• Nicole

Feelin' Parisian! Bienvenue a Paris

Paris is often referred to as the city of love. I thought it fitting that my first time to this iconic European city was with my mother, who has loved and nurtured me unconditionally from before I was born, throughout my teenaged years (I was such a little jerk sometimes) until this very moment.


It is also known as the city of light due to the huge amount of gas lamps used in the 19thcentury to light the city.

GETTING THERE:

We flew EasyJet out of Bristol Airport. The drive from Bath to Bristol was gorgeous.

The narrow, winding road were flanked on each side by high, leafy hedges. Through small breaks in the hedges, all we were treated glimpses of lush, green farmland as far as the eye could see. We whizzed past many villages, my favourite being the ancient village of Chew Magna, dating back to before the Middle Ages. Everywhere you looked there were gorgeous stone homes and businesses nestled in between the absolute greenest foliage. Quite a bit of the stone used for the buildings was red-tinged which my cousin attributed to excess iron in the earth.

Arriving at the Bristol Airport in roughly 45 minutes was exciting. Mom and I grabbed a quick bite to eat along with a couple of mimosa’s and waited for our boarding gate to be announced.

Soon thereafter, we were up in the air loving the great views below of the Bristol channel and eventually the English Channel before flying over French countryside and landing at Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris. The entire flight took 55 minutes. Sweet.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION:

Paris is a major European city that is drenched in fascinating history dating back to the 3rd century.

THE DIGS

We opted for a hotel instead of a home share because we had allocated two days to see a few places of interest. The complimentary breakfast would ensure that we were out and on our way quickly with no hassle. We would also have the option of having our bags stored by the concierge on the morning we checked out, which would allow us a final ‘sans baggages’ wander around before getting back to the airport to catch our next flight.

The Jardins Eiffel is a beautiful property located in the 7th Arrondissement. We chose this particular arrondissement due to the proximity to the Eiffel tower, Champs-Elysees, the Arc de Trimomphe and great views of the River Seine. We knew that visiting the Louvre this time around wasn’t going to happen. Our very cute room was approximately the size of a postage stamp but clean and had everything we needed.

We arrived in Paris firmly understanding that here are very grand accommodations that can you can find. Space is at a premium in the city and if you want space, you can certainly have it – be prepared to pay quite a bit more for the accommodations.

Getting back on topic and to our arrival at the Jardins Eiffel! When I opened the curtains, I literally screamed because of the beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower. I wasn’t expecting this at all since when I booked the room and requested a tower view, I was told that this request was not going to be possible, so this was a massive and pleasant surprise!

*Nico’s Note: Buy a large 1.5 Litre bottle (or more) of water to stave off any night-time dry mouth and avoid paying 3.50 Euro for a mouthful-size bottle of water from the mini bar.

Parisian Architecture

The author's spectacular Eiffel Tower view

The streets of Paris

HOW DID WE GET AROUND?

We took an Uber from Charles de Gaulle airport into the city. Charles de Gaulle airport is not even remotely close to the city, but a nice drive nonetheless. Our Uber driver Khaled was brilliant, funny, fantastically fluent in three languages and pointed out areas of interest such as the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais as we sped towards the city. We did encounter some traffic, so nearly an hour later, we pulled up to our hotel. The Uber was 50 Euro ($80 CAD).

The 7th Arrondissement is lively, beautiful and central. The moment we arrived, we knew we had made the right choice. It is close to everything and the amount of walking we did made up for the amount of delicious, rich French cuisine that we happily consumed and the Bordeaux wine that we washed it down with. I love it when everyone wins.

WHAT DID WE DO?

First things first; we headed right over to the Eiffel Tower, of course! Side note: The Eiffel tower was named after French civil engineer Gustave Eiffel, who designed the tower as well as helped with designing the Statue of Liberty! He is very well honoured in the area as there is a Gustave Café nearby, Rue Gustave and Gustave gift shops, to name a few.

EIFFEL TOWER

I’ll say it – if all I did was visit the Eiffel Tower and indulge in French delicacies, I would have been completely happy. The Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most recognizable and iconic buildings. The moment I saw it and touched it, I was overcome with raw emotion. There was construction around the tower, a fair number of tourists (as expected) and mom and I saw the biggest rat (like, a real rat) run from under a bush across the pathway and under another bush. I won’t go into details on my reaction, but I will say that it didn’t put a damper on my mood.

Everything about the Tour Eiffel was gorgeous and perfect. We decided to not go up to the observation points in the tower until the next day as dusk was quickly turning into night.

The next morning after breakfast, mom and I made our way back over to the tower and it was just as spectacular as the evening before. So beautiful and stoic. We lined up and took the elevator to the first observation point. Looking at the city sprawled out below was incredible. From every angle. We spent hours observing, taking pictures, reading plaques, learning about monsieur Eiffel, going up to the next level with the wind blowing fiercely. It was breathtaking. Literally and in every sense of the word.

The Eiffel Tower at dusk

THE RIVER SEINE

We skipped the river boat tours in favour of walking along the banks and across bridges. The Seine is romantic and lovely. It is also a hub of excitement along the banks and tour boats of all different kinds all over. The river looked gorgeous from the Eiffel Tower, winding through the city. Next time ‘round, I might hop on a guided tour boat to see what that’s all about.

WALKING AROUND/ PARKS/ LITTLE CAFES WITH OUTDOOR TABLES AND PEOPLE WATCHING

This is what was the most exciting for me. Just walking around, looking at the beauuuuuutiful architecture, the trees, the park spread out in front of the muse d’armee and stopping in at little cafes for tea or wine or whatever caught our eye.

Walking down the Champs-Elysees in the 8th Arrondissement was an eye opener for sure! Paris is known as the fashion capital of the world and it was very apparent at that moment. So many major fashion houses are represented and we wandered past the designer boutiques while taking in the luxury clothing and accessories displayed in grand windows. I was feverishly taking pictures and making mental notes to later reimagine how to translate what I was seeing with my existing wardrobe.

And at the end of the Champs-Elysees, larger than life was the Arc de Triomphe. I have seen many pictures, but once again, to see it with one’s own eyes is a sight to behold! The traffic was intense, but mom and I stood on the sidewalk and took it all in.

The Arc de Triomphe is not just a giant and beautiful arc, is a special monument honouring the individuals who fought in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

After spending a full day walking the city, picking up trinkets, enjoying the sights and tastes of Paris, we doubled back and went to see my favourite store of them all: Chanel. The window displays did not disappoint! I took photos and drooled all over the place until the security guard started throwing me shade so we hit up another café to discuss all that we had seen and gush over how in love with Paris we were.

THE VERDICT:

We barely scratched the surface. Good thing that we loved Paris so much that we will be back very soon to see The Palais Versailles, the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Musee d’armee and Cathedral of Notre Dame! A bientot!

(Check my Instagram Stories @nicowalkerlyons, ‘Paris’ to see more gorgeous Paris pictures!)

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