24 hours in Paris.

OK, IT WAS MORE LIKE 31ish HOURS IN PARIS

Birth·mas 

/ˈbirthməs/

noun

1. the combination of birthday & Christmas. Celebrated by those born on or around Christmas.

One of my bestest pals, D, falls in to this category. Her birthday is Christmas Eve. Forever eclipsed by the festivities, her birthday has always taken a bit of backseat in the run up to Christmas. A few years ago we took a stand…

Inspired by the OC’s Seth Cohen’s “Chrismukkah”, D and myself drunkenly decided to blend her birthday and Christmas into “Birthmas”, a dedicated period of over the top gifts, lots of dinners / drinks, and party hats, plus great excuse for her to wangle wildly expensive presents as they would count for both birthday and christmas.

It’s only fair.

chrismukkah seth the oc

Birthmas is now a firm tradition and quite frankly it’s nice taking a step back from the Christmas madness to celebrate my lovely, amazing and downright beautiful friend for being born onto this earth.

This year however, D changed the game up a bit and give me (a March baby FYI) a whacking great taste of Birthmas…

It started in January, D would hand me cryptic clues over the space of two months about what we were doing, and each time she would gleefully snigger at my stupid answers “You’re never going to guess this!”.

The Clues 

disney paris

My first guess from this pic was Disneyland Paris (pretty damn close), then mermaid school (because that’s an actual thing D and I have spoken about enrolling in), then swimming with sharks at an aquarium. I was wrong.

light

Combined with the first clue, anyone with a brain would think that from this second clue they were going to go caving.

iron eiffel

Clue three is where I started giving up with the guesses. Because an iron. Really???!

laughing monkey

……. (<——– me, not bothering to participate in D’s crazy clue game)

I accepted that I wasn’t going to piece this puzzle together, but then slowly things began to click that maybe, just maybe, she was taking me to Paris.

The Little Mermaid could have been a reference to Disneyland which is just outside of Paris. The headtorch might’ve been a hint to the catacombs that run underneath the city OR that Paris is known as the City of Light. I Googled where the iron was invented on a wild whim when mulling over my clues and my search through up that the curling iron was invented by a Parisian man.

The laughing monkey I still had no fucking idea about.

I felt I had pretty much cracked where we were going though when she sent me an iWeather screenshot a week before we were due to leave. Being an Android-gal I persuaded my boss almost immediately after I got the forecast clue to check Paris weather for that weekend on her iPhone.

It was an exact match to what D had just sent me.

That was probably cheating, so sorry D. You know I am a super sleuth though, and you would’ve done exactly the same!

Here’s how one of the most epic presents of all time played out:

The Friday. 

Got to the office slightly jittery, as the trenchcoat that I had ordered online for my “surprise” weekend away two days previously made me look like a monk when tried on the previous day.

Bugger! – note to self I am not a 5ft 11 leggy Asos model.-

As luck would have it, I had gone for a late night wander round the shops the night before and spotted a trenchcoat that I didn’t hate in Primark.

After barely concentrating at work all day I left early for a mad dash into the town centre. I picked up my Primark trenchcoat and a couple of other bits (sunnies, shoes + this weird earcuff thing that I had to panic buy as the shop assistant made it clear that she was so over me dithering at her counter about whether or not I could pull off wearing something like that – turns out I can’t pull it off).

D told me to get to her house for dinner at 7.30pm which was when I would get my last and most obvious clue.

*On Whatsapp*

Me – 19.27pm- On way

19.27pm- Running late

19.27pm- Lost car keys

19.37pm- Nevermind. Found them in my car.

D – 19.38pm – Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Arriving at D’s 20 minutes late I clock right away that she and our friend F, who was joining us for dinner, are both wearing stripes.

And what do stripes mean? French fashion. And what’s the capital of France? Paris. Someone please call Inspector Morse and tell him there’s a new detective in town.

D sat me down in her kitchen, her face literally bursting to tell me the secret she has been hiding for god knows how many months. She said “What do you think we are having for dinner?” My super-detective powers surfaced again…“Coq au Vin & and potato gratin” not only is this a French meal it’s also D’s absolute favourite.

D “ And where do you think we are going tomorrow?”

“Paris” I choke out in a small voice. It’s at this point that everything feels real and I start welling up with tears. D’s now laughing, “We’re going to Paris! We’re going to Paris!”.

This awesome babe is taking me to one the best cities in the world.

Having to previously cancel two holidays within four months of each other at the end of 2015 (one being another trip to Paris in November), D knew how much this would mean to me. Plus the overly detailed itinerary that I had put together for the November Paris getaway would get to be used, yay!

Our Friday night dinner was casual and not a ridiculous booze-fest (obviously French wine was drunk). D also explained her thinking behind the clues; The Little Mermaid – having to go “Under the Sea” in the channel tunnel to reach France, the headtorch was a symbol for the City of Light, the iron was chosen because the Eiffel Tower is made of iron (*yeah, I groaned at that one too*) and the monkey was a clue contribution from D’s history-buff boyfriend, W, who said that the English called the French “surrender monkeys” during the German occupation of WWII….. riveting stuff thanks W!

Once all the wine was drunk and F left, myself and D saw ourselves off to bed full of excitement, chicken and creamed potatoes.

The Saturday. 

Up at the crack of 7am, we showered, dressed and jumped in my car along with our friend E who was coming on the weekend jolly too! Obviously as I was driving and it was my birthday treat and we were going to Paris I HAD to listen to the Les Misérables soundtrack all the way up to Ebbsfleet International.

We got to the train station in plenty of time for a light breakfast from the exotic Cafe Nero and then boarded the Eurostar. After a non-eventful journey with a coach load of American kids who seemed to have bladder issues always getting up to go pee every 2 minutes, we pulled into the Gare du Nord around 1pm Paris time.

Keen for lunch (and a couple of cold glasses of wine, let’s not pretend) we giggled and chatted our way out the front entrance, confident and carefree in the early spring sunshine expecting to reach a neat parade of shiny Parisian taxis to take us smiley English girls on to our apartment building for the night.

Unlike the title of this post suggests, this is not a crap Parisian romance novel. None of us had ever got a cab from the Gard du Nord before, having only used the slightly intimidating Metro or been picked up by a pre-arranged car. There were no taxi’s at the front of the station.

Let me me rephrase.

There were no legal taxis. Grinding to a halt with our smart wheely overnight bags and looks of lost sheep-tourists creeping over our faces a man with a heavy french accent materialised next to us.

“You want taxi? Come I take you, it’s round ‘ze corner. Come, quick, over’ere. Round ‘ze corner, let me take your bag.”

Our trio suddenly became telepathic as we exchanged quick glances with each other and in unison walked back inside looking for an official looking person to direct us in the right place. We reasoned that there must be an actual Gare du Nord cab line with actual licensed taxis somewhere.

There was, it’s directly to the right as you come off the Eurostar platforms.

Spotting the correct signpost with an orderly line on the other side of a pair of double glass doors we were back on track with our girly weekend away.

“Ell-o ladies, if you need a taxi follow ‘deze people ‘ere through ‘deze doors” said a man in a suit jacket blocking our way with slightly better English than the bloke who had approached us at the front entrance. Our hesitation allowed for him to point to a tatty looking clip on badge “Look ladies, I am from information, please for a taxi, follow ‘deze people through ‘doze doors” and he gestured to a normal looking family who were following another ‘information’ man through another set of glass doors which sorta looked like they led to the official cab queue outside. Tentatively we followed thinking it’s OK because some family were trusting them, but these guys weren’t taking us beyond the doors to the line we wanted to be in… They were ushering us downstairs towards the basement of the station.

Oh hells no!

Umm we’ve seen Taken and our dads don’t even remotely resemble Liam Neeson, we’d have no chance at being rescued from being abducted.

D and E take charge and tell the man we want to go queue up in the outside line, he’s behind our group and keeps pushing for us to keep going down the steps but we all start clattering back up the staircase in the opposite direction against his shouts of ” ‘zat line is only for ‘de airport !!” and ” ‘zat line won’t take you where you want to go! Come down ‘ere for ‘de taxi !!”

“We’ll risk it!” D shouted half directed to the “information man” and half at E and myself. “Information man” knew he had lost his potential marks and stopped herding us to the dark ground floor of Gare Du Nord  to resume his post near the actual taxi rank again, misguiding other innocent tourists into being scammed with a massively inflated taxi-fare.

Even in the official taxi line, that was somewhat marshaled by a station worker in a pink high-vis vest, illegal cabbies still kept coming up to patrons in the queue trying to convince the unsure to get in one of their cabs ’round ze cornerrr’.

After a €7 cab trip in a legal taxi to the 9th arrondissement, we were strolling into the block of serviced apartments in the neighborhood of Opera. Aware that our room wouldn’t be ready, we dumped the bags and headed out into the warm sunshine to find lunch. Never missing an opportunity to be bossy, I took charge of the map and attempted to tick some sights off our my itinerary.

Naturally, I got everyone lost and went round circles. The girls were diamonds though and didn’t complain once even though we were inches away from going mad with hunger. After E gently took over, putting us back on the right path we walked all the way down from Opera, past the Grand Palais, the Champs-Élysées and down Avenue Montaigne (home to flagship high-end stores and head offices of fashion powerhouses like LVMH & Dior. Seeing the front windows on this street is a must for anyone regardless if they are into fashion). Plonking ourselves on the sunny outside seats of a little cafe with views of the Eiffel tower we inhaled our well-deserved crisply cold wine and croq monsieurs avec frites.

From the leisurely lunch we meandered up the path along the Seine towards the iron lady herself – Madame Eiffel.

paris eiffel

Busy, but no too busy, we walked to through the Jardins du Trocadéro. The warm bright weather had made it possible to sit on the grass underneath the Eiffel Tower, where we settled back and people watched. Being in a tourist hotspot, the Romany gypsy scammers were out in full force preying on the young and gullible with their fake petitions and repetitive chorus’s of “Do you speak Ing-glish?”. Groups of ‘looky-looky men’ also made their presence known, swooping in on anyone who vaguely turned in their direction to sell them selfie sticks, Eiffel tower keyrings and other bits of tat. There was also a perverted alcoholic beggar who worked his way round to every group of girls in the park that day. Obviously we ignored the dodgy park folk, to the point that we thought it best to pretend to be Icelandicif anyone tried to start a conversation with us. These people may be crooks and criminals but they were talented multi-linguists who truly stopped at nothing to try and engage with you.

Enjoying our pleasant afternoon watching a couple of Chinese fashion bloggers take ‘natural’ park shots with their gorgeous white fluffy dog, we were unwantingly approached once again.. Two french men , one a poor-mans Kanye West dressed in a matching yellow vest and trousers, the other a slimy looking cretin with bum-fluff facial hair.

The group telepathy kicks in once more, “Oh for fucks sake” our collective expressions read.

“Er’.. Are you Ing-glish?”

Group silence

“Parlez-vous français?”

“Sprichst du Deutsch?”

More silence. Jeeze get the fucking message Kanye.

His creepy sidekick sat himself down next to E making it perfectly clear that these two weren’t going anywhere. Yellow Kanye followed suit. There was an agenda here but we couldn’t figure out what. Instinctively I pulled my crossbody bag under my coat and I noticed the girls make sure their belongings were secure too. Yellow Kanye was the talker of the pair and gushed that D had stolen his heart as soon as he saw her, while his oily mate claimed E had done the same to him.Yellow Kanye pulled out all the stops to try and get D to warm to him.

Yellow Kanye – “What….errr…..are you doing in Paris?”

D – “Dunno” came D ‘s irritated response

Yellow Kanye – ” errrr….’ow can you not know? Hahaha”

D – *shrugs while ripping up grass*

Yellow Kanye – “Where are you err…..staying?”

D – “Paris”

Yellow Kanye- “Haha, I know that. Where? You must tell me. Errr… *mutters to slimy side kick in French* errr…. *sidekick mutters back some French and the words ‘meet up’ in English* ah oui! We can meet up”.

D – “No.”

Yellow Kanye – “Why? You have boyfriend? Tell ‘im I share! ‘Ee won’t mind! Hahaha.”

D – “I don’t think so. Dont you have to be somewhere?”

Yellow Kanye – “I ‘ave to be ‘errree, see-ing you. I will marry a girl like you. Will you marry me?”

D- “No.”

And so this stunted exchange went on….

A+ for effort in tenacity on Yellow Kanye’s front, we made it perfectly clear neither of them were welcome to sit with us. Why do guys do that? None of us gave even the slightest indication we wanted anything to do with them yet they selfishly pushed their way into interrupting our lovely afternoon in the sun.

All with faces like thunder and giving short, vague and rude responses to their questioning, D’s yellow-clothed prince / potential fiancé eventually got the gist that we weren’t going to give them what they wanted (whatever that was, our trio assumed it was again something along Taken-esque lines) and they skulked off to bother someone else.

The afternoon was slowly winding down and we jumped in a taxi back to our building. Once in our apartment (practically perfect except it was recently switched from a smoking to a non-smoking room. The stench of old cigs was particularly strong in the loo, so one can only presume that the previous occupant enjoyed puffing and pissing at the same time) and having inspected all the cupboards for a whiff of a tea-bag we ventured out again into the Opera neighbourhood in search of supplies. Laden with wine, olives, biscuits, crisps n’dip and tea making bits, we retreated back to our base to get ready for dinner.

Once showered, we settled down on the sofa in pjs to drink wine, gossip and eat our nibbles. Basically what we do at home every Saturday night. Our conversation came around to the amount of scammers that are floating around Paris and how we very nearly got abducted/ extorted / robbed at the beginning of the day by Mr “Information” at the Gare du Nord.

Turning to Google, we educated ourselves against the city’s scammers, this site is particularly helpful in making sure you don’t get taken advantage of. 

Time ran away with us and our original plan to walk up the Arc de Triomphe before dinner to take in the night time city views had to be put aside as we had sat around talking rubbish for TWO HOURS…bugger.

A quick dive into our pool of combined beauty products to tart ourselves up for the eve and we were good to go. The front desk of the building called us a taxi, and a sleek black Mercedes pulled up infront of our building. Feeling confident about to giving our driver instructions to where we want to go in French,  I yank open the one of the back doors.

*BANG*

“Eh!! What arrre’you doing?”

Fuuuccck, being a couple of wines in I’ve just smacked the cab door into a bollard that lined the pavement. 

Shittybollockswank

“It’s fine! It’s fine, don’t worry-look there’s no dent! It’s all fine!”

……..There was a dent.

Scrambling from the cab to join the rabble of people on the pavement of the Rue Saint-Benoît , we quickly realised that there was a mishmash of a queue forming to get into our planned restaurant for the evening.

“If there’s a queue it must be good” said D. Craving the promised best steak frites within the arrondissement, we joined the back of the line. It wasn’t that bad waiting 45 minutes to be seated as the weather was ridiculously mild and there were plenty of fascinating people to watch inside the restaurant (they must’ve felt like goldfish in a bowl) as well as those waiting outside. What would’ve been great is if one of the immaculate-looking waitresses came out with a drinks trolley so we could of had line-wine.

Eventually inside and squished onto a corner table, the waitress who seated us whips out pen and scribbles something on our paper table cloth that resembles a hieroglyphic from ancient times. 

“Ow’ would you like your meat?”

“Sorry what?”

“Your meat. Ow’ would you like it? Medium, rrrrare, well-done..?”

Meat-cooking preference confirmed and more symbols penned on the tablecloth, the waitress plonks a handwritten wine-list into our hands.

Within five minutes half a garden, a handful of chopped walnuts and a splodge of dressing on three plates is delivered to our table. Slightly confused because none of us  had even seen a menu to order a starter, let alone a salad, it slowly dawned on the group we weren’t going to be  given a choice as to what was on offer that night, apart from ‘Ow’ would we like our meat.’

Midway through sinking a delicious bottle of red the mains showed up. Swimming in a fragrant, herby-butter sauce was a small but thickly-cut steak. Our waitress then came bustling over with a platter of frites and wasn’t shy about dishing them out.

“Bon Apetit”

The steak was fantastic, so god-damn tender and tasty. And the best part? Once you’ve finished the waitress comes round again with another helping of steak and frites and serves it on your plate before you can even start to protest at being full. You can see why this place is so popular. Simple formula of a reasonable prix fixe menu offering quality food with zero fuss or pretension.

Stuffed full of meat (oi!! oi!) and frites we turned attentions to dessert. Of course it had to be profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce. More drinks were on the agenda and after paying l’addition, I ushered the girls up the road to Cafe de Flore. A magnet for tourists and those with a penchant for over-priced drinks (€10 a beer thank-you-very-much) Cafe de Flore is one of the oldest cafe’s in Paris. Look past its pomp as the service is great and it’s also a cracking spot to people watch, especially in the summer. The evening wound down into the early hours, comfortably merry and with sketchy recollection of how we managed to get back to the apartment, our first day in Paris came to an end.

The Sunday

I woke up first.

Whether it was from the buzz of being in Paris, or the sound of someone’s toilet flushing from another apartment further down the hall I couldn’t tell.

But I was excited. SO EXCITED.

From my position on the foldout sofa bed, I kept  glancing happily up at the spring-blue skies peeping through the tops of curtains whilst I went through the modern morning ritual of checking every social media app on my phone.

Feeling not hungover (thanks, birthday fairy!) I quietly got ready and made E a cup of tea – no, am not being rude towards D by not making her one, she doesn’t really like hot drinks. Barging into their room with a strong urge to sing “Morning has broken” I snuggled into the middle of the pushed-together twin beds to see what people were up to feeling like doing for the day.

By this point it was 9amish, we had vague wine influenced ideas the night before about going up to the Sacre Coeur for breakie + Paris city views (“Ohmygosh yes, that soundsh amazzzinng!! We must do that. Promish? Do you promish?”) but laziness won out and we stayed for another hour crammed in bed sipping tea / scrolling through Facebook. As everyone knows, lazy girls eventually turn into hungry girls, and hungry girls get their arses in gear quicker than Usain Bolt sprinting the 100m… we were checked out of the apartment building and in a cab back to the St. Germain region before someone could say pain au chocolat.

Picking another over-priced tourist trap, (€6 for tea and a croissant) we I planned out route for the day. The sun was out again, and although it played up the romanticised Parisian picture, it was bloody cold. Briskly marching to Pont Neuf up the Seine’s left bank, we noticed little pop up shops attached the walls which lined the river. Like over-sized suitcases screwed into the brickwork, but the cases were made out of wood, painted green and showed off vintage illustrations, vinyl records, silver jewellery and other bric-a-brac for passers-by to browse. At the time we a bit taken back that there was such thing as a wall-market, but thinking about it now I suppose it does make sense. Are there any in London? Will be keeping an eye out on future trips up town.

You can spot Pont Neuf straight away from being blinded by all the sodding padlocks (or lovelocks as they are sickeningly called)  glinting away obnoxiously on the bridge. That and the fact it stretches across an island in the middle of the Seine but whatever, the padlocks annoyed me.

pont neuf paris

pont neuf padlocks

D + Em + E =  Paris 4eva ❤

Anyway, you can prove your love to your sweetheart for just €5  if you forget your loverslock as the looky-looky men sidle up to you and sweetly whisper “Hey. You want padlock? I give you very good price.”

Urgh.

From there we wandered on over to Notre Dame which sits on the same island between the city’s two banks. Notre Dame is a personal fave, not only because I can’t not help but internally quote the best lines from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, but because of the amazing stain glass windows that were put in during the 13th century. My tiny mind boggles at stuff like that, like how on earth could 13th century people even think about executing something as complex and brilliant as installing massive panes of glass into stone without calculators or Google? C’est un mystère!

2016-04-16 15.30.002016-04-16 15.16.48

Inside, Sunday service was in full swing and there was a choir + organ combo which to me sounded amazing. But I don’t know much about church music so it could have been shit, who knows?

Next on Emma’s Epic mini-tour of Paris was the Pantheon. We left Notre Dame and headed for the the Latin Quarter…but hang on. What’s this? A random Chinese couple taking wedding pictures with a bunch of pigeons and a professional photography crew outside the cathedral? SAY WHAT?

2016-04-16 14.52.132016-04-16 14.55.07

Yes, apparently this is an actual thing. Wealthy Chinese couples get married, then once the big day is all over, fly over to Europe get back in their wedding clobber and take magazine-level photographs outside famous historic landmarks pretending they’ve **just** got married that very second.

I shit you not.

After a 20 min stroll and  quick pitstop to use the loos in a french Maccie-D’s (which we had to cunningly gain access to without buying a le royale avec fromage. By cunning I mean slip through the code-locked lav when someone came out, all very badass / exciting for three chicks from Surrey) we mooched round the Pantheon. Being 26 years old or under and a citizen of the EU we got in fo’free as it is a national museum of France. You’ll get this special privilege at the Louvre, Picasso museum, Palace of Versailles and a bunch of other cool places, just use an ID (which by the way you are supposed to carry around with you at all times in France, otherwise risk a fine if you are stopped) like driving licence or passport.

The Pantheon kind of takes your breath away a bit when you walk through the doors. Firstly, because it’s huge, secondly, it’s beautifully decorated with a heaps of paintings the size of houses and gorgeously expressive statues.

Like these sassy ladies.

statues pantheon paris

“I CAN’T GO TO TACO BELL, I’M ON AN ALL-CARB DIET. God, Karen, you’re SO stupid!”

paris pantheon inside

Once you’ve circled the enormous first floor, go downstairs to the crypt where you’ll see the tombs of the famous french (e.g. the Curies, Victor Hugo, Voltaire etc). It’s quite interesting, but once you’ve seen one mausoleum hall you’ve seen them all.

But just check out this ah-mazing view from the outside.

eiffel tower view

Next on the list was  a walk round the Luxembourg Palace and surrounding gardens as it’s directly opposite the Pantheon at the end of the street but tummies were rumbling by this point and we I had decided on stopping by Angelina’s patisserie in Rivoli for a naughty chocolate-based lunch. For future reference, there’s an Angelina’s right by the Jardin du Luxembourg, not that I was aware of this at the time, so I marched my two troop members back up the long street and across to the right bank. Let’s just say I had not anticipated the walk to be as long as 40ish minutes and for our collective hunger to grow by 1000%. Ravenous and crying out for something smothered in melted cheese we went for pizza on the Rue Rivoli and decided on chocolatey-goodness for dessert as we must of absolutely walked off enough calories to support both.

We hoped.

Refuelled, our trek to Angelina’s continued through the Grand Palais, complete with obligatory forced-perspective snaps outside the Louvre.

outside Louvre paris

The sun was still out and it had significantly warmed up a bit, still on our quest for the world’s best-ever hot chocolate we walked through the Jardin des Tuileries. Which is stunning and dotted with beautifully grand sculptures.

Tuileries Garden Paris

D & I helping this poor lady up who was bowled over by our beauty when we passed by.

Eventually spotting the white and gold awning of the famed Angelinas left the gardens and crossed the road to join the 30 minute queue to get a seat inside. I know, how British another queue but I’ll stand by D’s rule of “If there’s a queue it must be good”. The wait went quite quickly actually as the chic lady on the door was an organisational ninja in seating people. As expected, it was gorgeous inside, with a shop and takeaway counter at the front of the patisserie a restaurant / tea room taking over the back and upstairs. Our table ordered a round of L’Afrique hot chocolates and a triad of cakes. This hot chocolate is best damn hot chocolate you will ever taste. You couldn’t even really call it a drink? It’s so thick and comes with a side of chantilly cream to stir in, you could almost define it as a dessert soup. The light where we were seated was pants hence the lack of pics, trust me no image could do this amazing drink justice.

hot chocolate paris

image : Angelina Paris Facebook page

I can only imagine the sheer delight people take in having one these magical hot chocolates to take away on a cold, crisp winter’s day in Paris while wondering around the jardin des tuileries or casually window shopping the high-end labels nestled on the Rue St-Honoré….

…day dream over.

The cakes were mediocre to poor, and this judgement comes from a bunch of girls who are semi-professional cake eaters. Maybe we chose wrong, who knows but there are better tasting (and cheaper!) cakes out there. After rolling out of Angelina’s we squeezed our bloated bodies into a cab back to the apartment building one last time to collect our bags and head to the Gare Du Nord to catch the Eurostar home.

But you’ll never believe it. After being ridiculously careful to almost borderline paranoid about being scammed in Paris.

We got scammed in Paris.

Getting out the taxi outside of our building, I pulled out a €5 note to contribute to the €9 fare, D handed over four €1 coins. I put it all together in the taxi man’s hands. He goes to put in his change purse near his lap. He then goes “Oh it’s er, not enough, not enough, €2 more”. Traffic was starting to build up behind the car on the one way street where we had stopped, the pressure was on to get out the cab and no one was thinking quickly enough. Luckily one of us had an extra €2 coin which we shoved in his face. Once scammy-the-taximan drove off we three processed what just happened. Granted it was €2, but we were miffed at being done over after being so aware.

Anyway we hopped in another cab up to the Gare Du Nord (one that didn’t try and diddle us) and got on the 6pm Eurostar without much hastle. Our seats were split up so D & I were in one carriage and E was alone in another. Getting comfy for the quiet ride back (we were in a small, empty and secluded cabin with 4 groups of four seats facing each other)  to rest after the whirlwind weekend D and I were prepared to have a little snooze….

“MAMMMMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAA” pierced the tranquility of the carriage.

The first family of hell came traipsing on board.

Three young unruly french children and their disinterested mother started clanging their way through the electric doors that divided the train up.

D & I had one last telepathic moment that weekend with each other, communicating the same sentiment “Please don’t sit here, just be passing through, please don’t sit here, please, baby- jesus-christ-our-lord-saviour, PLEASE don’t sit here!!”.

Of course they sat a row away from us.

I think I speak for both D and myself when I say that the trip back through the tunnel with Swiss-family nightmare has on brought on joint ovary shut-down for the foreseeable future.

Until next time Paris, Vive la France!

x

pantheon french flag

 

Steps walked : 27,550  Distance walked: 19.97km

*because nobody knows Icelandic do they? You could be speaking gobbledegook, passing it off as Icelandic and no one would be the wiser.

24 hours in Paris.

2 thoughts on “24 hours in Paris.

  1. […] OH, and watch a couple do a ‘natural’ beach photo shoot. He was clearly uncomfortable and hated every second, refusing to speak to his wife throughout the duration of the shoot. She was lapping it up, jumping on the poor sods back, pretend kissing his cheek, pushing him into forced romantic-style poses. The whole thing was reminiscent of the couple I snapped outside of Notre Dame back in Paris.  […]

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