By Ludo Thomas
Opportunity is now here, I used our favourite saying and made a last minute decision which turned out to be the best thing I’ve done in a while.
Seriously sunny weather, a big appetite, and a need to get my head out of London for the weekend, my girlfriend and I hopped onto the Eurostar first thing Saturday morning and were in Paris in no time.
I had only been once when I was small and from that I remember nothing, which made it a fresh city to explore and a chance to collect so much needed dots.
We wasted no time, dropped our bags, and began as the shameless British tourists we were. Arc de Triomphe, the first stop, was sensational, an enormous and emotional place for many, an eternal flame burns under it to commemorate those fallen in past wars, specifically WW1 & 2. Champs-Elysees, the long famous avenue close by was our walking route, and soon we were under the towering legs of the Eiffel Tower. This is where we learned first one of the best things about being under 26 and European (still…just) to get to the top was only €14, absolute bargain, and the views were worth every scent.
Europeans like eating late, but all our walking had left us famished so at 7.00pm we had a little tapas restaurant to ourselves, red wine, tasty meats, just what the doctor ordered. To finish the night and to cap of our first tourist fuelled day, we found a lovely little crepe place, divine.
Up and at the early, our hotel was right next to a rather delicious boulangerie. I put my French to the test and without blinking ordered up the most delicious croissants (obviously) and small espresso to fuel the day, when they say they taste different in France, they mean it.
After being haggled by two pick-pockets we found our way to the Louvre with all possessions intact, here we spent hours filling our heads with French history, and once again it was free for u26 Europeans – amazing. The Crown Jewels were rather splendid, and then we had to wrestle our way through the bustle of Asian cameras to get to the Mona Lisa, it was nice to see it for real however, but once front and centre, I did wonder whether and the shoulder shuffling was worth it. Wondering around the palace and gardens was stunning, and Angelica’s hot chocolate is to die for.
Cafe Flore, one of the oldest, most famous cafes in Paris, the Luxembourg Gardens, macaroons, steak and red wine, made for one of the best trips I’ve done in a long time. We even managed to see the graves where Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are buried.
Having looked and eaten our way around Paris, the dots, for now, have been firmly collected and I’m ready for a productive week ahead. You can do a lot in no time at all, which makes for good motivation this half term.