After our wonderful day in Disneyland, Stacey and I got up on Monday to the realisation that it was three whole years since the eventful day in November 2009 when we shared our first kiss. We hadn’t planned too much in for the day, as we knew that our day at Disney was likely to wear us out – but we actually ended up climbing what felt like every set of stairs ever in Paris!
After packing our bags and checking out of our room at the Hotel Original, we made plans to wander along the Champs Elysée and maybe do a little shopping! I’d heard great things about the Champs Elysée Sephora store, and hoped to get some of my much-loved Benefit Cosmetics make-up cheaper than back home, but I was actually quite disappointed by their selection! We wandered the length of the Champs Elysée before coming to the Arc de Triomphe – one of the most famous monuments right in the centre of Paris.
I’d researched our trip fairly well before we left, which meant that I knew that EU citizens under the age of 26 didn’t have to pay to enter a number of the big Paris attractions – the first of which was the Arc de Triomphe. We showed our two British passports and were immediately ushered through to the spiral staircase which would take up right up to the top – for free! We climbed the hundreds of steps and eventually came to the top of the Arc, where we were buffeted by the winds and experienced brilliant views over Paris – and particularly of the six lanes of traffic trying to navigate the huge roundabout that the arc sat right in the middle of!
After the Arc de Triomphe, we headed across the city and made our way towards Montmartre and Sacré–Cœur, stopping on route at McDonalds (which was pretty much the same as McD’s back home, to be honest!). This is one of my favorite parts of Paris; I visited the church on my first trip to Paris back when I was at school, and the view from the top of the steps outside the church was just as good a I remembered. It was an odd experience, as the weather was pretty bad at this point; the view over the city had a big stormy backdrop whilst our images of the church show blue skies and sunshine!
Having wandered around the inside of the church and taken pictures of the view, we managed to escape the scam artists at the bottom of the steps and decided to go and see Notre Dame Cathedral! Notre Dame is located on the Île de la Cité and it was great to explore and see the boats going up and down the Seine. After wandering round the Cathedral, we found out that we could head up the tower and see the bells for free! (Again, because of the EU citizens under 26 etc etc.) We climbed the hundreds of steps and experienced yet another perspective of Paris from above – as well as seeing the gargoyles and spires of the Paris rooftops! It definitely felt like being in the middle of The Hunchback of Notre Dame!
We finished the day off by wandering along the Christmas Markets, and taking pictures of some of the love locks which have been locked to the Pont Notre Dame – had we been more prepared we totally could have added one of our own! It was a fantastic way to end the day, and our trip to Paris.
We eventually made our way to the airport (where we ended up eating Italian food, go figure!) and got back to Edinburgh at about 10pm – and were greeted with this wonderful sign – a perfect welcome back!
In an additional bit of exciting news, my cousin and her boyfriend got engaged in Paris this week! She was taken on a surprise visit to the city on New Year’s Eve (hence why she wasn’t bombarding me with questions about trains in Europe over Christmas!) and I’m so so excited for them both, and can’t wait to hear all about their romantic weekend!Carley