As you may know, as part of my gap year me and one of my best friends Georgia decided to do some travelling; something which I have never really have had the opportunity to do until now. One major destination I have had on my bucketlist for years is Paris. I did have the opportunity to take a short trip here with my art class at school. But have always wanted to return to explore the beautiful city in more depth.
We stayed overnight on the Sunday in Glasgow and early the next morning caught the plane to Charles De Gaulle airport. An aquaintance had kindly offered us his flat in the Ternes area, a very short walk away from the Arc Du Triomphe. But more on that later.
Suprisingly, most restaurants in Paris do not open until 7, due to the late eating habits of the French, therefore we wandered around the area for a little while and nipped into the local market to buy a couple of essentials (including a baguette!) for the flat, and came out again for a meal later on.
Our first full day in Paris began with our desperately running around the Chatelet area trying to find where our shuttle bus for Disneyland was going to be. We thought we had missed it however it turns out they were running a little bit late! After the confusion we were safely on the bus on our way to Disneyland Paris!
I am not a great lover of theme parks however our short trip to this one was very enjoyable! I especially liked the Peter Pan ride that took you across the London night sky through to Neverland in a flying ship! Another highlight was the Disney Dreams show.
The next day was our chance to walk round the heart of the city. I had booked tickets to go up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, however appeared to have booked for the wrong day. Typical. However we did not let this put a dampener on our day and instead made our way down t the Musée d’Orsay, a magical art gallery sitting on the side of the Seine.
The last time I had visited the gallery famed for its Monet and Van Gogh collections I had come across a stunning huge room decorated with mirrors and gold, after searching high and low and asking many members of staff we still could not find it. However after doing some research I have found that it is in fact the old ball room from when the gallery used to be a train station and is now used as a restaurant and for exclusive events. If you do have a chance to explore the museum I would highly recommend you have a look!
After having a mooch around the gallery looking at some of my favourite paintings we headed towards the Notre Dame alongside the river Seine. Stopping for a little bit of a photoshoot along the way…
The Notre Dame is an iconic church in France, with impressive architecture and holding some very important treasures such as supposed sections of the Crown of Thorns. Mary Queen of Scots was married to the Dauphin of France here in 1558 and it was also the setting for the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte. Lets just say, its quite famous.
We learned the hard way that Paris in January is bone chillingly cold, therefore we had to nip into little cafe’s numerous times to warm up and indulge in the best hot chocolates France has to offer.
After recuperating from the cold we decided to head slightly out of the center towards towards the Pere Lachaise cemetary, famous for being the final burial place of the play write Oscar Wilde after his exile from England. Other notable graves are those of Frédéric Chopin and Eugène Delacroix.
Walking round the cemetery was very peaceful, you could wander round the tombstones, taking in the views of flowers recently laid down on loved ones graves and the intricately decorated stones for hours and not get bored.
The next day we headed west towards Versailles, the grand palace and its ground has always been at the very top of my bucket list and was one of the main reasons I decided to visit Paris. Since we are under 25 and members of the EU (currently!) we were able to get access to the palace interior as well as the fantastic grounds. Upon disembarking from the train station you turn right at the door and walk down the street for about two minutes before you see the palace on your left. You really cannot miss it.
My suggestion would be to explore the interior of the palace first. Georgia and I went for a quick look at the gardens before turning back to the palace to find a huge queue for the entrance. This was in January so if you are in this area during the summer months I would definitely advise you to get to the attraction as early as possible to avoid queuing for hours. After observing the queue we decided to walk back through to the grounds to have a good exploration whilst the line for the palace died down.
Although it was bitterly cold the skies were completely clear and walking round the huge park was bliss. See for yourself!
If you are interested in exploring this amazing place I would definitely set aside a full day to look around. Looking back we missed out so many places, such as the Grand Trianon, the Marly Estate and parts of the garden such as the Orangerie. We did however manage to walk down to the Petit Trianon and parts of Marie-Antoinette’s estate.
I could dedicate a whole blog post to this place, however I am planning to return sometime in the warmer months so I will be doing a much more in depth exploration of this beautiful place and a post will come with it!
Since it was our last evening in this beautiful city we decided to visit the Arc Du Triomphe. This was a magical experience especially as the Eiffel Tower had it’s light show as we were at the top. The night views over Paris are truly spectacular and not to be missed!
I had an amazing time mooching around this city and hope to return for a longer period of time when its slightly warmer. Although we managed to pack a lot into a few days there are still places I want to see. So until next time Paris!
PS. Photos of Disneyland and any photos of me were taken by Georgia (www.introducing-georgia.com). All others are my own