Being in the City of Love ... Solo
When you think of Paris you think of the Mona Lisa, the Eiffel Tower and it being a place full of love!
When I turned 16 many of my friends would remember my Paris themed Birthday Party. I had plane tickets as invitations and the Eiffel Tower everywhere! My room was even Paris themed; you could say I was a little obsessed. I am not sure where it came from, maybe it was from those Gossip Girl episodes where Chuck pretended he wasn’t Chuck Bass!
Back in July I had a great time there with all my new Topdeck friends as we got to know each other for the first time in a completely new city! I was lucky to have a little experience surrounded by people in the same boat as me. But as it got to late September, I was packing a small bag to visit the city once again, but Solo.
Being in a group while travelling has a sense of security, but when you are alone and in a country that does not have English as their main language you can become a little nervous. I had an early morning back in London to get from Swanley to St Pancras Station to catch the EuroStar by 8:15am. I cannot believe it took 2 and a half hours to get from London to Paris by train. Australia needs to up their game!
I had recently bought some books in London, so I was happily in my own little world. I even had the option of going to Café Métropole, the onboard bar buffet on the train! Once I got to Gare du Nord station, I had a 10-minute walk to the Plaza Opera Hotel. When I walked in and told them my name the ladies at the desk started to act a little weird. They gave me my key and told me where to go. I thought it was cool I was going to be on the top floor. I had seen my room in a picture online, and thought it looked really cute. As I walked up, I called my mum via facetime to let her know I was safe and made it to Paris.
Little did I know she had something up her sleeve. I opened my door and was surprised by an upgraded room! I had the Eiffel Tower View Room!! There were balloons and chocolates awaiting my arrival, my mum had changed my booking without me knowing! It was a wonderful surprise. I didn’t even realise till the evening that there was a view of the Eiffel Tower. Know I know why the ladies at the front desk were acting weird haha!
I had a little rest before heading out to a tour of the famous Paris Opera! It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV and presents about 380 performances a year of Opera, Ballet, and other concerts to a total audience of around 800,000 people. 17% of that amount comes from abroad. Hopefully one day I will be part of that percentage and have a magical experience at the Opera.
After the tour I went to the Galerie Lafayette shopping centre, where I explored the hundreds of name brand shops in this magnificent building. I even managed to get this wonderful photo!
The next day I got up early to go to the Palace of Versailles! I was on a tour so I got in quicker then the people in the very long line next to me. Exploring the palace was wonderful! Seeing the Hall of Mirrors and walking the grounds felt unreal.
I cannot believe how much effort they put in to create and now manage this place. I went to Marie Antoinette's little village and got to see some of the animals and old buildings they have. It is quite a walk from the palace to her little life she had created away from the palace.
After a long day of exploring the life of the rich I wondered around to find a French crepe. And boy did I find one!!
The next day was another early start as I had a Travelshoot booked for 8:30am. Travelshoot connects travellers with local photographers around the world to easily capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments and occasions.
I had 4 hours of walking around with a local photographer learning about places and getting those wonderful shots. While I was exploring with my photographer we could see the city getting ready for Paris fashion week, so we had to hide some of the construction in the photos haha.
Once my photoshoot was over, I made my way to Saint Chapelle & Conciergerie. Apart from the incredible stained glass, the history of the place was wonderful. This was where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before her death in 1793.
Then it was time to make my way to the main event! The Eiffel Tower! So... I may have missed my tour but that didn’t stop me from making my way up to the top. Luckily, I managed to get a ticket quickly.
I am lazy so I took the lift up to the first level. Even from there, everything below started to look small. I had a ticket to go all the way to the top and I was hoping the weather wasn’t like New York when I was nearly blown off the Empire State Building. I may have been a small 7-year-old but even my parents said it was windy. Thankfully the weather was fine and I was able to explore around the top of Paris.
Once I came back down to earth, I really came back down to earth. Going underground to the Catacombs of Paris. It was a very eerie place but worth visiting as I got to learn a little bit more about the famous city.
I had only an hour to get ready to go back out for my night tour of Paris that would lead me to the Moulin Rouge. Did someone say Can Can Can? It was quite the show! Some parts were very cringy, but others were wonderful. Beware a lot of it is in French!
It came to my last day in Paris and I couldn’t miss the Louvre. But first I had to go up to Sacre Coeur. To get up I made my way back to Moulin Rouge and caught a little train that would take me to "the second heart of Paris". The Basilica at the top was beautiful. You can go right to the top to get some magnificent views of the city skyline! There are a few steps involved but it's totally worth it! The surroundings are full of art, food and music. I even got a portrait done on the street!
It was then time to get to one of the most famous museums in the world. The Louvre! I did a fast-tracked tour which got me into seeing the Mona Lisa before the crazy lines. I never knew the museum was built on top of the forgotten Louvre Castle built in 1190. They have some of it on display within the museum!
Then it was back to the station to say Au Revoir! Even though I didn’t fall in love there, I definitely fell in love with the city! The people, food and the history. I cannot wait to go back! In the whole time I was there I never felt nervous about my surroundings even though people would come up to me talking about the designer brands they had for me haha!
I would recommend Paris to anyone. I had a wonderful time there and bought way to many things!
Till next time .....