Is there anything more exhausting than a city break?
In the days leading up to our Paris trip I kept referring to it as “Our relaxing break”. I’m not entirely sure if I actually thought that would be the case, anyway, it wasn’t. It was a whirlwind of crépes, trains, badly spoken French and the most stunning architecture i’ve seen since Bath abbey!
Since I have SO much to tell you i’m going to split each day into a separate post.
Since I booked this trip when we were still living in Birmingham, and I wasn’t sure if or when we would move, we ended up having to drive up to Birmingham for the airport. Luckily for us the His grandparents let us stay over the night before AND the night we got back, which we were REALLY grateful for!
I booked the whole thing as a surprise for His birthday but i’m poor so I got a cheap Expedia deal haha! Anyway when we got there it was pretty late, because I got cheap flights, and our hotel was on the outskirts of Paris so it proved to be a bit hard to find. I assumed because it was close to the city centre it would be okay, but it wasn’t. The first disaster was getting on the RIGHT train that went past our stop for NO reason, at least that I could figure out in English, so we ended up in a place called Juvisy, which was miles away from where we were meant to be and was basically the slum of Paris. Seriously. It was awful. Just, awful. Anyway after some patchy French conversations we managed to figure out where we were going and finally got to Ivry-Sur-Seine. The wonderful authentic French town that Expedia assured me it would be. This also wasn’t the case. Ivry is also the Parisian equivalent to Beirut.
By the time we got to Ivry it was dark and, because I am the kind of person who couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery, we were lost. That’s right. I planned an entire holiday and didn’t get hotel directions. Yep. I’m that person. So Google Maps saved us on that one. Anyway we got to our budget hotel, Souly never would have agreed to a hostel but I managed to swing him with some carefully selected photos and by lying about the star rating, it was two stars with mostly average reviews however what awaited us was not like the photos, even the bad ones. I did take some picture but they’re on my old phone!
Anyway basically it wasn’t a hotel! These are the photos I saw:
Not bad right? For a two star hotel that was super cheap and right on the edge of the city centre and overlooking the seine. Firstly our room did not overlook the Seine. Secondly it looked like a hostel and because there was a kitchen the entire place smelt like pot noodles. Our room smelt of paint really badly but when we opened the door to the “balcony” there was a massive generator. We checked in late so there was no one at reception to change our room and the bed was uncomfortable because it was two single beds duct taped together. Yep. You read that right.
Anyone looking to avoid disaster should note this is the Séjours & Affaires – Paris Ivry. It’s in the ghetto, smells gross and the glassware isn’t clean. Plus the wifi sucks!
At roughly £60 a night I thought this was awesome. This is why i’m never allowed to plan anything.
As soon as we arrived Souly booked us into the 4* La Bourdonnais Hotel for £100 per night which was AMAZING! He has been wearing his smug face ever since.
The La Bourdonnais is up there with the best hotels i’ve ever stayed in. We could see the Eiffel tower from our room and we walked to it every single night, also passing the grandeur of the Ecole Militaire. We had a junior suite which was just gorgeous with the most stunning bathroom i’ve ever used, I literally showered every night!!
The most stylish decor!
The Dreamiest Bookcase… And Yes, they totally did have french Oscar Wilde!
The Check In Desk
So that was His choice and he definitely won. It was literally in the middle of everything, on day one we walked from our hotel to the Notre Dame and back and saw all of the sights along the way! We were actually exhausted we walked so much. I’d bought us one of those Paris Visité passes and i’d totally recommend them, they’re well priced and if you want go sightseeing they’re so worth it, even if you plan to walk everywhere you’ll still get tired eventually haha!
Walking along the Seine was so romantic and there are lots of points of interest all along it including the D’Orsay, Grand Palais, The Louvre, Saint Chapelle and Notre Dame.
It was outside the D’Orsay that we had our first crépes! Eventually we were to meet a lovely English girl who taught us how to say crépe properly, she said you have to emphasise the CR with that hoarse, semi-cough like sound. You know the one? I have a picture of the Museé D’Orsay, it is the converted railway station!
There were some really interesting exhibits, my favourite of course being the Fin De Séicle! Where I found THIS GUY! Whom you may recognise from this post.
My photo isn’t very good, I think Souly has a better one, but it was SO cool to see him! Especially since I didn’t expect to find his portrait in Paris and it was a lovely surprise. I also saw some early Toulouse-Lautrec which was amazing and a portrait of Paul Verlaine.
To be fair when I organised this trip I wanted Souly to just chose everything we did since it was supposed to be his birthday present but he completely insisted that I plan the entire holiday his only request was that it not ALL be museums and art galleries… Haha! So I had to make some tough choices and trim down the museum list.
It was also on this day that we went to The Shakespeare & Company bookstore. I’d been dying to go since I saw a photograph of it on Pinterest.
I had actually left room in my suitcase for a book, in fact I might make a post in relation to how I totally aced my packing strategy minimalist style! Anyway I didn’t buy a book but it was still totally cool! I love bookstores, they have that mystical air that makes me feel all excited, Souly always has to pull me out.
Stick around to see what we got to up to on day two! 😀