We arrived in The City of Lights on the 31st January. There was light smog over the buildings, and as we unpacked our luggage, got settled into our rooms and had our first meal, it was time to kick start our time in the city of love with a tour of the lamp-lit bridges, low-lying buildings and architectural marvels as we absorbed the romance of Paris.
My most vivid memory of our first night in Paris was my very first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. We had driven over a small bridge, and as I glanced around the buildings, it peeked out – lights shining and flickering fast, like someone had poured a bottle of glitter confetti out of the sky. It was purely amazing, and as cliché as it sounds, I let out a squeak of a gasp.
We were whisked, full steam ahead into the Arc De Triomphe, holding on tight as we screeched through, pulling up cars and honking as we were navigated safely. We then climbed the tower in the rain, and were amazed by the sights of Paris from above.
Our next few days were spent eating croissants for breakfast, visiting the Arc De Triomphe once more, from a safe distance, and strolling down the Champs Elysees, stopping in at a cafe, and being served our cappuccino and Nutella crepe by a waiter in a black beret and blue and white Brighton striped shirt.
We people watched, wandered down to the Musee De L’Orangerie to marvel at Monet’s waterlilies that wrapped around the curved walls. Standing so close they mirrored small smudges of green, blues and deep purples, but from afar they were significantly recognisable as a cluster of lilies resting on a mellow stream.
We visited the Louvre, stood in front of the Mona Lisa, and cased around the Venus De Milo. I bought a red beret, and we crunched down on macaroons – pistachio, coffee and strawberry. I bought a striped shirt from a beautiful store, and we headed home to get all frocked up for the Moulin Rouge.
I swept on blush, we fluffed our hair, and we headed on down for an evening of potato and leek soup, mushroom risotto, red wine and a cabaret act showcasing the can-can, topless women with lips stained rouge, live pythons being tangled in water and mustered ponies on stage. The men danced and pranced, and wore leather tight. The feathers folded out from the costumes, and the musical performance ended with a loud cheer. The Moulin Rouge was a Parisian oasis.
Our days in Paris were extraordinary; it was a perfect French affair. We smelt perfume at the Fragonard perfumery, and were amazed at the stained glass in the Notre Dame, as the famous gargoyles peeked out from the top of the church. We sat across the road and dined on crepes, snails and cappuccino, writing postcards and laughing with new found friends.
We bought art from the streets, and visited the Chateau Versailles, to experience the life of King Louis and Marie Antoinette, as we walked the hall of mirrors, touched the tapestry walls, and caught a glimpse of the marvellous gardens that lined the Chateau’s gates.
Our last night was perfect. We visited the Sacre Coeur and popped into a little coble stoned courtyard with fairy lights and bustling cafes. We dined in a quaint French restaurant off the beaten track, where I had the most marvellous French onion soup, with thick croutons and mozzarella, and Salmon, with bread and a creamy sauce. It was a night of cosmopolitans, street art, dancing and walking the streets of Paris, with my heart in my hand.
Paris, je t'aime xx