I Heart Paris

5 Oct

Simply put, Paris is stunning. It’s probably the most beautiful of all European cities. Being a ‘Londoner’, it’s our right that we can pop over to Paris for the weekend whenever we want. It’s a given that we’ll be back to Paris again and again when we feel the need to soak up some French culture. Ahhh… coffee and pastries in the Latin Quartier, French architecture, cobbled streets, the Eiffel Tower and the fancy Avenue Des Champs Elysees… we certainly heart Paris. But we have definitely learnt our lesson on how to travel to and from the City of Lights.
After a two-hour delayed flight from London to Paris (something about a busted tyre on the plane?), we were facing a long commute from Charles De Gaulle airport to our hostel on the south side of Paris. Due to the delay, we were faced with trains that stopped at midnight, bus route information in French that we were just not bothered to try to translate in the late hours of the night and were forced to take a shuttle that would only take us to as far as the centre of Paris. Once we arrived, we then had to hail a cab in the rain, which proved difficult enough as it was, from there to our hostel. We eventually fell in to bed at 3am.
We all understood and accepted that delays happen, so we weren’t too phased by the occurence of events, but our travel hassles didn’t stop there. Attempting to get back to London on the Sunday night proved 100 times more difficult. It was like a comedy of errors that just wouldn’t let up…
Firstly, our hostel advised us that a cab to the airport would be no trouble, that they would just ring in a booking 15 minutes before we wanted to leave. It came to 5:30pm, half an hour after we absolutely had to leave for the airport, and apparently, the thousands of cabs that are driving around Paris are all booked. Not one was available to come to our hostel to pick us up and take us to the airport, despite the receptionist’s best efforts after calling every known cab company in Paris. Plan B: the hostel shuttle bus. Fully booked. Plan C: the metro. Nope, trains weren’t running to the airport that weekend. Plan D??! We grabbed our bags and went up to the main street near our hostel to walk the pavement in search of a cab. We came across a metro station and went in to check to be sure that trains were in fact not running. In broken Frenglish, the station attendant assured us that ‘yes indeed’, we can get to the airport by train. She wrote down the lines and stations we had to take to get there. On our way finally!
We were at our second line change before embarking on the final leg that would take us to the airport, but something was wrong. Trains to Challes De Gaulle weren’t showing on the screen. Seeing other passengers with luggage, we asked a guy who told us to stick with him, that he was heading to CdG, but we had to wait a few trains for the correct one that would take us there. Two trains came and went and still we didn’t see a train that was heading to the airport. This guy suddenly realised after speaking to somebody else that all passengers for CdG would need to take another line and then take one of the free bus shuttles provided due to the line closure from there to the airport. The next train came and we boarded, feeling slightly more nervous now that we would be cutting it very fine to make our flight. We reached the end of the line after 40 minutes and busted out of the train and ran through the crowds to the shuttle bus that had just arrived. We squeezed on to that shuttle and after 20 minutes, we arrived at terminal one. Time-check: forty minutes until our flight was due to leave… we ran from terminal one to the train that would take us to terminal two. Running, running, running from the shuttle train to reach the Air France check-in, which we did just in the nick of time. We checked our bags and luckily made it through passport control and security just as our plane started boarding. We could relax! We were on the plane and flying home – that glass of white wine on board was certainly called for!
Arriving in London, we thought our stresses were over. At baggage claim, Matt’s bag was missing. It decided that it wanted to spend another night in Paris, but he would receive it the next day. No worries and something we all simply laughed about after the luck we had had that night. What else could go wrong?! Tube strikes in London were planned to take effect from that night through to the next day, but we found that the train lines were running fine. We boarded a train on the Piccadilly line at the underground station at Heathrow – the only line that runs from the airport into London. We were all laughing at the delays we encountered… what a journey, but we were finally on our way home. We would be getting a relatively early night after arriving into Heathrow at 8:30pm.
Ten minutes later we were still sitting on the train at Heathrow. No doubt we would be leaving soon? A driver announcement came over seconds later and informed us that a serious incident had just occurred at the station in front of us. A person under a train would prevent us from going anywhere anytime soon. He advised us to seek alternative transport…. !$%&!!
We needed a plan… make our way by bus to Hammersmith where Amy and Troy live and sort ourselves out from there. Getting off the train, we made our way warily to the airport shuttle train we needed to take to get to central Heathrow where the bus station was. Not really knowing which bus to take and after speaking with a London Transport official, we aimlessly hoped on a bus to… somewhere. Thanks to the help of our phones, we figured out that we were at least heading in a direction that would take us a tad closer to where we wanted to be. Amy and Troy spotted a road sign that pointed to Hammersmith and decided to get off and catch another bus in that direction to take them home. Jaime, Matt and I stayed on, hoping to get a little closer to our side of London where we would either catch another bus or fork out the painfully expensive cab fare home. We ended up getting off the bus not long after Amy and Troy following advice from the bus driver who gave us the number of a bus that would take us to Shepherd’s Bush in West London. We waited and waited and eventually hoped on this other bus. It took us to Shepherd’s Bush and we flagged down a cab. We had had enough… no more buses. The money we would spend to take us directly to where we wanted to go (home and to bed) was worth it. We eventually dragged ourselves into bed well after midnight for a short sleep in preparation of leaving for work earlier than usual the next day due to the planned tube strikes and increased delay with getting to work.
Despite all the drama, we absolutely loved our weekend in Paris. The boys and in particular Matt, loved the Paris Autoshow and Jaime, Amy and I went on a beautiful walk up to the Latin Quartier, along the River Seine, dropping into shops and stopping to people-watch and enjoy a really expensive coffee (4.80 Euros!) and delicious baugettes along the way. We walked through some markets not far from our hostel, tried on winter woolly hats and gloves and eyed off delicious pastries, cheeses, escagote (snails), bread and fresh food. We walked through absolutely beautiful Luxembourg gardens and then eventually along to the Notre Dame Cathedral and met the boys before going inside to marvel at its beauty and stunning stained-glass windows. We all then took a local bus north to the red-light district to see the Moulin Rouge theatre and the Sacre Coeur Basilica – a beautiful Catholic church which sits atop a hill overlooking Paris. We caught sunset and we were rewarded with absolutely stunning views of the gorgeous Paris. We then wandered up and around the hill a bit more and came to a cobble-stoned square with restaurants where we stayed for dinner before catching the bus back towards the Eiffel Tower for some night photos. Again, it was midnight before we were back at the hostel and in bed.
The next day we headed straight to the Eiffel Tower where we climbed the stairs to the second floor (over 700 steps) and then took the lift to the very top. I buried my head into Matt’s shoulder and closed by eyes while on the lift up to the very top (not quite over my fear of heights – so so high!). We also walked the Champs Elysees and the Arch de Triomphe and then walked back along the Champs Elysees towards the Louvre, stopping to take in the beauty of the city in autumn and playing in the golden leaves all over the ground along the way. We dropped by the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and, dead-tired on our feet, slowly walked back to the hostel where our all our dramas unfolded.

Rest assured, next time we visit Paris we’ll definitely be taking the Eurostar!!


2 Responses to “I Heart Paris”

  1. Grandma October 5, 2010 at 10:39 AM #

    sounds like something that would happen to us

  2. Grandma October 5, 2010 at 11:59 AM #

    hope you have a better time next time

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany

I am the world's oyster

Photography, Aviation, Nature, Culture, Nikon, Canon, Qantas, Airlines, Emirates, Airports, A380, 747


Love for hand-knitted & -crocheted beauty. Proud designer & founder of LN|Beanies and LN|Andes, my two knit brands, my two loves.

...our traveling without moving!...

Not just another WordPress.com site!

w a n d e r l u s t .

it courses through my veins


Matt & Hannah's Overseas Adventures


The ramblings of a girl chasing her dream


Our London come Toowoomba Life

%d bloggers like this: