Last year I finally travelled to Paris and it wasn’t exactly as I thought it would be…
I live in England, which is only 1 hour by flight to Paris and yet I’d not ventured over to the neighbouring country. Why? The excuse that I always used was that it was right there (as in right next to England) so why would I go there, when Australia is on the other side of the world! I know sounds ridiculous when Australia is a good 22 hour flight away compared to Paris’ 1 hour! It must be a British thing of ‘if I’m going to do something, then I might as well do as much as I possibly can.’ Either that or I wanted to get my full moneys worth out of a flight! – Also the mentality of the British! So being as I was back in the UK and back from Australia I decided that it would be the perfect time to get to Paris and tick off another experience on my travel bucket list! Which, by the way read;
Paris – see the Eiffel Tower, eat a snail and bread
So I booked my 1 hour flight and took hand luggage to save on carrying my bags around Paris and having to wait for the bag at the baggage claim in Paris, so more time exploring Paris!
As soon as I got off the train in Central Paris, I was caught up in the Parisian culture and found myself stood absorbing my surroundings and intently listening to the change in language. French was not my forte in school and I did my best to get out of as many French classes as possible, (to the extent of convincing my German Teacher that I was supposed to be in her class and got her to officially add me to her class register). The French language was indeed very poetic and soft sounding that I was smiling at hearing the accent and remembering my French Teacher; ‘Joanne, Écoute!’ (Translated means ‘Joanne, Listen!’).
I climbed the 704 steps to the second level of the Eiffel Tower, which was so worth it! The view of the city was stunning and was like being in a Romantic movie. After my epic climb, I thought I would treat myself with a visit to The Louvre to see the Mona Lisa in her epic glory. She was a vision of pure artistic beauty and a must see for any visitor, regardless of whether you like art or not.
Could this day get any better..? Well, yes. I had been given an awesome tip off from GAL backpackers, who told me about Salsa dancing by the river under the stars! It sounded magical and being a GAL that loves to Salsa, I knew that I just had to see this… It was so romantic and just stunning to watch the Parisians’ dancing with the sun setting in the background and the lovely view of Notre Dame. (If you are interested I’ve put the details at the end).
Eating snails did not pass me by either, I went to a restaurant, got a table for 1 and ordered escargots, steak, crème brûlée and French baguette! It did not disappoint! The snails were surprisingly tasty, as they were cooked in garlic butter and although the texture was a little off putting, they were nice, honest!
I stayed in an AirBnB for the first time too and loved it! If you want to explore a city and get a real feel for the culture then this really is a brilliant way to do just that! The woman I was staying with was very Parisian and I had one of the best evenings with her and her sister – who was visiting from London – we drank tea and ate French chocolate on a beautiful summer evening, with the cool breeze coming through the large Parisian styled windows, it was magnifique! It was very feminine and a perfect Parisian evening with Parisian women.
So what did I think of the City of Love?
Loved it! A must see for GAL travellers and backpackers. Its romantic, feminine, easy to get around and THE City of Love.
Want to go travelling, but not sure where to go?
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Love JO xx
Off the beaten track / Parisian culture experiences that I recommend:
Walk up the steps of the Eiffel Tower – 100% worth the effort
Salsa Dancing at Quai Saint Bernard
Just walk along the river until you see the dancers and you can join in too! It starts around 7 and goes on late into the night, every night! It is completely free and an ‘off the beaten track’ GAL PAL tip that I am passing onto all you lovely ladies!
Stay in an Airbnb! – you’ll love it!
The Louvre to see the Mona Lisa – you won’t regret seeing this masterpiece.
Eat French food – just try the snails and/or frogs legs – you might just like it!