Saturday, March 23, 2013

J'adore Paris

September 5 - September 8

Day One

We arrived in Paris at Grand de Nord station in the morning after a lovely night sleep on the train (compared to the one we had from Budapest to Rome).

We hopped into a taxi and then arrived at the Victor Masse Hotel, way to early obviously to check-in.
We stored our backpacks away and off we were to one of the most visited museums in the world…Musée du Louvre

It was my second time, and J’s first, I wondered if he would be as overwhelmed as I did on that first visit, or underwhelmed due to how small Leonardo da Vinci’s painting the Mona Lisa (La Giaconda) actually is.

Once we received our map and an electronic guide (a Nintendo 3DS), we worked out exactly what we wanted to see (we took our time) we did have a few hours to kill before we could check-in and have a hot shower.

The first floor is where you find: Mona Lisa, The Winged Victory of Samothrace and The consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I.

The most interesting art piece and what J and I spent most of our time looking at was; The consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I, it gives a specific insight into French history and is a beautiful painting.

Then it was down to the ground floor to check out the vast collection of Egyptian and Greek antiquities. 

The most famous being that the sculpture of Aphrodite or otherwise known, the ‘Venus de Milo.’
The sculpture of 'Venus de Milo' in the Louvre

And then there is an actual mummy, by far one of the coolest and oldest things I think I’ve ever seen.
You could almost imagine you were standing in Egypt, shadowed by the Pyramids (another dream adventure of mine).

Then on to the Lower Ground Floor where we delved into medieval Louvre history and walked around the original standing walls.

Once we finished looking around the collections we came to see, it was time for lunch.

J and I didn’t have to wander far, the Louvre boasts a great cafeteria, with many lunch favourites.
Plus they have three-course meal deals: with a main, entrée and dessert.

After we found which exit to take out of the museum, one of my wishes came true, to eat macaroons in Paris. 

As the Louvre complex is home to a Lauderée store, where I bought four for J and I: rose, chocolate, salted caramel and violet.

We were able to eat them when we reached the Arc di Triomphe, or as I like to remember it, as the craziest round about I’ve ever seen. 

J witnessed for his first time, the infamous round about, where the drivers as they drove around were taking their lives into their own hands; while we munched on the macaroons.

From the Arc di Triomphe we headed down Champs-Élysées, whilst singing to ourselves 'Parlez-vous Francais' by Art vs Science

“The Champs-Elysees is a busy street.
We getting down with everyone we meet.
If you understand, then listen to me:
Si'l vous plait ma cherie allez tombez la chemise…”

J was impressed that Champs-Élysées was home to the car showrooms, so of course we then went into Renault, Toyota and BMW, which I have to admit were interesting, especially reading about the new technologies they’ve come up with and seeing shiny new expensive cars.

Eventually it was time to head back to the hotel, where we were able to check-in. 

Not knowing where to go to eat a lot of the time while we were traveling, we had started relying on for suggestions as well as discovering our own.

So after relaxing a bit in our room, one of the reviews we read was on a restaurant in Montmatre for a fondue restaurant Les refuge des fondus.

A small restaurant with just two long communal tables lining both sides, after being greeted by an eccentric man (whom we guessed to be the owner), we were then guided to our seats where I was offered his hand to climb up on to the seat so I could hop over the table to the opposite seat. 

By far one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had whilst dining, especially being sat next two total strangers and then the ‘owner’ bluntly asks what wine you would like: white or red, then basically tells you will be having cheese fondue.

It was a recipe for a relaxing and enjoyable environment. 

Though we weren’t ready for the experience of drinking our wine out of baby bottles (it makes for hilarious photos). 

We sat next to two Argentinean guys and a Canadian couple (who later gave us their card and told us to come visit them one day at their B and B in Venezuela).

After finally having had enough wine and cheese fondue (which surprisingly fills you up) we decided to walk up to the top of Montmatre and sit and look at the view from Basilica of the Sacré Coeur, where we kindly bartered with Pakistani men for some cheap 250ml bottles of Heineken and sat and enjoyed our first night in Paris.

Day Two

We woke up and decided crepes were the go for breakfast, because we were so close, we headed back up to Montmatre near the restaurant we ate at last night and sat down at a café opposite.

J and I both having ham and cheese crepes, J’s slightly heartier with a fried egg to top his off. 

Then we went back to Pigalle Metro station and caught the train to go visit my favourite cathedral; Notre Dame.

It was as beautiful as last time, and J thought it was pretty spectacular as well. 

After walking around Notre Dame and after I had taken a million photos we walked across the road and had a look at a Holocaust Memorial.

Then we walked across the bridge, a romantic bridge all covered in padlocks, similar to ones we had already seen in Berlin, Prague and in Verona. 

Walking around the Latin Quarter, where were trying to find a bookshop I had wanted to visit last time, but never got the chance; Shakespeare and Company.

A bookshop I had been curious about for some time, for its interesting history and the people connected to it by the written word.

We walked around the bookshop; looking at books, looking at messages left by customers and other travellers, listened to someone playing the piano and then we played a game of chess.

We came out with a couple of books: J with an edition of The Game of Thrones and I had bought Paris Without End: The True Story About Hemmingway’s First Wife.

J and I then enjoyed delicious cakes at a patisserie around the corner from the bookshop. 

The cakes at the patisserie around the corner from Shakespeare and Company
After heading back to hotel to get changed for dinner, J had found another gem on; La Billebaude restaurant.

We spoilt ourselves with a 100 Euro bottle of wine and a three-courses each including one of the most scrumptious desserts we have ever had; soufflé ice-cream.

Just around the corner from the restaurant was Le tour de Eiffel.
La Billebaude restaurant
We only had time to walk up to the halfway viewpoint before having to descend all those stairs, because we were off to see the Moulin Rouge.

We hailed a cab, because we thought it would be quicker, needless to say, we arrived to a massive hour-long line-up to get in to the Moulin Rouge (even though we had pre-purchased tickets).

What a show though, it was worth the wait.
Majority of the costumes were spectacular, though J and I both agreed that it may not be worth the money you spend; when you consider you have to share a table with other people and some of the costumes and songs were a bit stuck in the 80’s and we did go there expecting a bit more 1920’s Paris. 

Though it was brilliant we were expecting it to be a bit more ‘va va voom.’
But what a second day!
The Moulin Rouge

Notre Dame

Day Three

We repeated our breakfast routine with crepes at the café at Montmatre; we then relaxed for the rest of our last day in Paris.

Starting with a visit to the Oz Café to watch the NRL semi-finals; Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs versus Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, and enjoyed the company of some fellow Aussie boys watching the game.

We headed back near that restaurant La Billebaude (from last night) where the street around the corner is home to patisseries, butchers, grocers and wine stores. 

J and I went crazy and probably ended-up purchasing the most expensive picnic hamper ever down that street, but we had bought: roast chicken, fresh baguette (an award winning one), camembert and delicious French cakes. 

What a treat. It was extremely romantic (not for the faint hearted), sitting under the Eiffel Tower, under the warmth of the summer sun. 

We were so full, that we both nearly fell asleep.

Around 7pm J and I met under the Eiffel Tower again for the Fat Tyre Bike night tour around Paris.
It was a great idea, it was so refreshing and I get such a buzz from riding around busy European cities. 

The highlight for J and I was the stop at Berthillon, an ice-cream shop, in close proximity to Notre Dame, where the group stopped enjoying the ice-cream while the sun was going down.

The bike tour ended with a boat cruise on the Seine, where we enjoyed wine that the tour guide had brought for the trip; a great way to soak up our remaining moments in the enchanting city.

The Eiffel Tower at night time


  1. Oooh Morgan!It´s lovely!I encorauge to write more!You need to feel journalist!Muaaaak!

  2. Love it!!!!!!! Reading your work makes me feel like l am there with you. Love A