A Portrait of Paris: Part 1

Last month I took to the rails as I made off on the train towards Paddington Station. Yes, London was calling, if only for a short while. I would spend one night bunking down in a swish, if compact hotel room, ready to waken before the dawn chorus to board the Eurostar. The reason? Well, the byf and I were off to celebrate a special occasion someplace different and where better place than the capital renowned as the city of love?

It was a brisk walk towards King’s Cross that morning, passing many frequented buildings closed long before dark. On finding the gateway – the bright lights of St Pancras, we were thrust into a bustling throng of passengers already filling the departure lounge. Passing the time we queued for morning coffee and croissants, before ascending to the eerie industrial cavern with its mile-long platform above.

We were lucky to find a window seat all to ourselves and reclined in quiet comfort for the duration of the trip. Rolling at speed we reached the coast in no time and were soon through channel tunnel much quicker than initially anticipated. In time we pulled in to Gare du Nord and disembarked into a chaotic crowd, before descending with map into the underground.

We alighted at our first stop close to the Sacre Coeur and climbed the many steps past the infamous leaning apartments to the viewpoint looking out over the city from great height. On my previous visit this spot wowed me, however I found that the second time round I was seeing it again with a fresh pair of eyes, curious, I picked up on some of the finer details.

We strolled along the cobbled streets into the buzzing heart of Montmartre, where artistic license was everywhere. We dined in a thriving artists square which was altogether rather lovely, if you ignored the riot kicking off by the door. I will spare you the details of that. Having grazed over a glass of wine we set off once more to explore the quaint and the quirky of this most magnificent district, with its enchanting architecture and cute calligraphy signs.

Having wound our way out of the architectural maze, away from the tourists, we wandered down much quieter streets and caught the metro towards our hotel. We checked-in and rested in our rustic Asian themed space (which I loved) and set off once again for some window shopping in the grand expanse of Galeries Lafayette. Here I set new standards by sampling a perfume that cost more than 400 euros, rode a vintage glass elevator to dizzying new heights and was awe-struck by gold-plated balconies surrounding the magnificent domed interior.

But the fun didn’t stop there… Given the time this might have been the ideal chance to wander out into the street and find a nice little Parisian restaurant for dinner, or even sit-down to coffee with a view. With so little time and so much to see, we hurried out to the crowds and jumped back on the metro to the Arc du Triomphe. What happened next?  Read on here to find out.


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