Three Days In Paris – Part One

After recently stumbling across photos from my trip to Paris in 2009, I thought I’d do a quick recap of my time in the French capital. There were definitely ups and downs but here’s my experience of three days in Paris.

My trip to Paris in 2009 was with a then boyfriend and was supposed to be a romantic surprise for my birthday. Only thing was at the time I didn’t have an in date passport so having to shell out £100 for a new one somewhat took away the romantic vibe. This would also come to symbolise how my travel partner would plan our entire trip ie. there would be none. Remember to pick travel buddies carefully.

We had a booked ridiculously cheap late night flight with Ryanair and added a budget hotel in the business district of Paris to make out three days in Paris as low cost as possible.

This was our first time travelling with Ryanair and things didn’t start well when during the flight the girl in front of us was having issues with a drip above her. I’m not sure why you’d get condensation on a flight but it definitely made us feel a little uneasy on an airline that has a somewhat mixed reputation.  Other than that the flight was fine, very budget and our first experience of the famous Ryanair fanfare landing. As is the deal with most of the cheap Ryanair flights we did not land in the city’s main airport. So instead of arriving into Paris but were instead in Beauvais and therefore  far away requiring a bus to get to the right city.

After a flight, a bus and a quick snack stop we still had the subway to negotiate. Buying our tickets at a machine we then couldn’t get our tickets to open the barriers and had to ask for help although everyone else simply kicked the barrier down. This was quite a scary first experiences of Parisian public transport but I thing we might have simply been at a rather dodgy subway station.

Finally, once we had arrived at the location of our hotel we simply couldn’t find it. Despite having researched our route we were a little lost. After going in circles we ended up in another hotel to try and get direction but the receptionist had never heard of our hotel but sent us in the vague direction of the street we were looking for and we did eventually find it.

Our journey had led to late night arguments and really brought out our completely different views on travel. I like to have journeys planned and know what’s available in new locations but in the run up to our trip my travel partner had been keen to dissuade from any planning in lieu of just being spontaneous and stuff will work out. The problem was that on arrival the spontaneous plans don’t really work if you don’t know where you are going!  So I urge again think carefully about your travel partner.

Our room was fine for our purposes but was definitely a very budget option. By this point we were so stressed out by our long day of travel we were ready to hit the pillow.

The rail tracks from our hotel in the business district of Paris
The rail tracks from our hotel in the business district of Paris

So after a shaky start and a late night arrival we began our three days in Paris and spent our first day doing the typical touristy walk about and seeing the sights.

A subway journey from our hotel took us to the Champs-Élysées and the famous Arc de Triomphe.

Arc de Triomphe. Paris
Don’t you hate it when someone walks into your shot

We spent a little time simply walking around before continuing to Paris’ number one attraction- The Eiffel Tower. It is a beautiful structure and is visible from all over Paris and so we spent our first day simply admiring it from various locations with a visit up the tower planned for the following day.

The weather remained rather wet and dull during our trip, which was to be expected for a January visit, but we still got a few good snaps of the tower silhouetted against the grey skies.

The Eiffel Tower against the Parisian grey sky
The Eiffel Tower against the Parisian grey sky

Walking around and under the Eiffel Tower it’s quite interesting to see who intricate the structure is. Just don’t stop for too long because you will of course be instantly accosted by someone trying to sell you something. We were harassed by rose sellers but I imagine they probably do get a lot of business mainly through embarrassing a people into buying roses for their other halves.

Looking upwards at the Eiffel Tower
Looking upwards at the Eiffel Tower

It is a lovely spot but even visiting as a couple I can’t say that there is anything in particular that makes the Eiffel Tower itself romantic. I think anywhere can be romantic and don’t really buy into Paris as the city of love. Who decided this?

We finish our first day at the Centre George Pompidou a modern art gallery which also has very interesting high tech ultra modern architecture. It was getting dark by the time we had made it to the gallery but this also let us see it in all its night lights.

Centre George Pompidou at night during our three days in Paris
Centre George Pompidou at night during our three days in Paris

Our walk to our subway station took us back past the Eiffel tower which at night is also lit up. Each night the tower puts on a show of of lights all over the iron beam and with spotlights shining up into the sky. The twinkling lights are a beautiful addition but once an hour their is a sparkly light show which, for me, kinda ruins it and makes it a bit of a tacky party trick.  With our first of three days in Paris down we only has another two to try and squeeze in as much as possible so it would be an early rise and a busy day to come.

Is Paris your dream destination?