, we stopped at Notre Dame, took a boat on the Seine, kissed on the Pont Des Arts, jumped the Metro across to Sacré Coeur, and ate a lot of macarons.
We approached Sacré Coeur from completely the wrong direction. Instead of a calm, scenic few minutes gliding upward on the funicular, we ended up climbing a gazzillion steps. On the plus side, our poor map reading skills meant we enjoyed lunch in a quiet, colourful restaurant on a little side street just off the tourist route, called L'Eté en Pente Douce.

Sacré Coeur is beautiful. We took our time walking through its impressive interior. We then climbed up the narrow spiral staircases to the top of the dome where you get fantastic views out over Paris. We finished our visit with a walk through the crypt. If you find yourself in Paris (lucky you) it's worth the ride (or walk) into Montmartre to visit Sacré Coeur.
There's too much to share in one post so in part two: le Champs Elysees, l'Arc de Triomphe, snails, Le Marais, bikes, le Louve and the Eiffel Tower. Oh the anticipation...

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