Finally, FINALLY, nearly two months later, I congregate a summary post of my 3 night trip of a lifetime! If you read my last post you’ll know I had a mega mental setback last month and I didn’t want to do anything but sleep and avoid all responsibilities, never mind sit down to get started on a hefty commentary on my holy trip to Paris but now – whilst I have the energy and seeing as I got round to transferring and editing 100+ photos in one go (yay me) – I thought it was about time I relived and retold the French fantasy in the place I create best.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have more than likely already seen a good proportion of these photos, and you’ll have also probably wondered why I’ve been obsessing and paying homage to the city of love for weeks on end. It’s just Paris, right? Less than an hour away on the plane. A place thousands of people visit every day. A bit cliche. Sights you’ve seen on tourist and travel pages time and time again. But nope, not to me. A simple girl with simple pleasures.
Paris is a spot that’s been on my bucket list for years. Ever since I grew out of the chav stage and moved on to being the adventurous type who gets their kicks from photographing prettiness in its best light and making the most of an escape from the usual reality. It’s a city I envisioned as enchantingly magical, full of colour, charm, and character. The kind of place you’d go and feel a wave of emotions. Excitement, exuberance, astonishment, attachment. Where on exploration you’d develop a flair for feeling like you could conquer the world.
And it was.
It was everything I imagined and more. Adding exhaustion, physical strain, emotional stress, burning temperatures, and an inadvertent digest of Paris’s entire metro line into the picture, and you have my dreams in the flesh. The idyllic haven full of potential on every pavement stole a piece of my heart that will always be slotted into the lengths and depths of Paris until I’m able to head back and continue my deep love affair.
I still can’t believe I was able to experience all of this purely from a few hours of sitting down with my laptop and a cuppa, documenting my day of inspiration, education and blogger solidarity as I attended my first Blog At The Beach. If you didn’t know, my city break was courtesy of Ice Lolly as I was announced the winner, and all I needed to take care of was the spending money. (Which did evaporate pretty quickly I must admit. The only downfall to Paris is the expense at the central parts; 4 euros for a bottle of water and 2 euros to have a pee at Notre Dame, anyone?)
But it made it all the more special. It was a once in a lifetime type of trip, probably my only opportunity to tick Paris off my ‘idealistic countries and cities to visit at least once’ agenda, and that’s why I wanted to take full advantage of every moment, savour the time I had, and venture out to as many locations as possible.
I exerted myself and was knocked for six, and I absolutely underestimated just how huge Paris is and how much there is to see but I can solemnly say it was well, well worth it.
I took my mum along for the ride and although she took on the role of outfit photographer, bag holder, and a receiver for all my heat induced frustration as she trailed along with my demands, I think she had just as much as a fabulous time as I did.
When we first arrived I had all this delirium in me ready to burst. I can’t quite figure out whether that was because I’d stepped foot on glorious French ground or because we had a 7am flight and I’d not slept in about 30 hours as the day went on, but once we’d eventually checked into the hotel I was able to fight off some of that fatigue with a quick nap, a saunter to the Beaugrenelle shopping centre around the corner, and an overseas Mcdonalds – which fyi is so much nicer than back home, Britain need to seriously catch up with the times. And after a good night’s rest, we were ready and pumped to get going.
So, where did we stay?
Our home for the trip was the Platine Hotel in the 15th arrondissement – Rue de l’Ingénieur-Robert-Keller to be specific. Just a short walk away from the Charles Michels metro station. A less crowded area but still close enough to the must-sees and enough eateries to cater for.
It was a Hollywood themed design boutique hotel; Marilyn Monroe situated in eye view wherever you went, a-list names printed on chairs and prints, each room individual and brimmed with personality and fifties ambience, and the comfiest beds I have ever had the satisfaction of placing my worn out body in. We were in one of the classic rooms and there were absolutely no complaints from me.
Cosy and well lit but with that old school retro pin up girl feel. Unique touches running through the entirety. The rest of the place was the same. The entrance not only had a delightful fresh scent but it also had a delightful way of drawing you in. Welcoming staff, a nostalgically decorated foyer with a small mini bar, a dining room, and a spa downstairs. After a long and tiring day I always looked forward to coming back to chill and spruce up for the night frolics!
What did I wear?
I wanted to showcase my pre-prepared outfits to their best ability but the scorching heatwave became a bit of a barrier to that. I did manage to make use of all my clothing but that’s not to say I wasn’t a sweaty, crinkled mess. I’ve now vowed, if I was to ever go back, it’d certainly be more this time of year. Paris in the summer is stunning but imagining all the golden, warm shades I could rock in the cooler autumn weather is honestly spine tingling.
The Parisian style is nothing but classic and chic. I remember the first fashion based book I bought was formed on the epic street style of Paris and it’s become nothing but an original inspiration ever since. Releasing my inner Parisian came in slogan tees, diverse stripes, graceful silhouettes, an excess of polka dots, and then some casual cuts swaying away from the couture.
After-all I do believe the motto in Paris is; it’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it.
And what did we do?
We decided our schedule was gonna go like this:
Day one – a more chilled out day, wander the local area, head to the parks to soak up the sunshine, do a little bit of shopping, go for breakfast and indulge in alllll the pastries, discover those quaint, poised parts that are often hidden.
Day two – do the typical tourist thang. Engulf in the rich culture, admire the architectural masterpieces and monuments, take as many photos as possible and capture the elegant essence and sophisticated soul of this beautiful city.
That was the basic plan and we stuck to it, everything else came secondary. Our flight times were awkward so we only had two whole days to fit it all in but I think we did a damn good job.
We roamed the interior and exterior views of museums, restaurants, cafes, boulevards, public gardens, hotels, apartments, boutiques, the numerous aristocratic buildings in the arrondissements, and some of the most iconic, recognisable structures known to mankind – my camera round my neck clicked frequently as we turned to grandeur around every corner.
People have asked me for tips on how I managed to portray the distinctive vibe in multiple locations through nothing but photos but truthfully? I don’t have an honest answer. I just went with the flow, knowing that Paris is overflowing with promise whether you’re entering the populous zone, or the more secluded. Every section tells a story and has such a vibrant buzz, whether that be a sensory overload as you tackle the midday herds, or the beguiled power radiating from the framework.
I’ve probably run out of words to describe it by now, tbh. So now the only words I’m going to type out are those giving a run down with the continued photo diary as a prompt!
On the first day we headed to the 6th arrondissement and spent a good couple of hours in that area – beginning with Luxembourg Gardens. Massive, but very tranquil – and of course, picturesque! It was about 35 degrees so we did need to cool off after that and we made our way to an Amorino just around the corner for our dose of rose sculpted ice cream. Talking of corners, strolling past the narrow streets with tasteful cafes and restaurants occupying the zebra crossings gave me all the insta-worthy feels – the kind that made me wish I had a professional photographer beside me at all times.
Afterwards, we were back on the Saint Sulpice metro heading to the gorgeous Boulevard Saint Germain, checking out the small local markets, and following on with seeking the shops around Madeleine and Saint-Fiacre – in particular Sezane and Chanel – so I could pretend I was a successful business woman with a platinum purse and not clutching a carrier bag with my Primark shoes in, instead.
For the rest of the duration, we progressed to the more touristy parts; roved the eye catching beauty of Tulleries Gardens, had a sit down and a souvenir purchase at the Place De La Concorde where we had our very first drop of well needed rain! Saw the famous pyramid that is the Louvre and even attempted the touching of the tip standing pose (safe to say that wasn’t all that successful). Then, when we were well and truly zonked, we headed back to shower and change before hopping back on the metro and going to the Saint Michel neighbourhood upon recommendation for some hearty Italian pasta.
Probably sounds ridiculous staying on the beige food when there’s so many savouring possibilities in the French hospitality. But aside from eating my body weight in delicious bread and drooling over macarons, we were that busy we didn’t have time to even think about food (and wine) and instead stuck to the safe option of what we know.
Saint Michel was such a lovely area, from what I could see in the dark! A sense of homely familiarity hit you once you entered, the streets alive with twinkling lights, waiters rushed off their feet, and a mix of people having fun and soaking in the atmosphere; locals having a midweek catch up twirling their wine glass in hand and tourists being tourists. I wouldn’t mind staying there in the future as the prices weren’t too bad, either!
On the second day we felt much more refreshed after a 7 hour sleep and we needed it because this was our last day to cram everything in! We’d pre-booked our tickets for the River Seine cruise and we spent half of our day on there, embracing the peace the crystal water and blue skies brought and seeing the sights in all their opulence. First up was Champs Elysees – crossing the Pont Alexandre bridge and walking the waterfront for a few refreshments, briefly catching the Arc De Triomphe (I’ve made a pact to go up there on the deck for a stunning landscape city view next time), then on to the Eiffel Tower to admire with typical globetrotter annoyance, and finally ending the tour at Notre Dame where I fell in love with how utterly French the whole ordeal was – a cathedral much bigger than I ever pictured and a busker playing the sax beside the flowing river.
Before we headed back to the hotel for another (and our last) evening meal, I insisted on visiting the Sacré-Cœur. That big white church/total castle with the million stairs. It didn’t go down too well admittedly; almost collapsing halfway up, feeling the wrath of those stairs and the warmth on my chronic pain, having a panic attack triggered and then to top it off a sliced open toe as I accidentally stood on glass; but wow the wonders of detail and view from the top was incredible, mesmerising. I was completely awestruck, even with the mishaps of the day looming over me.
Breaths now steadied, regular calm resumed, and another croissant consumed, we once again hopped on to the metro back to refresh for the nighttime adventures we had planned. We didn’t have the funds to go see Moulin Rouge but we went, anyway. To see it all lit up in action, to take some photos of my matching outfit to the backdrop, and to indulge in the fittest pizza I have ever had the honour of ingesting.
Our night finished off being cheesily seduced by various French men and plenty of giggles (I thought catcalling didn’t exist in Paris until the last night but at least it was less aggressive) and our holiday finished off on a 6am taxi journey back to the most ginormous airport I’ve ever been (honestly, Paris, why are you so EXTRA) passing by the many streets we’d walked on the days before and having my spirits fulfilled witnessing sunrise at the Eiffel Tower making it the most perfectly fitting ending to a perfect holiday.
I can’t thank the guys at Ice Lolly enough for providing me with such bliss from start to finish! You think I’ll ever shut up about this captivating city? You thought wrong.