Paris Travel Diary
It’s not every day that you decide to go to Europe on a whim (and especially when you live on the other side of the world!), so while I was headed to London to see the Spice Girls live, I wasn’t entirely sure about travelling anywhere else. Having enough money saved up was obviously the main concern, but if there was any one place I simply couldn’t go all that way without visiting, it was Paris. Being my favourite city since I was 15 years old, I knew I would regret it if I didn’t and even if it was just for a short stay and I had to dip into my savings more than I’d have liked, I was going to make it happen! I was originally only meant to be in Paris for three days, but when Emirates ended up cancelling my flight home and putting me on another one, it allowed me an extra day there, which I certainly wasn’t mad about! As if seeing the Spice Girls live in London wasn’t enough of an amazing experience, finishing off my trip in Paris was the icing on the cake and I had the most wonderful four days being back in my favourite place in the world!
Day 1 - Monday 17th June
With only four hours sleep, I was up at the bright and early time of 5:30am to catch the 8:30am Eurostar from London to Paris. My original plan was to catch the Tube to St. Pancras International, but getting my suitcase packed took longer than expected (there was a lot of Tetris going on trying to fit everything in!) and with the added time it would take to lug around, I decided to play it safe and order myself an Uber there instead. For all its miserable weather, I was sad to leave London and there was still so much to see and do, but I was more than satisfied with all that I managed to fit in during my six days and I’ll most certainly be back!
It was my first time catching the Eurostar, which was pretty exciting and it still blows my mind how quick and easy it is to travel all throughout Europe! In Australia, it takes four hours one way by plane just to get to the other side of the country! I didn’t have the most pleasant experience with it being delayed and dealing with annoying as fuck passengers (one literally blocked the train passageway with her suitcase!), plus there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of room for suitcases either. Since I couldn’t get a refund on my sister’s ticket, I used her seat for my suitcase instead so that was handy seeing as though I didn’t have to lift it up high! Once I was seated, it was smooth sailing from there and I enjoyed the chilled time just looking out the window with my music. I did plan on editing my London photos, but I just couldn’t keep my eyes open!
It was close to 1pm when I arrived into Gare du Nord Station and the warmth of Paris hit me immediately! I couldn’t wait to get rid of my London layers! The first thing I did was get a travel pass for the Paris Metro as I figured it was easiest to get it there than worry about it later. There wasn’t a whole lot of English signs at the station, so I just lined up in some random queue with people who looked like tourists and hoped for the best and luckily, it did turn out to be one for public transport!
In case you’re wondering or you’re travelling to Paris yourself, I got the new Navigo Easy card, which is essentially the London equivalent of the Oyster card. It was only introduced a few days before I arrived and it was a hell of a lot less hassle than having to constantly buy paper tickets like the last time I was in Paris! Even better, the Navigo Easy card can be used for basically all other Paris public transport networks (I also used it on the bus and the Montmartre Cable Car), so it’s a really convenient way of getting around the city.
From the station, I lined up to catch a taxi to Léa’s apartment. I did plan on staying in a hotel, but when my sister could no longer make it on the trip, I took up her kind offer to let me stay with her. It’s so cool having friends in different parts of the world and I feel very lucky for the beautiful, generous, like-minded and all-round amazing people my blog has allowed me to meet.
I was grossly overcharged for my ride to Léa’s and not only that but I needed to pay in cash, which I didn’t have enough of (should have taken an Uber, I know!). The taxi driver pointed me in the direction of an ATM, but it wasn’t working so when a French boy saw me struggling, he directed me to another. I had a gut feeling I was making a mistake following him, but I was feeling panicky and so I went. Needless to say, he was watching over me the entire time and just as I was about to type in the amount of money I needed, he went ahead and typed 900! I tried cancelling it, but all of a sudden, all this cash starts pouring out and I’m quickly grabbing it so he can’t take it. He left momentarily and came back with a man and I thought for sure all I was going to lose all my money, but it was perfect timing when the taxi driver saw what was going on and then Léa showed up too. The taxi driver whacked the boy over his head and I don’t know what happened to the other man, but I was feeling grateful that was the worst that happened! I was actually going to give the boy some money for helping me out, so too bad for him he turned out to be a little shit lol. Léa asked me if I was okay and I didn’t know how to respond other than to laugh because I was so shocked by it all!
I was still feeling quite flustered when I finally got inside Léa’s, but I wasn’t going to let a bad start ruin anything and I was eager to head out (with all the annoying cash I would now have to use!). The weather was simply perfect too! I didn’t need my jumper, jacket nor my stockings, so I was very happy! After using her lunch break to come meet me (how sweet!), Léa had to return to work, so I caught the train with her to Madeleine Station and we both grabbed lunch at Pret. I made her buy one of those Ginger Shots I fell in love with in London, then she took hers to work, while I stayed back. I got a Ginger Shot for myself and I had it with a beautiful, fresh prawn salad.
I didn’t have a regimented plan for my first day in Paris, so when Léa told me Rue Saint-Honoré was close by to where she works, I decided I’d walk along there and see wherever the day took me. Located in the 1st arrondissement, it’s a shopping strip home to many famous luxury brands and boutiques and although they were all way out of my price range, the street itself is absolutely beautiful and definitely worthy of checking out. I popped into Diptyque where I bought a couple of things and also had this funny exchange with a sales assistant:
Sales assistant: Bonjour, madame!
Sales assistant: How may I help you today?
I always find it funny when you attempt to speak French and the locals immediately respond in English! I know the French are known for being a little snooty towards tourists, but in the two times I’ve been there now, they’re some of the loveliest people I’ve ever met and I’ve never had an issue with the language barrier. I think as long as you make an effort, they make an effort back and to me, that’s definitely fair enough.
After walking along Rue Saint-Honoré for about an hour or so, the sore feet started kicking in again (they were ultra sensitive after London!), so I decided to take a seat at Sébastien Gaudard patisserie and enjoy a baba au rhum and lemonade. I wasn’t hungry; I just really needed a sit down, plus who can resist French desserts?! My waiter was absolutely lovely too and it made me feel so happy to be back in Paris!
From Sébastien Gaudard, I wandered up the street, stumbling upon the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries and it made my heart fill with love! All of sudden, I remembered why I used to obsess over Paris all those years ago and why I still consider it my favourite city. It was a real “I can’t believe I’m here!” moment and I was feeling pretty proud of myself for being in Paris all on my own too. My best friend and I spent a lot of time at these gardens during my first trip (you can read about my first time in Paris here), so I also associate it with some really fond memories and it kind of felt like coming back to a piece of my heart that I had left behind. I realise how cheesy that sounds, but that’s the best way I can describe what I was feeling! Although the sun was out that day, the clouds were too, so it cast some really odd shadowing below and unfortunately, I didn’t get many good photos of the gardens on this day. Providing I had the time, I decided I would come back.
Adjacent to Jardin des Tuileries is Musée du Louvre where I took some snaps of the iconic pyramids. Being a bit of an art nerd during high school (it’s the reason why I fell in love with Paris!), I visited the Louvre twice during my first visit and although I think I would to go back a third time one day, I didn’t feel the need to during this trip. I was happy to just admire its stunning exterior. I didn’t have the best angle from where I was standing, however, and I’ve ended up not liking the way a lot of my photos turned out! Damn tourists just ruin the effect sometimes too! I was also too tired and lazy to walk around and get different shots and now, looking back, I really regret it! That’s the reality of travelling, I suppose. Sometimes that Instagram-worthy shot is just too much effort!
After a good few hours, I walked back up along Rue Saint-Honoré and Léa had just finished work, so we met up and caught the train back to hers together. Nearby her apartment building, there’s a restaurant called Cosy so we got dinner there, enjoying some pâté together and for my own meal, a really good steak tartare. It was a relatively early night, but it was just what I needed!
Day 2 - Tuesday 18th June
Despite getting up at a decent hour in the morning, I had quite a late start to the day. With my days being so full on, I think I just needed to chill for a bit, so I ate breakfast (Léa was so sweet to make me eggs and toast!) and took my time getting ready. I also uploaded all of my Spice Girls videos to Instagram Stories as my hotel in London had really slow Wi-Fi and I couldn’t do it there. I was impressed with the French Wi-Fi (I love how the French also pronounce it as “wee-fee”! So cute!) at Léa’s though! There’s nothing like travelling overseas to make you realise how shit Australia’s Internet is. Since returning from my trip, I’ve got NBN in my house now and it’s still nothing to write home about! I will, however, say that the bad thing about France’s Wi-Fi is that unlike London, you can’t connect to it for free in a whole lot of places. Unless it was a major tourist destination, I ended up relying on my data roaming package the majority of the time.
When I finally left the apartment, I made my way to Fragrance, a florist and small café combined into one. Only the French could come up with a concept as cute as this! I was a little bit nervous to catch the Paris Metro all on my own for the first time; there can be some really dodgy people around (I suppose that’s all cities though!) and the language barrier also didn’t put my mind at ease in case I got lost, but I got the hang of it like a pro and I ended up loving the Metro! Perth’s public transport is so rubbish in comparison! There was only one instance where I couldn’t find the right exit, but that was no big deal and apart from that, it was just as easy as navigating London’s Underground. A lot of people recommend downloading the CityMapper app for both cities, but since I’m used to Google Maps, that’s what I stuck with and I was totally fine.
If you’re looking for a substantial meal, you won’t find it at Fragrance, but they do a wide range of teas and coffees, plus a small selection of baked treats. I didn’t know this and I was hoping for lunch, but the cookie I ate was huge and surprisingly satisfying! I can’t remember the tea I drank, but it was beautiful and the French woman who served me told me she’d lived in Melbourne for a while, which was pretty cool!
As for the flowers, they were all so dreamy! It’s pretty obvious how much I love my flowers and I loved the kind of rustic and effortless aesthetic the store had going on. I have to say thank you to Léa for recommending me this place because it was definitely one of my Paris highlights.
Nearby was The Frankie Shop, a small clothing and accessories boutique I wanted to check out for J.Hannah nail polishes, but unfortunately, they didn’t have them in anymore, which was quite disappointing. They had some pretty trendy clothes and jewellery pieces, but they weren’t really my thing, so from there, I made my way back to the train station to hit up the shops on the Champs-Élysées!
When I arrived, the first shop I went into was Zara. I’ve never really understood the hype surrounding this store, so I thought it might be different in Europe, but it wasn’t and I ended up walking right back out again! As I was walking up, I saw Galeries Lafayette and this was a department store I had on my list to check out as I’d heard such great things and didn’t visit during my last trip. Needless to say, it was simply beautiful inside and I loved checking out all the French beauty brands I’d ever never heard of. I went up another level to check out some clothing and handbags (since I didn’t do this in neither Liberty or Selfridges in London) and the handbags in particular were all very dreamy. They reminded me of Mansur Gavriel and then I got sad that I’m not rich, so I left lol.
The next shop I stopped into was the motherland, Sephora! The last time I was in Paris, my best friend and I must’ve spent over two hours in the Champs-Élysées store, but this time around, I think I barely survived half an hour. Not only were there people everywhere, but I’d never experienced such pushy sales assistants in my life! They just don’t take no for an answer! Either I don’t remember it being this bad or I’m just old and have far less patience for people! Nevertheless, I had fun time looking at all the brands I don’t have access to at home and I bought a couple of things too.
Not too much further up was the Arc de Triomphe and when I saw idiot tourists standing in the middle of the road (it was on an island, so it was safe) taking photos, I decided to be an idiot tourist myself and copy them lol. It wasn’t the stupidest thing I saw people do to get the perfect shot (that came on day 4!), but it’s crazy just how far some people will go. As much as you want to appreciate these iconic landmarks whenever you go travelling, it’s kind of difficult when there’s always crowds people around and you kind of just want to get the hell out of there! That was my experience with the Arc de Triomphe, so once I got my photos, I started making my way back down the Champs-Élysées.
All the way down was the Biologique Recherche flagship Ambassade de la Beauté headquarters (fancy name, I know!) where I went to repurchase Lotion P50. I had actually run out a few months ago, but I knew it would be more fun buying it in Paris than online, so I decided to wait and it was so worth it for getting to visit their luxurious spa! If I were in Paris for longer, I totally would’ve got a facial there! If you’re not familiar with Biologique Recherche, it’s basically a highly exclusive French skincare brand and their cult classic exfoliating toner, Lotion P50, is what they’re most well known for. Tucked away on the Champs-Élysées, the headquarters are almost as elusive as the brand itself and when I made it to the exact location, I was a little confused for a few moments before I found it. When I entered, the ladies who greeted me were all so sweet and the interior, so dreamy, I asked if I could a take a photo!
With more beauty products in tow, I continued walking further down and started making my way to A.P.C., a French clothing and accessories brand who have a few boutiques throughout the city. My feet were feeling pretty sore by this point (they were pretty much in constant pain for the remainder of my trip!) and it was quite warm that day too, so I made a pitstop to Jardin des Champs-Élysées for a lemon and sugar crêpe and took a seat on one of the park benches. I still hadn’t had a proper lunch, but I figured I was on holiday, so why not eat all the sweet stuff?!
After a short rest, I eventually made it to A.P.C. where I was going to buy their Half-Moon Bag. Not as expensive as your luxury designer brands, but not as inexpensive as mid-range brands, A.P.C. kind of sit somewhere in the middle and this was going to be the “big” purchase of my trip. I had my heart set on the embossed leather as opposed to the smooth, however, and they didn’t have the former in stock. I did take a look at the smooth leather, which was absolutely beautiful and I loved the way it looked on me, but my gut feeling told me not to buy it and that it wasn’t meant to be. I’m glad I listened to myself because I ended finding an ever better “big” purchase the following day and while I do still want to eventually buy the bag, I now find myself torn between the two leathers! Until I make my mind up, it’s definitely a purchase that can wait.
Keeping in mind just how much I’d been walking that day (I wish I had counted my steps on this trip!), from A.P.C., I needed another sit down! I spotted Ladurée as I was walking along and this ended up being one expensive break! I was kind of in the mood for something savoury, but the cheapest thing was a €17 sandwich and although I’m usually more than happy to treat myself, that was pushing it! I mean, 17 is a ridiculous amount in dollars, let alone euros! I opted for the cheapest dessert instead, which was a strawberry sorbet and I got a virgin mojito along with it. It was just what I needed after a day out in the Parisian heat!
From Ladurée, I made my way back to Léa’s and we met up to go meet her photography friends at a bar called 1999 where two UK up and coming indie rock bands were playing. They were all such lovely people and it was quite surreal to go from a packed out stadium show right to an intimate gig at a small venue! First up was Polar States from Liverpool, who although were really good, I much preferred the second band, Wild Front, from Southampton. They had a more synthy sound to them! I ended up loving them so much, I’ve got their entire discography on my iTunes now and whenever I listen to them, I’m reminded of my wonderful time in Paris!
After the gig, Léa and I got dinner nearby with her friend Denis at Les Fabricants where we all enjoyed cold meats, bread and butter (I could live off the French bread and butter!), baked camembert and a dish from the south west of France called Patates Jambon de Pays et Cantal, which consists of sliced potato and melted cheese with ham on top. It was all so delicious and I had a great time stuffing myself and chatting away! It was quite surprising to me how packed the restaurant was so late at night on a weekday and I relished in the lively atmosphere of it all. Whenever I go to gigs here at home, you have to go to dinner beforehand because nothing’s open late.
Once we could eat no more, we called it a night and Léa and I caught an Uber back to hers. Overall, I had an amazing day!
Day 3 - Wednesday 19th June
Being the super sweet person that she is, Léa took the day off work to spend it with me and I was excited to have her show me around her beautiful city she’s so lucky to call home! I mean, you can’t get much better than having a local take you out, but being friends through blogging means that she knows me really well and knew exactly all the places that I’d love! She created a whole itinerary for our day out together and our first stop was Peonies for a late breakfast where we both got the delicious grilled cheese (it was late because I spent a bit too much time getting ready lol oops).
Similarly to Fragrance, Peonies is also a café and flower shop combined into one and although they didn’t have many bouquets or bunches out that day, the café itself is still really beautiful and I was a huge fan of the pink and green colour palette. In fact, I loved it so much, I bought one of their cute mugs! You’ll find a lot more food and drink options on their menu compared to Fragrance (they don’t, however, have an English menu, so you may need Google or someone to help you translate. Luckily for me, I had Léa!), so if you’re looking for a proper meal, I’d recommend Peonies more. Fragrance is a must if you call yourself a flower lover though!
After a brief stop in yet another flower shop, Léa and I made our way to the Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre. I actually visited the Sacré-Cœur during my last trip to Paris, but the architecture was just so incredible to me (I even found it more impressive than the Notre Dame), I simply had to come back and see it again! Rather than take the crazy amount of steps all the way to the top, we took the Funiculaire de Montmartre (cable car) instead and that definitely saved us a lot of time and energy! I didn’t even know it was a thing, so again, lucky I had Léa with me on this day! On my first visit, my best friend and I took the steps in 30 degree heat, so although I knew what to expect, I was glad I didn’t have to go through that again!
When it comes to visiting iconic landmarks, especially churches and cathedrals, I always find myself drawn to the exterior more than their interior. Perhaps it’s because I’m not religious, but sometimes the interiors even creep me out a little! We definitely spent a lot more time outside than in and although I was happy to have been able to visit a second time, I probably wouldn’t go back for a third visit. As incredible as it is to visit these incredible structures, this trip definitely taught me that it’s always the non-touristy things that end up being more memorable and worthwhile! Also, as I’m sure you would’ve figured, Léa is the one who got these photos of me! I’m not someone who hates being in front of the camera, but I can definitely feel awkward when I am and I’m much more comfortable behind it. I wasn’t aware she was taking these photos though and I much prefer the more natural feel of candid shots too.
When we were done at the Sacré-Cœur, we headed to Oh My Cream, a high end brand beauty store. To me, it had a similar vibe to Space NK, only much smaller in both size and the brands they carry. Stocking a refined selection of mostly “clean beauty” (I hate that term, but that’s not relevant to this post lol), I was definitely tempted to buy a few things, but I somehow managed to control myself! From Oh My Cream, we happened to stumble upon another beauty store, this time Monop'Beauty, which is a part of one of the major supermarkets in France, Monoprix. Kind of in between a chemist and a small grocery store, I wasn’t as into the brands they stocked here, but I think that was mostly because I’d never heard of them! I assume they stocked smaller drugstore-type brands that wouldn’t be very well known outside of France/Europe. Out of the two, Oh My Cream was definitely more my thing.
On my list of places to check out, I had Café des Deux Moulins, which is the café the character Amélie from the movie of the same name worked at. During the peak of my Paris obsession (around 2008, I’d say), Amélie was one of my favourite French films and since the café featured in the film was also located in Montmartre, it made sense to visit while we were there seeing the Sacré-Cœur. I didn’t have much of an interest eating there, but it was nevertheless really cool to see in person and I loved its stereotypical French vibe. I love how common marble tables are in Parisian cafés!
After a few quick snaps, we then headed to Le Bon Marché, a fancy French department store. Funny story: I got the pronunciation of “Le Bon Marché” so wrong, Léa had absolutely no idea what I was talking about! I was like, “You know, the department store!” and it was only then that she understood me. When she said “Le Bon Marché” herself, I couldn’t stop laughing at how badly I had butchered it! Sometimes I’ll catch myself randomly thinking about it and it still makes me laugh! Anyway, the department store itself, hard to pronounce name and all, was absolutely stunning. We wandered around the ground floor looking at all the beauty counters (always what I’m most interested in!) and afterwards, went to go look at more beauty - this time at City Pharma!
City Pharma was something I was really looking forward to on this trip. The last time I visited Paris, I only went into the quaint little pharmacies that you see everywhere in the city, but when I heard City Pharma, in particular, was bigger and cheaper, I knew the beauty lover in me had to check it out! It was a very overwhelming experience, to say the least, and from both the sheer volume of products to the hoards of people, it was quite a lot to take in! As much as I I loved it and wanted to spend time browsing around, the tiny aisles filled with crowds of customers made it almost impossible and had it been quieter, I definitely would’ve stayed longer and probably even bought more too! Not that I needed anything or even had the room in my suitcase, but damn, it would’ve been amazing to take advantage of those good prices!
From City Pharma, we made a brief stop to Monoprix where I went to buy some Milka chocolate for my family and work colleagues. I did go to Franprix the day before to buy some, but the variety wasn’t as good there, so if you ever find yourself travelling to France and you’re wanting to buy some Milka chocolate too, there’s a handy tip for you! After that, we then made our way to Angelina where Léa introduced me to the best hot chocolate in all of Paris, le chocolat chaud à l’ancienne l’Africain!
As were were walking along, we came across Café de Flore, one of the city’s most famous coffeehouses where pretty high profile people are known to frequent. It was indeed very beautiful and Léa asked me if I would prefer to eat there instead, but when all I could hear were American accents coming from the café, it put me right off and I chose to stick with Angelina! Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to visit Café de Flore one day and I probably will the next time I travel to Paris, but it wasn’t a priority of mine to visit somewhere so touristy.
Not long after, we took a seat at Angelina situated right next to Musée du Luxembourg and it was a dreamily light and airy space with marble everywhere - definitely my kind of thing! Since I’m not a coffee drinker, a hot chocolate or a chai latte is usually what I’ll go for whenever I’m at a café and Paris being Paris, this was the most indulgent and most decadent hot chocolate I had ever experienced! It’s so thick and dark, you could mistake it for chocolate sauce and so rich, it’s served with whipped cream on the side to cut through the sweetness. I think I got just over two thirds of the way through mine before it got a bit too much but for all that I was able to consume, I did thoroughly enjoy it! I love my whipped cream, so that made it all the more enjoyable for me too and I can imagine this hot chocolate being especially cosy and comforting in the cold weather (being a summer person, I would never travel in winter though!).
For something to eat, we shared a mille-feuille, which was simply heavenly; a pastry and cream combination is always a good time for me. Although it may not look like it, it was actually all quite filling for us both and we didn’t end up bothering with a proper lunch after Angelina! The hot chocolate was that intense!
The first time I visited Paris, I only made it to Ladurée, but I absolutely adored Angelina and I can’t wait to go back again one day to try more of their desserts and pastries. While the hot chocolate is their signature drink, their signature pastry is the Mont Blanc and it looks amazing!
After stuffing ourselves with all the sugary goodness, we went walking around, exploring Jardin du Luxembourg. I just love Parisian gardens! They’re so beautifully kept and so pretty. No matter where you go, the whole city is photogenic! It was so nice to chat away and soak up the sun, though Léa and I agreed that Jardin des Tuileries is our favourite garden in Paris. Luxembourg is lovely, but there’s something about Tuileries that just makes me so happy.
When we were done wandering Luxembourg, we made our way Sézane, a store I had been super eager to visit! A bit of a blogger favourite, I was naturally curious to see what it was all about and like & Other Stories in London, it’s definitely worth the hype! Léa did, however, tell me that it’s not the same as it used to be because the popularity of the store has resulted in the reduction in quality, yet no difference to their ridiculously high price points, so that’s something worth keeping in mind. Regardless if you buy anything though, it’s still a very beautiful store worth checking out just for the aesthetics, I think!
I never intended on buying anything myself, but when I randomly saw a leather jacket (the Zig Jacket) strewn across one of the couches that someone was trying on, it was love at first sight! Léa went to go find a jacket of my own to try on and when I did, I knew it was the one! I spent so long trying to find my perfect leather jacket in London, I never imagined I’d randomly find it in Paris and I’m so relieved I never ended up buying the A.P.C. Half-Moon Bag because I certainly wasn’t going to allow myself two expensive purchases! Léa has a leather jacket from Sézane herself and it still looks as good as new, so I know it’s going to be one of those investment pieces that’s going to last me for years to come, as well as not go out of style. It’s my star buy of my entire trip and I’m absolutely over the moon with it!
Our final stop before heading back to Léa’s apartment was picking up dinner. We decided we would spend the night in with a baguette, cheese, cold meats, strawberries and wine, which was just as good as going out, if you ask me! I don’t think my feet could’ve taken more walking either! Léa’s local bakery was still serving fresh, warm baguettes at 7pm and the selection at her local cheese shop was simply glorious! If past lives are a thing, then I was definitely French in mine. Just as we were making our way back home, the rain began bucketing down, so we got really lucky with the weather in that we didn’t get caught in it while we out. As soon as we got in, I had to try my jacket on again because I was just so happy and excited with it and we had a lovely, chilled out evening in.
Day 4 - Thursday 20th June
It was my last full day in Europe and boy, was it a jam-packed one! Léa had helped me plan my day the night before and not only did I have my own things to do that I wanted to tick off my list but she had given me a whole bunch of recommendations herself! I knew my feet were going to be dead by the end of the day, but when you’re in your favourite city and you live as far away as I do and don’t know when you’ll be back again, some things are simply worth suffering for! I just kept telling myself that I had a 20-hour flight to look forward to to be able to rest my feet!
After getting ready and eating breakfast at Léa’s, the first thing on the agenda was Musée de l'Orangerie. Having been to the Louvre twice and Musée d'Orsay once during my last trip to Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie was another museum I’d been wanting to visit. While my appreciation for the Louvre came about from my love of Neoclassicism and Romanticism, Musée de l'Orangerie was all about Claude Monet’s Impressionist paintings and I even consider him to be one of my favourite artists. Art was always my favourite subject in high school and I actually studied it every semester during my five years there, so I definitely have a huge appreciation for it (it makes me so sad that people only visit the Louvre for the Mona Lisa!).
To see all of Monet’s paintings that I studied in school in real life was absolutely incredible and even more mesmerising for just how grand and expansive they were. Panoramic and taking up entire walls of space, I loved getting up close to see the texture and brush strokes because no matter what you learn or how much you study art, there’s quite nothing quite like seeing the real thing.
If you hate crowds, the Louvre probably isn’t the place for you, but there was plenty of space to move around and properly look at the paintings at Musée de l'Orangerie. I was pretty chuffed to get quite a lot of people-less shots; they just look so much better!
Jardin des Tuileries is right next to Musée de l'Orangerie, so when I was done there, I went for another wander around my favourite Parisian garden. Sadly, I don’t think my second round of photos turned out all that much better and although my photography skills have vastly improved since then, I think my photos from my 2012 trip are so much nicer! While it was relatively sunny and warm, the rain clouds were still out from the day before and again, they made a lot of my photos turn out rather dull. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the gloomy and moody vibe can look great, but the bright blues skies and light and airy aesthetic is definitely more me. It more accurately reflects my love for summer too!
Despite the disappearing and reappearing clouds that day, it didn’t at all take away from my enjoyment of being in the beautiful gardens and I was just happy I was able to make it back one last time. While my visit on my first day was one of overwhelming happiness, I have to admit that I felt a little bit sad this time around. It really hit home that this was the last day of my trip and it sucks when you live so far away from a place you love so dearly and can’t come back again all that easily. How can anyone say goodbye to a city like Paris?!
I really didn’t want to leave Jardin des Tuileries, but with still so much left to see and do, I stopped to take one last look for a moment all before I made my way to the train station and got on with the rest of my day. My next destination was Pont Alexandre III where I saw the incredible Petit Palais and Grand Palais along the way (they’re on the same street right opposite each other), the Eiffel Tower from a distance, as well as a blogger and her photographer stopping to take photos! I’m not going to lie, I had a bit of a lol at her ridiculous poses!
After getting my snaps at Pont Alexandre III, I then headed to the Champ de Mars to see the Eiffel Tower. Not my first time in the city, I of course, had already seen the iconic landmark before, but I felt like I couldn’t go without seeing it again! I mean, what is Paris without the Eiffel Tower?! It was only when I saw the structure standing tall right in front of me did I feel my trip to Paris was complete. It made me appreciate that I had saved it for my last day.
I took a seat on the grass to rest my feet for a bit and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi in the area and then I decided to walk up to Trocadéro to get another view of the Eiffel Tower. I got about halfway there until I decided to give up though; my feet were in agony and I was starving for lunch, so I definitely wasn’t in the best state for sightseeing! Naturally, there were a lot of tourists in the area and as I made my way back down to the Champ de Mars, I saw people actually risking their lives by standing in oncoming traffic taking photos! I couldn’t believe it, but when I told Léa, I barely got a reaction out of her because she’s so used to it! As someone from a small city with very little international tourists, it was quite jarring to witness!
For lunch, I decided to go to Marlon after seeing it on Instagram. Enjoying a burger and a pink lemonade, both the food and interiors of the restaurant were simply beautiful (I was so hungry, I couldn’t be bothered taking a photo!), though I didn’t think it was anything special or unique. It was good, but I’ve certainly eaten much better food in Paris!
When I was done with lunch and had rested my feet for a good while, I headed to the Metro where my next stop was the flagship Diptyque store at 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain. Along the way, I passed by a patisserie (I spotted it on the way to lunch) and popped in to get myself a few doughnut holes for dessert. They were absolutely heavenly! I think if there’s anything I regret or felt like I missed out on during this trip, it’s definitely not eating more dessert! It was a little bit difficult because by the time I’d eaten lunch, I was too full for anything heavy and because a lot of the desserts are so delicate and made fresh, carrying them around all day wasn’t a good option either. The next time I’m in Paris, eating all the beautiful French baked goods will definitely be more of a priority!
Anyway, back onto Diptyque, I realise I had already visited the store in Saint-Honoré, but with the Saint-Germain store being the very first boutique and branded all across Diptyque’s iconic packaging, the beauty lover in me simply had to check it out! I’m so glad I did because it totally wasn’t what I was expecting at all; it was very quaint, the interiors looked something like a living room straight from the ‘60s (I suppose it makes sense though as it first opened in 1961!) and I was even a little bit confused by the exterior red signage. I was expecting something grander and more minimal, I guess! I did, however, read that the Saint-Germain boutique and its decor are unlike any other store in the world and I think it’s actually fitting that the first store would be all about retaining the brand’s heritage. Don’t get me wrong, it was all absolutely beautiful, I was merely surprised by how different it was!
As for the shopping experience, it was, of course, amazing. The sales assistant who greeted me was so lovely and they had these soft block things that you “bang” the candles onto so that the wax comes out and then you get the candle’s true scent by smelling the empty jar! I’m not sure how common this way of smelling candles is in shops, but I had certainly never seen this method before! I had no intention of buying anything for myself (I totally would’ve bought a candle or two if I’d had the room in my suitcase!), though I did get my sister a travel size fragrance and the lady who greeted me also served me at the counter. She asked me where I was from and what brought me to Diptyque and she told me that I was the second person from Perth to come in that day! What are the chances?! She also told me how she had recently travelled all around Australia visiting Mecca stores to teach the Mecca hosts all about the brand and I thought that was pretty cool. I know the French are stereotyped as being snobs or whatever, but I absolutely love French people! They’re honestly some the sweetest people I’ve come across in my travels!
After my wonderful time at Diptyque, it was a 15 minute walk to MANA Soins where I wanted to take a look at Sundays nail polishes. The only stockist in Paris, unfortunately, when I got to the address, it didn’t look like it was open even though I had checked the opening hours on Google beforehand. There was so signage either, just one massive wooden door, so needless to say, I was a little confused and bummed out I had walked all the way (my poor, insanely sore feet!) there for nothing! There were no other train stations nearby either, so I had to walk all the way back too!
My next destination was Marché aux fleurs at Île de la Cité, a flower market not too far away from the Notre Dame. I enjoyed having a wander around all the flowers and plants they stocked, but the selection was pretty ordinary and I thought Fragrance was by more unique and photogenic! From there, Place Dauphine was nearby and Léa had recommended I pay a visit to the public square. Unfortunately, when I got there, they were setting up for an event so it was all blocked off and I felt like my last day had all of sudden taken a turn for the worst! There’s always next time, I suppose!
By this point, my feet were in pure agony, I felt like I could’ve died from sore feet! I looked around desperately for somewhere nearby to sit down and luckily, there was seating around Pont Neuf. It overlooked the beautiful river Seine, but it was pretty cloudy and I wasn’t happy with how my photos turned out.
After a brief sit-down, I made my way to the Palais Royal-Musée de Louvre Metro to meet Léa after she had finished work. From there, we walked around Jardin du Palais Royal and I loved the fun, liquorice stripe-looking pillars! Is there a piece of architecture in the city that isn’t absolutely beautiful?! There were a lot of people hanging out in the area and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get any good photos, but I managed to get super lucky when a bunch of kids moved along not long after we got there! I love these people-less shots I was able to take, but just know there were a whole bunch of annoying tourists nearby not in frame!
Since I’m not rich enough to stay at fancy hotels when I travel, yet I so badly wanted to go to The Hoxton, I decided to do the next best thing and simply go for drinks! Being around 6 or 7pm when everyone had knocked off work, the courtyard was pretty packed, but after a bit of scoping around, I managed to find us a table available right next to their Instagram-worthy mustard chairs! Léa and I were hoping the group of people sitting on them would leave so we could take a photo and eventually, they did!
With a really fun and lively atmosphere, we enjoyed a cocktail together as we chatted away and I couldn’t get over just how dreamy the entire lobby and courtyard area were. The next time I come to Paris, I’m definitely going to try and save up enough money to stay here, even if it’s only for a night or two!
For dinner, there wasn’t anywhere in particular that I had in mind to go to, but I knew I wanted something quintessentially French! I left it up to Léa to decide and she took me to Bien Élevé, which I loved! For my starter, I got the beef tataki and for my main, the pork served with crackling, shallots, gravy and the creamiest mash potato I’d ever eaten! The French just go all out with the butter; it’s the best! To drink, we both got a glass of red wine and it was the perfect way to cap off the last day in my favourite city. The only unfortunate thing was getting back to Léa’s with the dreaded task of packing my suitcase!
Day 5 - Friday 21st June
With my first flight back to Perth at 3pm, I didn’t count this day as extra time towards my trip. I would’ve been too rushed and too stressed knowing I had to be at airport in the early afternoon, so my plan was to just grab breakfast around the area and then start my journey home. After helping me cram the last of my stuff back into my suitcase, Léa and I got breakfast together at Cosy, the same place we went to for dinner on my first night. I got some fluffy scrambled eggs, plus a pain au chocolat and to drink, a green tea and orange juice. Léa soon had to leave for work, so I said my goodbyes and thanks and not long after, I got an Uber to the airport. I got there super early, but it was better that than worrying and at least I had somewhere with Wi-Fi to keep me entertained!
Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect first solo overseas trip. From getting to tick a dream band off my bucket list to meeting so many of my lovely blog friends and having the courage to do it all on my own, both London and Paris feel all that more special to me now and I just hope it’s not too long before I’m back in these wonderful cities!