10 hours in Paris.
10 hours in Paris.
A few weeks ago, Em and I decided to book ourselves on a spontaneous day trip to Paris. I'm not entirely sure who we thought we were when we booked a same-day return on the Eurostar, but my god I'm so glad we did! I'd never been to Paris before, but I just knew that I was going to love it.
We jumped on the Eurostar at 07.30am, and just over two hours later, we were in Paris! It was one of the easiest journeys ever and I would totally recommend it instead of flying if you can leave from London.
It's a little bit crazy when you think about it... just getting on the train and then you're in a whole different country. I spent the whole day saying 'wait, we're actually in France though?!' It felt a little surreal the first time.
We had a list of all of the places that we wanted to visit, and mapped out on Google Maps beforehand where we were going to and in which order, which made the whole day so much easier. We decided against going to visit the Eiffel Tower, as Em had already been and there were other things that I knew I'd prefer to see. I was more than happy just viewing the Eiffel Tower from a distance, for now.
And so, here is how we spent our 10 hours in Paris.
I'd heard that the views from the top of The Panthéon were incredible, but what I certainly wasn't expecting was how amazing the inside of this historic building was too. It was one of those places where you just don't know where to look. I'm not sure any of these photos do it justice at all, it was just beautiful.
One of my favourite things about our trip was that we were able to get into all of the places and attractions for free. Apparently, it's a thing in Paris that I had no idea about, that if you're a European citizen and aged 25 or under - or a student - you simply show your ID and you don't have to pay any of the entry fees or tour prices. It's such a fabulous system and something I really wish we'd adopt here in the UK.
After we'd had a wander around this gorgeous building - taking lots of photos, obviously, we found that the next tour was only 15 mins away, and so we hung around for a few minutes to make sure that we were in the queue for the tour up to the top. Turns out, we were the only two English people on the tour, so all of what the tour guide said was basically in French, but it didn't stop it from being amazing.
250 steps later, and we finally made it to the top and it was so worth it. The 360 views of Paris were just breathtaking, and I could've most definitely just stayed up there all day.
After the tour ended, we headed back down to ground level and decided that a coffee stop was definitely next on the cards!
A coffee stop, Sainte Chappelle & Walks in the Rain.
Whenever I visit a new city, whether it be in the UK or abroad, I always make sure we get the chance to just walk around. No trains or metro's or any other kind of public transport for a few hours - just wandering around and exploring the side streets and the city on foot and that's exactly what we did.
We left the Pantheon and found a cute little place to stop for a coffee, before we headed over to Sainte Chappelle - a 13th Century chapel with the most gorgeous stained-glass windows you have ever seen. Again, we didn't have to pay to get in to have a look around, although we didn't spend too long in the chappel as there were quite a few people mulling around.
Our plan was to then take a nice walk across the river and head to The Louvre, however our nice walk turned into quite the mad dash in the rain. It poured it down and we both got absolutely drenched - I still made Em stop for a photo on a bridge though, obvs.
The Louvre, Lunch & Angelina's Tea Room.
Despite the torrential rain, we made it to The Louvre and had a little wander through the gardens, before the rain seemed to get even heavier and we decided it was probably time to take shelter again and grab something to eat. Our aim was to get lunch at Angelina's Tea Room, as I'd heard so many good things about it (mainly from Instagram, if I'm being honest...), and made it one of the stops we wanted to take. Unfortunately, we seemed to time it a little wrong and the queue was huge, so we diverted somewhere else with the aim to come back later.
After lunch, we carried on walking to Place de la Concorde, which is a huge public square between The Louvre and Champs-Élysées, where if you spin yourself around in a big circle you can see lots of the famous Paris landmarks including the Eiffel Tower. We snapped a few more photos, and then decided to start the walk back towards Angelina's for some tea, cake and another little warm up.
Turns out, we probably should've just eaten lunch here because the queue was bigger the second time around! Thankfully, it moved pretty quickly and we were sat at our own little table not ~too~ long after. We ordered a pot of tea and one of their speciality cakes and it was delicious. I LOVED sitting here surrounded by Parisian wowen having coffee dates and it was quite the place to people watch!
Arc de Triomphe
Once we'd finished our tea and cake, we headed over to jump on the metro to the Arc de Triomphe. In a totally unplanned coincidence, we started and ended our day with gorgeous views from a height and another 250 steps to get to the top. But once again, it was SO worth it.
As you can see, the weather brightened up for us by this time and the blue skies came out for me to get one of my favourite photos ever. This is why I was more than happy viewing the Eiffel Tower from a distance, too. It was gorgeous and I just couldn't stop looking at the view while the sun started to set.
Em and I stood looking out from the top for a while before we headed back to the train, reminiscing on what a lovely day we'd had and being so thankful that we were able to do things like just hop on a train to Paris.
Em and I have only just about known each other for 12 months, having both started jobs at my old work within two weeks of each other, but I can't tell you how grateful and thankful I am to have met her and have her as a friend. If you're reading this Em - I love you lots and I miss you!