I was in Paris last weekend. Ally was in London at an Evanescence gig so, seeing as Bláthny was a bit disappointed at not going with her, I thought I’d give her a nice surprise by bringing her to Paris.
She was overjoyed when I told her about the idea!
“I don’t want to go to Paris”, she said.
“Of course you do”, I said, “Everyone wants to go to Paris”.
14 year olds really can’t be expected to know what they want now, can they, especially when it comes to trips to Paris? I, as a considerate, thoughtful mother am well aware of this.
And, so it was that three of us, Bláthny, mam and I, jetted off in luxury, with Ryanair, to fabulous Frenchville!
We arrived in Beauvais late on Friday evening and, having just brought hand luggage, succeeded in being among the first onto the bus waiting to take everyone into Paris city centre.
Cost to get into Paris from Beauvais for anyone who’s interested: €90 (€30 each) for the return bus ticket, and €20 for a taxi to our hotel as we decided against taking the Metro that late at night. (A good idea considering the dodgy area of Paris we stayed in.)
Our hotel that we’d booked for the three nights was situated on the same street as the Gare de L’Est, a train/Metro station in the NorthEast of Paris. It is the noisiest hotel I have ever stayed in. The first night we arrived there was a large crowd of people attending an event at a club across from the hotel. As I was checking in at reception I saw several of them battering the heads off each other as others stumbled drunkenly into the sex-shop beside it.
Mam was given a room at the back of the hotel and, thankfully, the view of the ‘shop’, from our room, was obscured by some very large trees outside our window. Unfortunately the trees obscured everything else too. It’s a pity they didn’t block out the noise of the traffic and sirens though. Once darkness fell the traffic noise appeared to increase, and sirens wailed right through until the morning. There is NOTHING more annoying than a French style Police siren blaring every ten minutes…..unless it’s MANY French style Police sirens blaring every ten minutes.
We were so tired though that we slept through the night.
On the Saturday we thought we’d get breakfast somewhere other than the hotel, and we settled on a little restaurant opposite MacDonald’s. I’m a firm believer that, when abroad, one should eat as the other locals do, and so I’ll always look for an authentic looking, traditional place that serves good local cuisine.
The restaurant we chose was empty. Across the road MacDonald’s was full. Two cold coffees, one bland ‘hot’ chocolate, and three disappointing breakfasts left me in no doubt as to why the locals were opting for Bacon & Egg McMuffins. For the remainder of our Paris vacation we ate breakfast in MacDonald’s.
Romance in Paris
We walked on the Friday morning past the Gare du Nord, along the Bd de Magenta and back down the Rue du Rocheouart . It was an experience. The Bd de Magenta was lined with shops selling suits and wedding dresses.
Two years ago when I was in Paris with John we walked up Rue du Faub. St. Denis which is, more or less, at the back of the Bd de Magenta. I’m not sure where we were going but, the further up the street we went, the quicker we walked. The street was lined with clothing boutiques that I’m fairly sure sold a bit more than clothes judging by the women dressed in leopardskin and leather standing in the doorways.
I suppose it’s very convenient to have the two streets in such close proximity to each other in the event of any potential ‘Pretty Woman’ romance stories.
The three of us walked as far as Montmartre. It used to be one of my favourite places in Paris but it’s not really like it was twenty years ago. There are too many ‘scammers’ around. You’d want eyes in the back of your head for them.
These guys (pictured below) would take a person by the hand and, before the ‘victim’ had time to blink, they’d find themselves with several strands of thread wrapped around their finger and wrist. A couple of minutes later they’d be sporting a newly crafted ‘luck’ bracelet that they’d have to pay €5 for.
All three of us were caught, but I insisted on paying just €5 for the three bracelets. If I ever go back I’ll be keeping my hands in my pockets and doling out swift kicks to people’s ankles. ‘Oops, my foot slipped’.
I do love the hustle and bustle of Montmartre though.
I love the Basilique du Sacre Coeur. Years ago I met a group of Irish lads in Paris as I was nearing the end of my stay there. So determined was I to see the church lit up at night that at 3 o’clock in the morning one of the lads walked out there with me. Of course the place was in total darkness and I’d an awful rush on me to try to make it back to the hotel, pack, and get out to Charles de Gaulle airport for my flight back home that morning at 7AM.
I spent a lot of time taking photos of birds while I was there this time. Is it sad that I’d be more interested in taking photos of them rather than the sights?
The pigeon below didn’t hang around long enough for me to take a second shot.
It was a lovely warm, clear day and the view from the top of the hill was fabulous.
Bláthny had to put her sunglasses on. Then she wondered why people were looking at her.
The glasses drew great attention in a café we went into at the bottom of the hill and we found ourselves being served immediately while the barman took the opportunity to inspect the glasses.
I’ve never been to Galeries Lafayette so we thought we’d venture there next. I was awed by the Rolex and Tiffany counters, mainly by the glitter coming from them. I’m not sure if I’d ever spend €26,000 on a ring or a watch though. If I’d that much money to spend on jewellery I’d want to be able to afford the security to go with it.
There were a lot of Asian tourists snapping up bargains in Louis Vuitton luggage. I’m sure the store must have been giving the stuff away for nothing because there were no prices on any of it and it was disappearing off the shelves at a huge rate.
Mam and I wandered over to look at the ‘Special Offer’ clothing rail but there was nothing less than a €100 on it and the quality was very poor, in my opinion. I think I’ve seen better stuff in No Name.
Outside Galeries Lafayette
After our visit to Galeries Lafayette it was on to the Louvre for ‘Deuxiéme Partie’.