The funny thing about the Eurostar to Paris is that it goes through a few tunnels before it gets to the Channel, so each time it went dark we thought we must be there, and then not long after we were out again. So after a long while we thought we must nearly be there, and then realised that all the signs were in French! God we are dicks, we didn't even realise we had got to France because the tunnel went so quick!
When we were ejected at the other end we weren't really sure where we were going. We had the hotel address but really had no idea how to get there and the information booth was shut as it was after hours! So we headed underground as we figured the metro was the way to go and luckily happened upon another info booth, so up to the window we went and the lady promptly put up a sign that she was off on a break for thirty minutes so we should go use a little electronic booth if we were after any info. So I went to look at one and pressed a few buttons and after a while it reverted to French, so I did it again and it screwed up again, so I was fed up with it so we decided to wait for thirty minutes as we really had no other option!
Twenty minutes later a very helpful girl came to the counter and we managed to figure out where we were going and how we were going to get there. We also got 2x single passes through two different metro lines and 2x three day passes. I applaud the girl for understanding us with all the 1's, 2's and 3's. We checked into the nicest hotel with a sweet courtyard and big windows that opened out onto the street from the 4th floor, it was really very nice!
Day one in Paris we decided to pack a fair bit in, well that was after a very leisurely breakfast of course. Coffee, orange juice, pain au chocolate, croissant and baguette is definitely the best way to start the day, not the healthiest but the best! Off we walked down the street taking in all things Paris! And then out from behind a building popped the Eiffel Tower! We used it as a beacon and headed that way, and then it finally appeared in all its glory, man what a neat building! (Can I actually call it a building? it's more like a colossal sculpture) Then we navigated the underground (while a guy wandered around the carriages playing the accordion) and popped back to the surface right beside the Arc de Triomphe which we ascended (many many steps later) and were treated to an awesome view of the city. A quick zip on another metro later and we were at the Tuilerie Gardens which we meandered around and sat in the dappled shade of one of the many trees and just watched the passersby for a while. We stayed there until it was time to once again head back to our hotel, however on the way we had a little hiccup. I was chief navigator and had the map and pretty much knew where we were going most of the time, so when I got on the last metro to go back to the hotel the doors slammed shut leaving Mum on the platform while was on the train! It then posed the question, do I come back to where she is, or does she try and find me, and would we both do the same and miss each other? Luckily somehow our cell phones worked underground and I waited at the stop till Mum caught up on the next train, phew crisis averted, then we got back and got changed and headed back out again and waited for our bus which took us to back to the Eiffel Tower for dinner.
After a lovely meal we headed to the river where we cruised up the Seine and saw all the sights at dusk where they were all just getting beautifully lit and then back to the Eiffel Tower by the time it was fully dark and the lights were stunning. Next we jumped back on the bus and we were taken to the Moulin Rouge for a show. The costumes were stunning but actual performance lacked any polish, and they didn't even stand in line and do the cancan! But all in all it was quite good, but I don't think it really lived up to its hype.
The next day we headed out to Versailles. This was pretty exciting as it was a place that I had studied while doing my degree to it was pretty damn neat to see it for real. I knew this place was huge but man when you see it, it really blows you away. You also get a real feel for the size when you take a wander around the lake and we just kept going and going and going! It was a beautiful day though and we just took our time, we got some ice-cream and then a baguette to eat later under the shade of the tree while watching the swans and boaters float around on the lake. It was just such a neat day where we weren't rushing anywhere and just casually taking in the gardens and fountains, such a treat. That night we made it to Notre Dame just in time for the lights to come on and had a wander around the island it was on, all very pretty.
The following day was meant to be our last in Paris but we realised that we just weren't going to fit everything in so we went and found a hotel for another night near to the train station and then headed off to the Louvre and saw all the classics! The Mona Lisa of course, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory and many others and also had a bit of a wander around some other parts, but there was just way too much to see in one sitting so it was then time to head up to Sacre Coeur to see it and a beautiful view over the city. Then back to the train station to get a ticket to Giverney to see Monet's garden, but we were just too late to get the last train and we would have had to rush around the garden so we decided to put it off till the next morning. Instead we headed to the Pantheon, unfortunately there too we were just too late to get in by 15 mins but we got a good view of the outside none the less and it was stunning and huge! The next morning we were up bright and early and zipped over to the train station to get tickets to Giverney, well it appeared luck was not on our side as the train personnel were having a strike that day so they were only running a very limited service. We were told that we wouldn't be able to get all the way there and there would be no bus at the other end to take us to the garden, so we asked if there were any other ways and we were told yes but none would be running today. So annoyed we left to consider our options and then decided to go back to ask a few more questions where we ended up talking to someone else, and they told us that there were trains running there and getting there shouldn't be any problem! Arghghg! So with tickets in hand we headed off to Giverney to see Monet's garden and it was beautiful! So many flowers and the lake was just like his paintings, it was all just stunning and with another beautiful day on the cards we just wandered and took it all in.
So in the afternoon we headed back to Paris where we got our bags and jumped on yet another train and Headed to Dijon. My Parisian love affair was over, but there was still just so much more to see!