I have been to Paris once before, but it wasn’t the best experience so Mr M and I decided to revisit and re-write my Parisian memories.
Bearing in mind we have had a whirlwind romance so far and moved in together after knowing each other only a few weeks. I thought our first weekend away would pass by in a blur of laughter, memory making and sex. Unfortunately it started with an almighty row the night before and an uneasy start to the morning. That’s the thing about ‘romantic getaways’ there a lot of pressure to be romantic. But sometimes stuff comes up and its not all roses and silk sheets, but, who is going to take the food bin out before it gets all moist and soggy.
Anywho. Once we got to Kings Cross St Pancras (anyone else always say St Pancreas? Every. Single. Time.) and had sufficient intake of caffeine, we were back on form! A quick 2 hour Eurostar ride and a yummy brunch and we had arrived in the City of Love. Although Mr M was so unimpressed by all the street lurkers outside Gard Du Nord he almost did a 180 and got back on the train. That’s something you don’t see in the films, the drug dealers and prostitutes trying to make a living outside one of the busiest stations. That would take the Hollywood shine off of things.
We were staying in a lovely little boutique hotel just 10 mins walk from the station. After dumping our bags and having a quick snuggle we went out to explore. My favourite way to explore new cities is by foot, you get to see so much more and spend so much less.
We walked the 30 mins to Monmartre – one of the highest points of the city with extraordinary views and a beautiful church – Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. We went inside the church and Mr M asked if I wanted some time to pray, which made me smile, even though he doesn’t he respects that I do and that mean a lot.
Praying is something I do each night before going to bed and have done since my second year of sobriety when I embraced AA. I don’t pray to a Christian god, I pray to my higher power but I am open to all forms and ideas of god and higher powers. I embrace my spiritual and make sure I say thanks every day. It helps me to put any troubles I have into perspective and helps me remember what I am grateful for each night.
By the time we had walked round Montmatre it was dark so we decided to have a mosey down to visit Moulin Rouge – only a short walk from Montmtre but a completely different atmosphere. I was lucky enough to see a Moulin Rouge show last time I visited Paris, but we didn’t want to do that this time – I just wanted to have a look from the outside. What I do not remember from the last time I went (probably because I was too drunk to walk around) was the naughty shops leading up to the Moulin Rouge. Literally, rows and rows of sex shops with ladies of the night subtly hanging around outside. Obviously, we went in to have a little looksee, and discuss a few dildos but then scarpered pretty quickly when the assistants started brought out the hard stuff.
On the way to the worlds most iconic cabaret theatre we passed this little jazz club, which I honestly did not know was an actual place! I thought it was just a poster and coaster design in gift shops. How uncultured.
After a few hours exploring it was close to 10pm, which we all know is my limit and pretty prompt bedtime so we headed back to the hotel for some shut eye before a full Saturday of sightseeing!
After a full breakfast of clichéd croissants we strolled down the Siene and tried to cram in as many of the typical sights as we could, the Pompidou (really the ugliest structure I’ve seen – I don’t get it at all!), Pantheon, Arc De Triomphe and finally the Eiffel Tower. We stopped for lots of coffee and baked goods on the way.
A bit different to my last visit, where I remember very little but do have vague recollections of wine, lots of it.
We saw the tower when it was still light – then went for something to eat, by the time we came out it was dark and the towers lights shone in the sky. I thought it was far more beautiful at night all lit up. It rminds me too muc h of Crystal Palace during the day time.
Dinner by the tower was pricey and most places were packed but if you walk that little bit further you can stumble across a few true local places that don’t cost the earth and have a lovely atmosphere. The little café/restaurant that we went to was full of locals and when an older lady came in and said Bonjour (and a few other things that were way past my GCSE French standard – but I am sure they were nice), it made my night.
When 10pm struck, like Cinderella, I felt like I was going to turn into a pumpkin so we went back to the hotel. I don’t know if it’s since I have been sober or since if got that little bit older, but literally the clock can strike 10pm on the dot and I can barely keep my eyes open – it’s a phenomenon!
Our train back wasn’t till the evening on the Sunday, so after yet more croissants we decided to hit Champs Elysees and have a look at the shops. Sometimes I genuinely wonder who the f*ck I think I am writing stuff like that. Like I have the money to buy anything from the shops there, or the confidence to walk in lol. However I did buy a beaut of a scarf from a market stall and a gorgeous hand painted oil or the Eiffel tower from a street artist, so I was well chuffed!
Once it turned dark it was time to head back to the Gard Du Nord, for the Eurostar. The train journey home could definitely have been better. We were stuck next to 2 couples who had just met in a champagne bar who knew all the same people from Mayfair, Chelsea, LA, New York. You name it – they had been there, done it twice and probably invented it. The whole 2 hour 16 minute journey consisted of them drinking a sh*t load of wine and trying to get one up on each other. I couldn’t even look to Mr M for support, he had his headphones in and cranked right up. He was wise…I was not, having left my earphones at home thinking ‘I won’t need these’.
In summary, Paris is far prettier than I remember and I came back to London and work fresh with a new lease of life that lasted at least 20 hours.