When our 33 day European Explorer Contiki tour was done and dusted off in Amsterdam, April and I left The Netherlands to head back to my favourite place in the world, Paris. We were there for a magical four nights, staying in the most gorgeous hotel called Hôtel Arès Eiffel. When we were arrived, we were greeted by the sweetest receptionist who made us feel so welcome. I honestly do not know where this stereotype of rude French people comes from. Our hotel room was small, but luxurious with a damask bed head feature, velvet curtains and a marble stone bathroom. Little chocolates and slippers were placed on the bed and on the TV screen were our names to welcome us. Situated about a five minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, it wasn't the cheapest of accommodation, but we decided to go all out because a holiday in Paris deserves that kind of treatment.
Feeling pretty tired, we decided to go out for a low-key dinner and then come straight home to rest up for the next day's activities. After wondering around the gorgeous streets for a while, we finally decided on a restaurant and had the most epic seafood platter complete with oysters, prawns, crab and clams. The two people dining in next to us, a Canadian opera singer on tour and his French aunt, looked over at us in amazement. It was pretty funny and we had a really lovely conversation with them talking about our love for the city. Of course, no dinner is complete without dessert, so April and I shared three different flavoured scoops of gelato together.
The next day, the Catacombs of Paris was first up on our agenda, but when we got there, the queue was insane, so we decided to skip it for another day. We caught the metro to Notre Dame where the infamous cathedral was filled with the most beautiful stained glass windows. Ater that, it was time for lunch, so we stopped in at a nearby café before doing some sightseeing and heading to Musée d'Orsay. It was a really hot summer's day with bright blue skies and along the way, we passed by little stands selling Parisienne themed artwork and the Pont des Arts, which is the "love lock" bridge. We also passed by gypsies, beggars and homeless people. Amongst the beauty and the romance of the city, you sometimes get so caught up in it, you forget that Paris is a real city with real problems, though I think it just adds to the beauty of it. Little things will snap you back into reality and you'll be grateful and appreciative of what you have in life.
We didn't stay at the Musée d'Orsay too long as I just wanted to see some Monet paintings. I really can't wait for the day I'm back in Paris one day checking out more museums and art galleries. After stopping in at a grocery store, we then made our way back to the hotel as April and I needed to get ready for our picnic dinner at the Champ de Mars. I met my good online friend, Justyna for the first time, and her friend, Zusa. It's a surreal experience meeting online friends, but you find they're just like real life friends who you just haven't spoken to face to face yet. They were the loveliest Polish girls and I'd love to meet up with them somewhere in Europe again one day. Our picnic dinner consisted of French favourites, baguettes, cheese, wine and macarons, and I love that it's totally legal to drink alcohol in public in France! It was just the best evening ever to be eating delicious food with good friends while overlooking the Eiffel Tower. We once again watched it sparkle with hundreds of others picnicking on the Champ de Mars oohing and ahhing, as the magnificent French icon illuminated the area.
We wandered the streets of Paris at night, catching the metro to The Louvre to take silhouetted photos against the pyramids. We'd heard of a party happening down by the water, but unfortunately, we did not find it. We were planning to go clubbing, but it started getting late and we were exhausted. I was still quite sick from Contiki and being in the hot, exhausting heat all day does not help, so we called it a night and said goodbye to Justyna and Zusa. We had to be up early the next day, anyway, for our next adventure, which was Versailles!