Oh, Paris! It had always been a place that I had wanted to visit and this June, it finally came true. Despite it not being far away at all from where I live, I had never quite got around to going due to one thing and another. This year I managed to tick that box on my little travel list as I was shortly due to celebrate my 30th birthday and also qualify as a Solicitor, therefore, it was, in short, a bit of a celebratory mini-break.
Of course, we happened to be going when Europe was in the midst of a huge heatwave, it touched just shy of 45°C whilst we there so it was warm, super warm! I think that made it even more enjoyable as we had such gorgeous weather whilst we were there, it truly could not have been any better. It was so hot in fact that people were bathing in the pools and fountains surrounding the Eiffel Tower as you can see above, it was great and such a lovely thing to witness.
I had been so keen to see Notre Dame, however, I didn’t really know what to expect during the trip due to the devastating fire that ripped through the building a few months prior; it had left so much of it destroyed. Having said that, it was and still is a spectacular sight, I only wish I had the chance to have been inside before it was damaged so badly. The front section of the building which you can see in the images is still magnificent and is so incredibly beautiful. I am happy that I got to see it and hope that when it starts to be re-built and restored that the Architects keep to the original design as much as possible. It was such an iconic landmark that was so well known to so many across the globe.
During our trip we visited a number of well-known locations, I mean, as I had never been to Paris before I definitely wanted to see the main sights and experience Paris as a tourist. When I go back, (I sure will be going back) I will explore more off the beaten track so to speak.
The Louvre and Champs-Élysée were on our hit list and both were fantastic. I particularly loved the Louvre. I could have easily have spent half a day walking around the museum as it is absolutely huge. It is so much bigger than you think; I would highly urge anybody visiting Paris to check this out. I loved it!
Inside the Louvre we tracked down the Mona Lisa which I have to say was rather disappointing. It is such as well known painting, so I had been quite excited to see it. I expected it to be impressive but in truth, I found it so tiny! I don’t think it helped that it was in a separate room and there were so many people surrounding it trying to take selfies in front of it, I think perhaps this is something the museum staff should address so that people don’t loiter in front of it too long as you just couldn’t get a decent look at it properly which was a shame.
We explored every day whilst there and we used the underground metro system to get around. It was surprisingly easy to navigate once you got the hang of it. One tip I would recommend is booking your metro tickets in advance online, this is what we did and we had them in readiness before we flew out. I think in hindsight this perhaps made it easier for us, particularly if you are slightly worried about the language barrier, although in truth we found that everybody spoke some, if not fluent English, which is more than can be said for me as I barely know five words in French.
On the way to the Champs-Élysée, we went through what felt like a mile long market, it was full of fresh flowers, produce and various other hand made items. I love things like this when abroad as you get a little taste of the culture and what day to day life may be like.
Overall I absolutely adored Paris, it was so much better than I had imagined. The food, the people and the sights were just incredible. I honestly cannot wait to go back and given that I haven’t travelled as much as some, you would expect that I would want to visit new places and of course I do, however, this was such a lovely experience that I wouldn’t hesitate on re-visiting. If you haven’t been or you are thinking of going, just book it if you can, you will not regret it.