There is only one first time for everything in life: first time you fall in love, first time you kiss a lover, first time you see Paris.
I have turned down several opportunities to go to Paris before (among which a bonus week-end from my company, flights and accommodation included), because I had the feeling that the city might be worth visiting in different circumstances.
And it was. While waiting for the non-EU plane to bring my boyfriend over, during a rainy and cold October evening, among Arabs and policemen with big guns (necessary to welcome the Middle Eastern flight he was arriving with), I could already visualised the following three days: art, food and romance.
I don’t know how you travel, but I rather not plan very precisely the first trip to a new place (I used to that, in my traveller childhood, and discovered it was both frustrating and unpractical).
So, to start with, we enjoyed the champagne left for us on the table by the wonderful Emmanuel, the owner of the flat we rented through Airbnb, browsed through the albums with Paris available in the flat and went to sleep.
My birthday was just starting, amazingly sweet (my love brought me chocolate roses all the way from Israel!) and unpredictable.
For the next three days, we took over a paper map to do the followings (in that order):
- Woke up happy, happy, happy
- Went up hill to see Sacré Cœur (nice view over the city from the stairs in front of it, reminding me of the ones in Piazza di Spagna in Rome)
- Starred at magnets and little trinkets sold on Rue de Steinkerque (careful with the pickpockets!)
- Wondered around the city and discovered Passage Verdeau in the process (second hand shops and bookstores)
- Ate in a small crowded neighbourhood restaurant called Le Gavroche (where the waiter spoke Spanish because he worked in Andorra)
- Decided to go visit the Notre Dame and, after all, decided it was a great (but great!) idea
- Wandered on the piers of Seine until we got tired
- Rented bicycles from Velib’ to cross the busy city at dusk (less then euros, any credit card will do the trick – pick up and return in any of the hundreds of stations scattered around Paris)
- Enjoyed the glittering and flashing light show at the Tour Eiffel (it does that for the first five minutes of each hour from sunset to one o’clock in the morning
- Walked two floors into the Eiffel Tour (the line for the elevator was really long)
- Enjoyed the breathtaking views at the first two floors
- Took the elevator (6 euros) to get to the top: excellent idea!
- Met Mr Eiffel and comp at the top (if you don’t believe me, go and see for yourself)
- Had a late dinner at home with cheese, wine and candles
- Slept like (very tired but happy) babies
- Had a delicious breakfast at a little pastry shop called La Boul Ange
- Walked way too much to see Jim Morrison’s tomb (and were very disappointed by the Père Lachaise cemetery)
- Headed to the Panthéon while enjoying the wonderful afternoon atmosphere of a Saturday in Paris
- Wondered why we went to visit the Panthéon (the Foucault pendulum was under restoration, therefore missing)
- Relaxed and took meme pictures in Jardin de Luxembourg
- Went to see the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile where we encountered a military parade (cool, cool, cool) with music and veterans and some French officials
- Managed to see Champs-Élysées without traffic (because of the parade)
- Took pictures of ourselves at the Renault store (they had a Formula 1 car in the window and we love Formula 1)
- Had late dinner in Le Marais
- Watched the mesmerising Fujiko Nakaya’s Fog Installation #07156R “FOG SQUARE” in place de la Place de la République (because of th• e Nuit Blanche)
- Kissed, hugged and said ‘I love you’ to each other many times
- Packed our luggages
- Skipped the huge line (2’30 hours) to enter Louvre for free (first Sunday of the month)– we used the Porte des Lions (and appeared to be the only ones to do that)
- Enjoyed every street, corner, view
- Eat in a not-so-good restaurant in front of Gare de Nord
- Rushed to the airport
- Decided to go back (to see the beautiful places we missed or just because we liked it so much).